Older blog entries for stevecassidy (starting at number 5)

5 Sep 2001 (updated 5 Sep 2001 at 04:11 UTC) »

A busy month, various things happening with Tcl and Emu.

The Tcl installer stuff has given birth to TIP#55 which suggests a package format for Tcl extensions. The scope of this seems to be growing somewhat to specifying the structure of an online archive of packages. I've put up a prototype repository as part of sorting out the requirements. I hope this comes to be accepted since Tcl really needs a good extension repository to make all the code out there in the world more useful.

I've begun making much more use of extensions writing Tcl lately, there's always been some resistance to doing this mainly because they're seen as hard to find and install. Tcllib is a great resource. I'm considering writing a book to try to spread the word; I wonder whether I'll find the time...

Made a new Emu release with various features for transcription of dialogue. Dan has now got an almost working Mac port with just a few GUI glitches to sort out before we can release. I hope I can put version 1.x behind me now and get stuck in to the new and interesting stuff in 2.0.

2 Aug 2001 (updated 2 Aug 2001 at 03:44 UTC) »

Now over the marking trauma and on with a new semester. Teaching units on speech recognition and dialogue systems which are fun and not so stressful.

I seem to have a Tcl obsession at the moment spending lots of time thinking about installation of extensions etc. and trying to encourage some discussion to standardise this within the Tcl world. ActiveState are now in on this act too so it seems likely that Tcl will soon have a package repository akin to CPAN etc. Something that it sorely needs.

God I hate marking. Mind numbing tedium.

Posted a message on comp.lang.tcl attempting to bring together some tcl projects building installation tools. be a tcl based installer capable of installing tcl itself as well as any other software package out there in te world. Forever hopeful...

Spending time trying to get Emu working nicely with Transcriber so that some folks can do dialogue annotation. The main problem at the moment is getting the two packages to install together without two separate copies of tcl (each one installs it's own because at the moment that's the simplest option). I'm also playing with building windows executables on linux using the mingw cross compiler; works very well in most cases with only a few config changes.

So I'm now involved on the periphery of tclish which is an installer shell written in tcl/tk. It's something I've needed for some time since the current Emu installer is clunky and hard to configure. Tclish can do web based installs which will be a nice addition for the users to get excited about and should make it easier to give people the latest version. My first act was to remove the dependancy on BLT and chop the code up into more manageable chunks; there are some interesting things that could be done with this.

Got some coding done yesterday, all part of marking avoidance. Now I've got 200+ exam scripts sitting on my desk there will be plenty of opportunities for that...

Finished teaching finally, just 250 perl assignments to mark now...

Some nice results with www.assta.org this week using Zope. Zope looks very nice but getting it going on the rpm based server was traumatic, installing python modules for postgresql access wasn't straightforward. Somehow through the process the ownerships of the entire zope installation became wrong causing zope to refuse to let me manage anything. Changing everything to be owned by zope fixed it but lord knows what happened. Some interesting discussion on comp.lang.tcl about using tcl via zope. Zope provides excellent infrastructure but I really don't want to learn python to be able to extend it.

Tcl/Tk proved it's worth this week; wrote a simple text editor for Emu in a couple of hours and ~30 lines of code. I've got an urge to code up an answerphone script in tcl even though there's an existing package for perl on offer. I've really started to actively dislike perl after teaching it this semester.

Hmm.. I've been wondering about keeping a diary for a while. Not being an organised person I don't know if I'll be able to manage regular entries but who knows...

Teaching is just coming to a close and so I'm hoping to be able to get on with some coding (that is coding things other than perl CGI scripts for student's assignments) in the midyear break. Many things have piled up but now we've got some money to pay a couple of people to help out we might be able to make some useful progress.

Met with Jonathan last week to discuss the future of Emu. It was good to externalise some of the plans that have been floating about in my head for a while. I really need to write a planning document since there will now be others involved directly in the project but I always want to code rather than write stuff like that...

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