Boston Python Workshop/Friday handout

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Welcome to Friday setup! Setup hours are from 5pm-8pm. Come any time within that block. Expect standard setup to take an hour, and the optional web app setup to take an additional hour.

The goals for this evening are to make sure you have a working environment for writing and running Python code and for writing ColorWall effects. There are also setup instructions and support for a second, optional project: a web app.


[edit] Site information

  • Friday setup and the Saturday workshop are both happening at Microsoft NERD, which is at One Memorial Drive in Cambridge, in the Thomas Paul room on the 1st floor.
  • To access the wireless network, connect to the Cambridge network and open a browser. You should be redirected to a login page, which will prompt you for a wireless code. The code is: pw304.

[edit] Setting up Python

This section has instructions for installing Python and running Python from a terminal prompt.

  1. Windows
  2. OS X
  3. Linux

In addition to being able to run Python, you should pick the text editor you'll use for writing and saving Python code during the workshop.

  • On Windows, you might use NotePad. To start NotePad: click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Notepad.
  • On OS X, you might use TextEdit. To start TextEdit: search for TextEdit from Spotlight, or navigate to Applications/TextEdit.
  • On Linux, you might use GEdit. To start GEdit: click Applications, point to Accessories, and click Text Editor or you can start it from a terminal with:

[edit] How to get to a Python prompt

Often in these directions, you'll need to type things at Python prompt. To get one:

  • On Windows: Start -> Run -> cmd.exe
    • Type this, and press enter:
    • \python27\python
  • On Linux or Mac OS:
    • Open a Terminal, and type 'python'

[edit] Intro to Programming stream: Setting up for the ColorWall

The ColorWall is a framework for writing effects for a wall of pixels. During the Saturday workshop, you will write your own effects for the ColorWall. (see it in action)

[edit] Get project files

cd Desktop/colorwall
# unpack the tarball
tar -xvf ColorWall.tar.gz

[edit] Install Tkinter

The ColorWall project depends on Tkinter which is pre-installed on some Windows, OS X, and Linux* distributions. To check if you have Tkinter installed, open your Terminal/cmd window and start your Python prompt:

>>> import Tkinter

If that command results in an ImportError try following the instructions for installing Tkinter here and if you have problems let a staff member know and we'll help you. (*On some Debian installation, when you import Tkinter it will tell you that you need to install the python-tk package, which you should do). After you are done at the Python prompt, exit to the regular terminal by typing exit() and hitting enter.

[edit] Run the ColorWall

Run the example effects:

  • On Windows, assuming the ColorWall software was downloaded to C:\Users\yourusername\Desktop\ColorWall
run \Python27\python.exe "C:\Users\yourusername\Desktop\colorwall\ColorWall\"
  • On OS X, assuming the ColorWall software was downloaded to ~/Desktop/colorwall/ColorWall run
python ~/Desktop/colorwall/ColorWall/
  • On Linux, assuming the ColorWall software was downloaded to ~/Desktop/colorwall/ColorWall run
python ~/Desktop/colorwall/ColorWall/

[edit] Open in text editor

Make sure you can open Python files in a text editor. Test this by running the text editor, navigating to your ColorWall directory, and opening

# Linux
# Mac/Windows right-click on and "open with" your text editor of choice

[edit] Programmer: You're ready for Saturday!

If you're doing the programming section of the workshop tomorrow and you got this far, you're ready to go. Show an instructor your working and also opened in a text editor, get your sticker and go have a good sleep.

[edit] Intro to Web App stream: Setting up Django

If you want to make a web app on Saturday, you'll need to install some additional packages. The web app is an example of an integrated Python-based application. It uses the Django web framework. Because the setup for this project is somewhat involved, this project and its setup are optional. If you run into trouble, get the help of an instructor. Instructions: Setting up the web app

[edit] Web Developer: You're ready for Saturday!

If you're doing the web app stream of the workshop tomorrow and you got this far, you're ready to go. Show an instructor that your welcome page on is working, get your sticker and go have a good sleep.

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