Older blog entries for cwinters (starting at number 78)

I realize I'm probably tempting fate by releasing new versions of both OpenInteract and SPOPS at 2 in the morning. But so it goes: 1.3 (tons of cool stuff) and 0.50 (mostly bugfixes + enhancements) are on the street.

Built a relatively small website the other day using (gasp!) server-side includes. Refreshing to go back to the extremely short iteration cycles of that type of development, even though I have no patience for mucking with HTML anymore.

Also connecting with the developer of OpenThought, another Perl webapp server. But it approaches things very differently from OpenInteract -- lots of Javascript as it tries to be more of a traditional application. Interesting.

Thing is, he's got many of the same needs as all the other 11 million webapp servers: authentication, data abstraction, sessions.... And hey, why not create a layer that works with everything? So we're hashing that out over email right now. He came to my talk at YAPC in June (and even got one of the t-shirts!). And he's not far away (relatively: probably 3-4 hours driving), so it might be cool as this thing progresses to get together .

Still trying to think of a name for the project. I suck at that.

Happy palindrome day

Found out that a bookstore colleague has lung cancer and six months to live, if she's lucky. And her cat of 17 years died the day before she found out. Unfair isn't the word. Hacking seems so empty sometimes.

Blah blah blah. Uncertain job situation looms -- go to work for a place that's not as socially fun and out in the suburbs (driving to work a necessity) but where I can work on Perl and probably extend OpenInteract and SPOPS on a regular basis. Or work at $OLDCOMPANY doing J2EE and design work with fun people in a location (downtown) easily accessible by public transportation. Stability issues count: $OLDCOMPANY is pretty stable for 6-9 months, but after that is unknown. The other place has been around for a while (~20 years) and does state government work so it won't be going anywhere.

I realize this isn't such a bad situation to be in -- at least I have a choice -- but I'm getting tired of bouncing around, and I want to try and keep working on OpenInteract AMAP but still remain sane. Like I said: blah blah blah.

Finally got wireless working. Someone had posted a patch to get Ad-Hoc working on Prism2 cards with the Linux-WLAN 0.1.9 release. Compiled it in, worked great. So now the gateway has two cabled interfaces (external and internal) and a wireless internal interface. A few modifications to the iptables script and everything is good to go. I should write up this process so nobody else has such pain with these Linksys cards.

Did a ton of work over the last five days to make building typical apps in OpenInteract a total piece of cake. Part of this was building a common file of Template Toolkit widgets and making it available to all templates processed. But this visibly (!!) diminished performance, which was puzzling because it should have only parsed/compiled the common library once. Looking back into the custom TT provider in OI I found that it wasn't doing any caching or compiling. Doh! A few modifications and it's now happy as a clam.

Building apps with this new system is excellent -- define the object, define your templates and some configuration stuff and you've basically got a search form, object searching (including on attributes in other tables), object display, editing and removal. Just like that. And I've got an impossible deadline to test it out on. Always a good combination....

We also adopted a new cat on Friday from the shelter. This makes three cats to two people in the house, so it's officially a cat house now. She's lovely, but she seems to drool a lot (!) when she's happy. Hopefully not a symptom of anything else, because we've grown close to her very quickly.

Work situation changing rapidly. $COMPANY for which I do most of my consulting work is teetering. I'm doing a project for a local company here (last minute rush to try and build a web app that uses both mysql and DB2 on AS/400 to do medical claims/referrals processing) that might turn into something permanent. Positives: use OpenInteract, work for a single company and see results of projects, become more integrated with project development, maybe help define a new team, decent money (I think). Negatives: in the suburbs, potential dicey office politics, unsure about company status, working by myself again (at least for a time).

Being in the suburbs is a major downer for me. Talking with Barb about it, I realized I've never really had a job with a traditional 30-60 minute commute in a car. It's either public transport or the roll-out-of-bed commute.

Forced to play around with Perl on Win32. With ActiveState and Visual C++ installed, non-PPM'd, non-pureperl modules can actually compile and get installed from the CPAN shell. How cool is that! And creating a PPD file (used in ActiveState's PPM installer/manager) is pretty simple too -- I found a mailing list posting where Ingy specified how to do it, built one and emailed it to the author of Class::Date so maybe he'd post it on his site for Win32 refugees installing OI.

Massive amounts of time wasted trying to get wireless up and running, but admittedly most of it's my fault since I didn't do the proper research before a hasty purchase. I knew that my hardware (Linksys pcmcia and pcmcia + pci adapter) worked ok, but I didn't know about all this AP/base station/etc. stuff that's necessary to get a workstation/gateway to act as a wireless access point. My bad. And since it's still relatively young, the whole Linux wireless LAN community still has the feel of an underground cadre, so you really have to search for information and even then you only get a few touches/glimpses of the elephant. Exhausting.

Had some excellent ideas for a relatively simple (but powerful) OpenInteract improvement -- filters. Specify that a particular action should always be filtered, or should conditionally be filtered, and a simple API lets authors manipulate the text (or links, or whatever) as they wish. Thus it would be simple to create a 'wikify' filter that highlighted all WikiLike terms, or a filter that censors bad words, or a filter that does spell-checking, or...

Still a little stuck in general, but I think I'm coming out of it.

Did you know that the O'Reilly book DocBook: The Definitive Guide is now available under the GNU Free Documentation License? Maybe this is old news, but it's still cool!

Starting to organize the SPOPS documentation, including a standalone manual. Trying to swipe ideas from the Template Toolkit doc process -- might as well steal from really smart people.

Trying to get motivated, almost working. Undertime still in effect. Wrote a simple script to grab CVS off sourceforge every night (just in case...) and FTP the tarballs up to the main site. I'm sure there are programs out there to do this, but I was curious how many lines of perl it would take and what it would look like (false laziness).

Whew, that's about done. Cyrus IMAP is now up and running, a-OK. Just a few more upgrades on that machine (like moving my website) and I can secure the cover with the proper screws, stick it in the corner connected to the UPS and forget about it.

I really, really tried to use Gnus as a mail client. But I haven't been using gnus as a newsreader for very long and haven't quite caught its way of doing things yet. So back to mutt, which is quite happy with IMAP and which makes me quite happy. Webmail -- using IMP, which is my first foray into PHP please forgive me o Perl masters-- is working too, so the next time we go on a vacation and I connect from a cafe I won't have to sneakily install PuTTY...

Little hacking done the last few days. I was quite burned out after heinous amounts of work a couple weeks ago -- DeMarco's notion of undertime seems right on the money to me. Boss (sorta) called today looking for help on something -- I tracked down what it should be doing, but turned down a request to fix it. Dammit, I'm really trying to make weekends ours, not work's. This crap over the last couple of weeks reinforced that -- all the work done for an artificial deadline that wasn't met anyway. Whoop-dee-doo.

But at least OpenInteract has a shopping cart and simple catalog system now, probably to be put out there with the other extra packages. Whatever.

Saw Thirteen Days tonight. It wasn't bad, but Kevin Costner's amazingly bad accent almost ruined it for me.

Went to my first Bat Mitzvah today for one of my wife's students. Interesting, and one of the passages she was reading had some interesting commentary about animal cruelty.

100% human-generated.

Oh, how embarrassing. Got new versions of OpenInteract and SPOPS out the door only to find a bug in one of the OI packages (browser-based object/task security editing won't save the settings). Ack! Quick release of a new version out as quickly as possible.

The possibility of this happening probably increases with the number of changes made between versions. That'll teach me to change so many things at once.

Now that things aren't so panicked, I'm revisiting the server issue so I can get IMAP up and running. I'm being ambitious and trying for Cyrus on the first shot. We'll see...

chromatic: You should ping the DC Perlmongers group (esp the mailing list) regarding XP in DC. If I still lived down there I'd be there with bells on :-)

OpenInteract 1.2 and SPOPS 0.50 are pretty much bundled up and ready to go out the door. Once my guinea pig -- I mean client -- gets everything up and running, they'll be unleashed. LDAP support for object serialization and authentication, retrofitting onto existing directories, is included. Also: better TT integration with a full provider and plugin; SPOPS code generation has been totally rewritten to make adding features quite easy (rules-based setup). The crowd goes wild.

I really need to work on the docs for SPOPS -- it's getting big enough that I think we need something like what TT has: each module has its own information and a separate hierarchy (Template::Manual) has overall information and binding material. Organization key.

Project from hell pretty much got worked out -- throw enough time at it for n days straight, hey no problem -- but of course right on the heels of that the only person who knows unix went to germany and saddled me with a nasty email problem. Then someone else had an email problem. (And of course everyone panics when they have email problems.) I'm getting the impression our clients are held together with duct tape.

Also went down to DC for a meeting with a about-to-sign-the-contract client and closed the deal. Cool. So OpenInteract will be used on a site that some people might have actually heard about. (More later, when it's actually implemented :-)

On my way back from DC stopped by one of the big box stores and bought five or six CDs. The pleasures of immediate gratification...

69 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!