Since it’s been so long since I’ve posted, here’s a recap of all the twists, turns and detours of my Python Adventure so far….
It all began in the summer of 2013 with a Codecademy Python course.
I read that web development is an important and possibly profitable skill to learn, so I tried a tutorial but found it to be just a little over my head. After deciding to learn desktop GUI building, an attempt to complete an RSS reader project taught me how to cope with and learn from unexpected problems in coding. Then along came my grandiose idea of designing my own Microsoft Access-like application for managing my finances, using SQLite and a Python GUI, not stopping to ask myself why, if web development was over my head, coming up with my own graphical database app was not.
Soon, real-world responsibilities intruded into my Python adventure, so I took a detour to learn how to use Python to wrestle text data into Microsoft Access at my job. To further hone my practical skills, I worked on the Real Python course , learned about GitHub and virtual environments, started using PyCharm on a Linux virtual machine as my development setup, and committed to Python 3 over Python 2. Soon, along came a quick look at unit testing courtesy of Dive Into Python.
I wrestled with the learning process..how much time should I spend improving my existing code as I learn how to accomplish tasks more cleanly and efficiently, versus learning new things? Inspired by a little Tkinter-based contact database I ran across, I thought up what I thought was a simple yet powerful idea for my own Access-like graphical database. I learned about imports and how to set a location for Python to look for modules to import , then came a detour to brush up on my SQL knowledge. After much work, I found Tkinter to be frustrating to use for table-like GUI objects, so I switched to Pyside Qt for my GUI. The necessity of actually tracking my finances while waiting to finish my Python GUI app for tracking my finances led me to put my financial data into LibreOffice Base because it was open source, available, and quick, though with some annoying drawbacks.
Months went by. I then came to realize it didn’t make much sense to spend so much time, in effect, trying to re-invent Microsoft Access, so I decided to give web development another try, with the Real Python web development course but it soon fell by the wayside because what I was learning, though fascinating, was time consuming and not of immediate practical use to me.
In April 2017, I discovered GnuCash, a professional-quality, well-established, open source financial management tool, in the same class as Quickbooks. This was a fantastic discovery for my finances, as it made tracking income, expenses and bank accounts a breeze. On the other hand, it was the final nail in the coffin of the central quest chronicled in My Python Adventure: my own financial management application. It was also the end my of emphasis on learning experiences over practicality. As is obvious from reading through this blog, there are simply too many demands on my time for me to be able to devote the necessary hours to learning how to build applications that have already been built, and way better than my present skills could achieve. Going forward, my Python projects will be smaller, simpler and useful to me personally. I believe this philosophy will prove the best way to keep me inspired and growing in my skill level, and holds out the best hope of providing me the building blocks for something greater in the future.