Building Windows Installers In The Cloud
With pythonpackages.com, I want to solve real problems for people today. So here’s a proof of concept for building Windows installers quickly and easily “in the cloud” (i.e. without a Windows machine local). This article is mostly about the back end, as the front end is already documented.
TL;DR: We’re moving from proof-of-concept phase to useful-service phase. If you find the demo interesting and want to help build something great, please consider purchasing one of our current plans.
Step 1: To The Clouds
For the purpose of the demo, I booted up a Windows server on Rackspace Cloud and started installing things. On the short list of things to install was:
- Python 2.7 from python.org.
- GitHub for Windows from github.com (mainly for git.)
- pythonpackages.com from bitbucket.org (free private repos!)
- Microsoft compiler (free version, make sure to use the same one used to compile Python.)
- Redis for Windows (Hell froze over, you can find this in Microsoft’s GitHub account: https://github.com/MSOpenTech/Redis.)
- Vim.exe (which I copy to vi.exe because I hate typing vim.)
Once I had all these things in place, I was able to:
- Install pythonpackages.com (pip install -r requirements.txt.)
- Compile and run Redis (Several projects bundled together in Visual
Studio is apparently called a “solution”, how quaint!)
- Start the site.
- Start testing.
Step 2: Fix all the bugs
This step involved a lot of cursing:
- Lack of vi key bindings.
- Other Windows-isms.
But I also praised my CoRD Remote Desktop Client because it worked awesome. Anyway, the bugs/issues I fixed (and didn’t fix) were roughly:
- Create new application on GitHub and configured keys accordingly.
- Switch Stripe keys to testing.
- Fix Python paths and other trivial changes, so the application can run `python setup.py bdist_wininst`.
Step 3: Profit!
I have to admit: I was giddy when it started working, and I was able to create a Windows Installer for Pillow (Python Imaging Library fork). I was even happier when I ran the installer and it worked. That’s it. Next I hope to get some customers so I can keep the Windows box running, and make it available to the public.
In case you are interested, the roadmap for beta Q3 is here. I will also mention that I recently used Dia (<3) to create this info-graphic, in hopes of better communicating what I’m trying to build. Check it out!