As I write these words, I’m not really sure for how long pup will actually live – let me be clear: it’s not that I don’t think the Mu Editor, in particular, and the world of Python GUI applications in general don’t need a simple and effective native packager, I honestly do; moreover, I do believe that there should be more diversity and more GUI applications – even if ugly (whatever that means!) – in contrast with the trends towards web-based ones, like we have been observing throughout the last decade or so.

As was saying, I’m not really sure for how long pup will live. Why? Mostly because pup is kind of a conceptual fork of briefcase, up to a point. I gave this idea lots of thought and figured out that, for the near-term future, creating pup would be the best option for packaging Mu. Later it its life, it may make sense to integrate its “tricks” into briefcase, which is a more generic and mature tool, with much higher aspirations.

The fact of the matter is that Mu itself is a very particular kind of GUI program: it is a program to create programs, a program that runs and debugs programs, a program that brings in third-party dependencies, a program that uploads code to micro-controllers, and so much more.

Mu is at a development stage where several things “must” happen somewhat fast enough: for one, robust support for bringing in third-party packages from PyPI, something that mostly works on Windows and fails miserably on macOS, already has a re-architected solution that now unfortunatelly fails when packaged natively – we could, of course, hack our way through the currently existing, somewhat brittle and inconsistent Mu packaging tools and scripts to fix that. Then, of course, we’re one year (!!!) late to the macOS application notarization requirement race (party?). The end result is as expected: beginner programmers having wierd issues and unnecessary barriers with Mu on their computers. Completely the opposite of Mu’s purpose!

Creating pup will allow the Mu team to fully decouple the packaging efforts from Mu’s own development while, at the same time, simplifying the autonomous and hopefully fast-paced development of a fully automatable packaging tool for its own purposes. In the near term, the Holy Grail is for Nicholas to be able to type something like pup go on on his development environment and have it automatically produce the final Windows or macOS distribution artifacts: signed, notarized, with all the required “seals”, and working as well as it works for any of us under our development systems: in other words, “works for me”-everywhere!

“How hard can it be?” :)