[Cubicweb] A newbie on Windows - installation pitfalls

Dr.Leo stefan.pankoke at googlemail.com
Tue Sep 7 23:36:21 CEST 2010

  Hi there,

I am new to this list and to web frameworks and clearly to CW. 
Considering whether to prefer Django or CW, I found the docs of CW very 
promising especially as I tend to be too lazy to learn a templating 
language. So I have decided to have a closer look at CW before Django.

I must admit that CW has not even been installed on my WinXP machine. 
Here is why

While the docs are very well written, I tend to have some doubts on 
whether they encourage newbies like me to go for CW. This is for the 
following reasons:

1. Which python distribution?

For Windows, it is suggested to use a scientific Python distribution 
vrom www.pythonxy.com.

People who have Python already installed will wonder what is really 
needed in addition to the Python standard distribution. Other people 
don't like eclipse or do not want to learn it now as they are happy with 
their favorite editor. So why not the Standard Python distribution? 
Well, there might be hidden reasons. Perhaps CW requires extra packages 
contained in Pythonxy. This should either be made explicit or denied. 
Otherwise people get upset. Also, there is no indication on which Python 
version. Is 2.5 required, does 2.6 or 2.7 do as well? - The docs mention 
simplejson. This indicates that 2.5 is required; 2.6 has a json module 
included. Does it work as well??? Probably not. Please confirm and 
clarify in the docs more prominently, not just in the context of 

By the way, in chapter 1.2 it is said that CW should become pip 
installable from v3.8. Today we are at 3.9.5. Please update the docs. Is 
it already pip-installable??? I'd like to know this!

2. Mercurial-related stuff

I would expect to download a tarball, the dependencies and that's it. 
The chapter on windows installation does not mention this option 
alongside with installing from the repo. I am confused.

OK. Let's assume I use mercurial which makes it easier to upgrade etc. I 
guess most people don't want to become familiar with a new version 
control system just because they want to have the greatest web 
framework. Well, I have TortoiseHG and I like it. Lucky me. But I don't 
have the forest extention. So let's try to follow the instructions given 
in chapter 1.4.1. TortoiseHG does not include the Forest extention. Too 
bad. OK. let's grab it from: 
http://mercurial.selenic.com/wiki/ForestExtension. There you can read 
that forest does not seem to be actively maintained and that I should 
consider using Mercurials native subrepo feature... Too bad. But I have 
no choice as CW sources live in a forest... OK. Let's follow the 
instructions and edit tortoiseHG/mercurial.ini. Oups! there is no such 
file in my tortoisehg dir... Too bad.

I stop here to pick up later. Meanwhile I remember having installed 
pinax with a single command: pip pinax, and it has everything built 
in... I guess CW has a long way to go in terms of user-friendly 
installation. Yet I don't give up yet.

3. Choosing the database

The installation guide for windows just talks about PostrgreSQL. This is 
a huge software. Python ships with sqlite which allegedly works as well. 
Even better: I could use a hg repo to store the data if I understand the 
docs correctly. So why start with PostgreSQL??? Why don't you explain 
how to use sqlite or Mercurial as a backend?

I know, it takes time and efforts to write user-friendly docs. But I 
asume it would be worthwhile. Also, you may wish to consider getting rid 
of forest using subrepo instead. - Shortly I'll come up with more of 
these presumptuous proposals...


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