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Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August
University of Wales, Swansea

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Katherine Goodwin and David Chan - Clockwork Software Systems

A Python Framework for Rapid Application Development

Writing data presentation code should consist of no more than painting widgets in a GUI designer. But too many "visual" systems create software with an attractive, polished exterior and gnarled, rotten innards -- rather like a gilded Egyptian sarcophagus. Pity the maintainer who gets to open the lid and root through the guts.

Four years ago, John Pinner, CEO of Clockwork Software Systems, snapped. His customers had been served faithfully by low-maintenance bespoke systems, up to two decades old, but built on a now-discontinued platform. He could not bear to replace these with one-size-fits-all "solutions" which had slick interfaces but failed to meet customers' needs. Instead, he started planning how to move the proven systems into the 21st century incrementally, without throwing away the data and business rules on which the old software had been honed.

This talk looks at one area of Clockwork's expertise: taking legacy applications, built on proprietary technology, and evolving them incrementally into modern, extensible, open systems that can tap into the wealth of available open-source tools.

It also looks at Thyme, the Python-based application development framework created by Clockwork, by drawing on the cream of open-source modules and stealing all the credit. It has the following qualities:

  • Cross-platform
  • Database-independent
  • Low bandwidth-friendly: runs across dialup connections
  • GUI agnostic
  • Extensible: MVC component architecture
  • Open-source: GPL
  • Good Sense of Humour
  • Kind to Animals
  • XML-RPC-enabled

For the past four years Clockwork has been on a crusade to bring developmental righteousness to the world. Here, we reveal the fruits of our labour, while simultaneously attempting to antagonise the developers of every other RAD system in existence.


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