Creating a desktop application using Python (part 2)

Usually code works for a while, until it doesn’t. That happened to me this week with new-books-desktop, my desktop application for producing our monthly new books list. I had recently lost the virtualenv that was being used to build the executable to a replaced hard drive, and was hoping that it would be easy enough to rebuild, say with:

pip install -r requirements.txt

But no such luck. Six hours of work later and I am no closer to having a working virtualenv. Over the course of the afternoon, I attempted a lot of fixes, and generated a lot of varied error messages, but I still did not manage to get all of the libraries installed, let alone run the build process. This isn’t the end of the world; I’m sure I’ll get it figured out eventually; but it speaks to how capricious software can seem sometimes. We are often at the whims of different versions of libraries, of different bugs (both patched and unpatched), and of our own shortcomings as problem solvers. It requires patience and humility, as well as a stubborn determinedness to ultimately figure out what is wrong. And then at best our code will work for a little while. Programming is for a person who can accept being a very specific kind of Sisyphus.

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