We've Moved

The blog has been retired - it's up for legacy reasons, but these days I'm blogging at blog.theodox.com. All of the content from this site has been replicated there, and that's where all of the new content will be posted. The new feed is here

Friday, December 12, 2014

All we are saying is give API 2.0 a chance

Doing all this math-related posting has reminded me of something I've been meaning to write up:

Maya's python API 2.0, first introduced in the 2013 version, got off to a rocky start. People complained about missing functions and missing modules.  It uses (mostly) the same function and class names as the original OpenMaya Python, which is a recipe for confusion. The documentation is pretty confusing too, since it points at the original C++ docs and leaves it up to you to do much of the translation in your head.    However....

One thing that API 2 definitely does right is to eliminate the dreaded MScriptUtil, with its ugly and confusing interface and all of the opportunities for failures that it includes.  I've been busy porting over a bunch of geometry utilities to the new API and I'm routinely finding that stuff like this:

def APIVector( iterable, normal=False ):
    return an iterable as an OpenMaya MVector
    if iterable is an openMaya MVector, returns untouched
    if isinstance( iterable, OpenMaya.MVector ):
        o_vector = iterable
        assert len( iterable ) == 3, "argument to APIVector must have 3 entries"
        v_util = OpenMaya.MScriptUtil()
        it = list( copy( iterable ) )
        v_util.createFromDouble( iterable[0], iterable[1], iterable[2] )
        o_vector = OpenMaya.MVector( v_util.asDoublePtr() )

    if normal:
        o_vector = o_vector.normal ()
    return o_vector

Turns into to this:

def APIVector(*iterable, **kwargs):
    result = None
        result = api2.MVector(iterable)
    except ValueError:
        result = api2.MVector(iterable[0])
        if kwargs.pop('normal', False):
        return result

In other words, one reasonable line for 4 icky ones.

Plus, the new versions are generally more pythonic - the API 2 version of MVector, for example supports both dot-access, bracket access, and iteration over the vector components (though, annoyingly, not slicing).

It's certainly not all perfect. You do have to be very careful about mixing API 1 and API 2 code in the same functions - even though they are both wrapping the same C++ underpinnings they are are mutually incompatible.  Some things are still cumbersome -- converting strings to MSelectionList items to MObjects to MFNs is still a waste of good brain cells -- but it's a step in the right direction. I'll post more as I know more.

By the way, I spent several minutes surfing around for a funny image to wrap up on, I even did a meme-generator.com thing with The Most Interesting Man In The World saying something dismissive about MScriptUtil.  And then I thought... "What's the point."

See? Progress is possible.   Or maybe I'm just getting old. In Internet Years I'm already like 7,303.