fdrake is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Fred Drake
Member since: 2000-09-29 05:41:27
Last Login: 2008-05-03 23:38:53

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Homepage: http://www.fdrake.net/


Most of my time I pour into my job at PythonLabs, having a lot of fun developing Python. My primary responsibility on the Python team is managing the documentation effort. I write documentation, I write formatting code, I edit documentation, I proofread documentation, I sweat documentation in the summer.

I've always been interested in documentation systems and markup languages. I actually wrote a 150 page manual for a management system I wrote for slide collections using GML and Script/VS on an IBM 390 mainframe, back before I learned how to be a computer programmer (I was studying architecture at the time). I moved on from there to learning about troff and friends, then SGML and it's degenerate cousin, HTML. I now spend a fair bit of time implementing APIs for XML, including a highly conformant DOM implementation in Python for the Zope environment.

I do other stuff too, but doesn't everyone?


Recent blog entries by fdrake

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Well, Guido's post to python-dev made me take a look at Advogato again, and found that there's now a password-recovery feature. So I'm back!

It's been a long time since I've posted here, and I need to update my "who am I" text as well.

The book I co-authored has finally arrived! Python & XML, from O'Reilly, is now available; it should start to appear in bookstores over the next week. Hopefully you'll find a copy in time for the holidays! It's not like there's anything else to do, now is there? ;-)

Woo hoo! It looks like I'll be talking about HotShot, the new Python profiler, at the next Python conference! I guess I need to get documentation and user-level tools checked into CVS over the next week. I think we're starting to get a grip on how we want the information to be presented; I just need to get the first stab at the code and documentation written. There are many opportunities for tools to be able to extract the information from the profile logs once I get a nicer API built up (currently in progress) and a sample tool or two bundled with Python.

Well! I certainly haven't written anything here in a long time.

I suppose I've been busy, but it's not easy to know just what I've done. I've learned a bit more about Zope and spent time working on a variety of documentation issues for Python. I've done a little bit more on the XML conversion project there, but mostly just maintenance so the preliminary conversion doesn't fall too far behind the actual definition of the markup in the LaTeX version. There have been a few new things added, but not too many.

Lately I've been working on a new profiler for Python, and this one shouldn't be so darn slow. Written entirely in C, HotShot never touches Python code and avoids the slow path calling PyCFunction objects; to the best of my knowledge, it's the first profiler that uses the new profiler/tracer API introduced in Python 2.2. I expect to check the code into the Python CVS repository tomorrow. It shouldn't be too hard to create a coverage tool using the same basic model, and that should be really fast -- the slowest thing about the profiler is getting the time using a system call. I guess the next thing to work on once we have a basic analysis tool will be to get timing information faster.

Oh, and I've written a book. Well, part of one anyway; I've never even met my co-author. The book, titled Python & XML, should be out by the end of the year. Watch for it!

Well, well, well... I've been busy lately! I've spent a fair bit of time looking into some of the evolving W3C specifications, especially the XML DOM stuff. It's a little interesting seeing the directions the specs are being pulled in -- not sure of the motivations, sometimes!

My own DOM implementation is growing, but only slowly at this point -- I've worked on my Level 3 Loading module, and have at least a few test cases for non-default behaviors.

I spent a little time this evening working on my scripts for conversion of the LaTeX documentation for Python to XML -- perhaps that's not such a hopeless goal! I think I need to think further about the following topics:

  • The document schema: Specifically, function and method signatures need some attention.

  • Composition: If I go with smaller documents for module references, say one file per Python module, I'll want a composition mechanism that lets me put together a nicely interlinked web of references from a collection of module references and other text. It would be nice to keep a single collection of module references which could accomodate multiple top-level views.

  • Formatting for display: I've started playing with XSLT, and might be able to use that for a lot of the formatting, but I'm not sure yet. I need to learn a lot more about it to manage the hyperlinking between module references in a reasonable way.

  • Typesetting: Yes, I still think this is useful! Perhaps not for the library reference, but certainly for most of the other documents. Displays just aren't good enough for extended reading. I can probably use XSLT to generate LaTeX similar to the current markup, and then use a variant of my current document classes to make it look good.

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