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Author Topic: Project Creator Application (but I feel kinda givin' it up)  (Read 1806 times)

royaljerry

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The problem

I'm a freelance typographer. (It's not the problem, it's a fact.) Not a coder. (Well, it may be a problem.) (OK, I'm originally a math teacher. But who cares. Anyway.) Back in the old days, when I used to start my projects with creating a single folder in my ”Works_for_clients” (or ”ZZZ_Works_for_clients_who_won't_pay”) parent folder, everything was shiny, happy, and my hard drive was almost free of any libraries, templates, used or any downloaded assets: I started my tasks from scratch. As you may think, and as I have realized it after a few months, it was a total time wasting. Soon I started to reuse some snippets of codes here, fonts there (graphics everywhere), and right after that I found myself in a situation when I required a whole (or more) hours to the following ritual:

  • Let's create a folder.
  • Let's create a folder structure inside that folder.
  • Oh, wait, this task is similar to that one I worked on a year ago, OK, let's copy that structure.
  • But I'll need those other fonts in that other project I worked on two years ago.
  • OK, now I'm in the middle of the project, goddamn, I have forgotten to copy the icons that were in that other project three years ago.

...and so on. Should I continue? I'm pretty sure, that the definition of programming of Neumann, Knuth, Turing or another greatness of the computer technology somewhere contains the word ”automatism” and does not contain the phrase ”getting into the lunatic asylum”.

But I may be wrong.

So I've decided to shorten this process a bit. I started to write a code that automates (Hah! Or maybe Babbage?) this ”do this and do that and prepare my whole workspace while I make a coffee for myself” thing.


My solution

The attached Python script is in a very early phase (which means I've written it for myself, no documentation, no screenshots, only comments in the code) but tries to make my regular and frequent project creating tasks easier. Since I'm an amateur Python-coder (no OOP, shame on me, I'm a typographer, not a coder) it has no GUI, it's just a simple ”program” that runs a frequent task based on given parameters and filters. If you wish you can test it, I'll provide help if you need it. (You'll need to replace some constants in the main create-project\create-project-1.5.py script.)


What I need

There are some drawbacks of my solution. For example it has no GUI. If I'm the only one who uses (or hacks) it then it's OK, but I may want to pass it away. Or I may want to concentrate on other tasks (hell, did I say, I'm a typographer, not a coder?), and want to forget all the things regarding line #225 where I need to set this and lines between #549 and #583 where I need to set that.

I definitely do not want to reinvent the wheel. If there's an app on the market already that fulfills the points below, then I'd be a happy, moreover a hysterically happy person (like a child in the kindergarten who just got his pancakes). All I need is an application/script that

  • creates (a) project folder(s) based on (a) given name(s)
  • creates a folder structure based on a given template in that/those folder(s)
  • creates text files on-the-fly based on given templates (i.e. fills them with predefined content)
  • copies files commonly used in projects (e.g. swatches, fonts, etc.)
  • renames and/or modifies the contents of these files according to the project
  • creates links on predefined places (e.g. Desktop, a ”Shortcut Repository” like my f:\Shortcuts folder, Start Menu, etc.)
  • creates a logfile that stores basic project info (when the project was created, client name, what shortcuts have been created, etc.)
  • the user is able to create/modify/delete folder structure templates, template files, etc.


If there aren't any apps for this task, what should I do?

  • Extend/enhance my script with more features and a GUI?
  • Rewrite the whole mess in Autohotkey?
  • Or in C/C++/C#? (Er... have I mentioned yet, I'm a typographer, not a coder? I think I did...)
  • Ask someone to write this app for me? (You cannot imagine how underpaid typographers are nowadays in Eastern Europe, and my cat need her food too.)
  • Go hell with my stupid problems and continue designing books and CD covers?


Thanks for the attention. Sorry for the long post.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 01:13:45 AM by royaljerry »

mouser

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Re: Project Creator Application (but I feel kinda givin' it up)
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 03:02:25 AM »
  • First of all, welcome to the site royaljerry  :up:
  • Second, i think this is a great idea.
  • Third, there are some tools for this already, though I am not very familiar with them.  And there has been some discussion of this idea on the forum before -- I'll try to find if others don't.  One place you see such tools is in some of the ruby-on-rails style web applications.  They are different from what you are interested in, but some of them use a generic template/folder/project building system.
  • Fourth, i do think python is actually a good choice for such a tool; it can support a gui and has nice easy file management stuff, and can easily be extended to do additional things.  Autohotkey could also do it fine on windows.

Look forward to seeing links that others may post and seeing this thread continue.

royaljerry

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Re: Project Creator Application (but I feel kinda givin' it up)
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2011, 03:44:56 AM »
First of all, welcome to the site royaljerry  :up:

Great honor that I you're the first to reply – you cannot imagine how often I use The Form Letter Machine (for job application automatism, well, I can be a freelancer, but need a regular job. :) ) and FARR, and just downloaded CSH (didn't install it yet, I have a very urgent work first. Er... I mean three of them.)

Oh, and anyway: hi everyone. :)

Second, i think this is a great idea.

See above, plus a(n implicit) proof that I'm not totally insane with my ideas.

Third, there are some tools for this already, though I am not very familiar with them. And there has been some discussion of this idea on the forum before -- I'll try to find if others don't.

Now that's the point. To find it. If I search for „Project Manager Application” in our beloved Google, it results in a huge amount of huge project management software packages for small companies with address books, client lists, task lists, prerequisites, timelines and all, as you may know these kind of programs. So the basic question is: what the heck is the name of this type of software? Project Template Manager? Folder Template Creator? The Useful Application That Can Handle A Lot Of Projects So That It Is Configurable And Meets Jerry's Needs (TUATCHALOPSTIICAMJN)? As I realized, if I don't know what to search for, I cannot find it (ref. U2, The Joshua Tree, Track #2).

One place you see such tools is in some of the ruby-on-rails style web applications.  They are different from what you are interested in, but some of them use a generic template/folder/project building system.

Gonna have a look on them, I promise. Though I'm familiar with PHP and Python, RoR is not my ground, but if it'd solve the problem, then let's go.

Fourth, i do think python is actually a good choice for such a tool; it can support a gui and has nice easy file management stuff, and can easily be extended to do additional things.  Autohotkey could also do it fine on windows.

I love Python (though my code doesn't reflect this relationship). I'm new to AHK too, and one advantage of that is it can build GUIs pretty easily as far as I can see (from the docs). As soon as I'll have time I'll dive into Python GUI and AHK a bit, and will decide which one to choose (if some other DC members don't help me earlier).

Thanks again, now back to work. :)

mouser

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Re: Project Creator Application (but I feel kinda givin' it up)
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2011, 04:23:17 AM »
Quote
Gonna have a look on them, I promise. Though I'm familiar with PHP and Python, RoR is not my ground, but if it'd solve the problem, then let's go.

you dont actually want ruby on rails stuff -- that's not going to be helpful.  but i believe that some of the ROR inspired *PYTHON* frameworks do use a generic tool for this.  Check out django, pylons, pyramid.  I believe at least one of those uses a generic tool that does this kind of thing.

that's not at all to say it's not worth starting a new project to do this, just that it might give you a better idea of what's out there.

royaljerry

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Re: Project Creator Application (but I feel kinda givin' it up)
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 06:56:09 AM »
Wow, mouser, thanks a lot, you're telling something. :) I'm gonna have a look on Django and others.

In the meanwhile I have found a discussion (someone looking for a Windows port of Structurer here). Oh, my, I wish I were Zaphod Beeblebrox with two heads: one of them would be constantly working on an app like that.

kyrathaba

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Re: Project Creator Application (but I feel kinda givin' it up)
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 04:45:14 PM »
Welcome to DC, royaljerry!  :D