When I started writing web applications, the first "big decision" I faced was the choice of the programming language.

As a programmer, it's not a big deal to work with different languages, and switching from a language to another, shouldn't be too hard, apart from learning a bit of syntax; at the same time everybody needs pick a language to use as a daily habit. We are humans, after all.

I wanted a dynamic language to write my applications, a language with an easier syntax than PHP, and more structured than JavaScript. I wanted something that allowed me to write that little magic every developer does behind the scenes in a handy way. And I finally chose Python. Ruby was on the list (and it seems quite popular for web development nowadays), but I've found its syntax, in some situation, less immediate; moreover, python is somewhat more solid than Ruby – maybe even too much solid. I think even Python would be advantaged by a more dynamic community: just think about Python 3's adoption status (Ed.).

I really enjoyed writing code in Python, and after gaining some confidence, I faced the second "big decision": which framework to use to write my applications Looking at the Python scene, I (obviously) started looking at django, the most famous one, but after a while I found I didn't like it. It wasn't as user friendly as I had hoped. Then I found web2py, and I loved it from the first line of the documentation book: it was simple, full of features, and learning it was much quicker than django.

Nevertheless, after some years of using web2py, inspecting deeply the code and logic, and contributing it, I started having a feeling. A need grew in my mind while writing applications, to write things differently. I found myself thinking "Why should I write this stuff in this way? It's not cool or handy at all," and I had to face the problem that doing what I wanted would involve completely re-designing the whole framework.

With this nagging feeling in my mind, I started looking around and found that a lot of the syntax and logic in Flask were the answer to what I was looking for. Unfortunately, at the same time, Flask had a lacked many of the features I was used to having out of the box with web2py, and not even using extensions would have been enough to cover it all.

I naturally came to the conclusion that I was at that point of my coding life where I needed a "custom-designed tool".

Why not?

– Hey dude, what are you doing?
writing a new python web framework..
– Whoa! Why you do that?
...why not?

That was my answer when a friend of mine asked me the reasons behind my intention of building a new framework. It was a legitimate question: there are many frameworks on the scene. Is it really a good move to build a new tool rather than picking one of the available ones?

I'd like to reply to this doubt with a definition of tool I really love:

tool: something intended to make a task easier.

So a framework, which is a tool, has to let you write your application easier than without it. Now, I've found many frameworks – and I'm sure you can easily find them, too – where you have to deal with learning a lot of "how to do that" with the framework itself instead of focusing on the application.

This is the first principle I've based weppy on: it's easy to use and learn, so that you can focus on your product.

Another key principle of weppy is the preservation of your control over the flow. What do I mean? There are several frameworks that do too much magic behind the scenes. I know that may sound weird because I've just talked about simplicity, but, if you think about it, you will find that a framework that is simple to use is not necessarily one which hides a lot of his flow.

As developers, we have to admit that when we use frameworks or libraries for our project, many times it is hard to do something out of the ready-made scheme. I can think about several frameworks – even the famous Ruby on Rails – that, from time to time, force you to use a lot of formalism even when it's not really necessary. You find yourself writing code while following useless rules you don't like.

In other words: I like magic too, but isn't cooler when you actually control the magic?

With these principles in mind, I've tried to build a complete tool, something intended to make your task easier, with a rich set of features in the box. The result of my recipe is a framework which has an easy syntax, similar to Flask, but which also includes some of the lovable features of web2py.

I hope you like it.


I would like to thank:

  • All the weppy contributors
  • Guido Van Rossum, for the Python language
  • Massimo Di Pierro and web2py's developers, for what I learned from them and for their framework on which I based weppy
  • Armin Ronacher, who really inspired me with the Flask framework
  • Marco Stagni, Michael Genesini and Filippo Zanella for their advices and continuous support