API 2.0 a chance">

All we are saying is give API 2.0 a chance

Fri 12 December 2014

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.