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25 October

Taking COREBlog for a Test Drive

A slick Zope based weblog tool.

I've been searching for a new weblog tool, and came across COREBlog this afternoon. It seems to have most of the features I want and is easily configured. It works with Zope 2.7.0b2 built with Python 2.3.2 as well as the Zope 2.5.1 I'm using for this public site.

I'm using it for this next generation Rogers' Reflections weblog. It may have a place at the day job as well.

Posted by steve at 01:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 October

COREBlog Redux

Second Beta

I've installed COREBlog 0.51b and still can't get XML-RPC pinging of weblog ping servers like Weblogs.com to work. It's unclear from the documentation if it really is supposed to work yet. The web site now has some documentation.

Posted by shrogers at 05:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
01 November


PIMs, and PDAs

Jeremy Hylton is pondering Avoiding Contention in an Optimistic (Zope) Object Database in an effort to improve performance under heavy load. Scalability of the ZODB has become more important with its release as an separately usable component as part of the Zope 3 project. With version 3, Zope is being refactored into well defined interfaces and components to make it easier for developers to work with. Zope 2 is very powerful and can be set up to allow end users to do a lot, but also has a very steep learning curve for developers. You have to learn everything at once to do most non-trivial things with Zope 2.

Mitch Kapor's Chandler is the most visible project outside of Zope to use the ZODB. Chandler updates the Personal Information Manager concept for the Internet era and promises to make email, weblogs, calendars, and other types of personal information more manageable for ordinary mortals. Mitch's team chose ZODB rather than a relational database management system to provide more dynamic and flexible ways to relate different kinds of information than is readily achievable with the latter. This ability to relate different kinds of information is reminiscent of the late, lamented Apple Newton which I think is still the benchmark for PIM design. In addition to excellent hand writing recognition, the Newton could intelligently relate various information chunks for its user. Perhaps Chandler + Zaurus will be a worthy Newton successor.

UPDATE: It seems that the Chandler team has abandoned ZODB in favor of an XML repository of their own design. Hope it works out for them, but I think this is a mistake.

Posted by Steve Rogers at 16:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
02 November

Cross Compiling for the Zaurus

I came across this Sharp Zaurus cross compiling How-To at LinuxDevices.com. I should try this, but don't know when I'll get around to it.

Posted by Steve at 01:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 November

Weblog Pings

I have COREBlog's ping working with Weblogs.com and blo.gs. Let's see if it works with coreblog.org.

Posted by shrogers at 02:06 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
11 November

COREBlog 0.52b

I've upgraded my weblog to COREBlog 0.52b, a bug fix release.

Posted by Steve at 19:53 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 November

Zope 2.7.0 Beta 3

Beta three of Zope 2.7.0 has been released. The most visible change from the second beta is the requirement for Python 2.3.2.

Posted by Steve at 04:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 December

Design Recipe

I came upon the following programming recipe posted by Mattthias Felleisen in a long thread on the PLT Scheme mailing list.

  1. learn to understand your data.

  2. synthesize in concise statements

  3. illustrate with examples

  4. form an outline

  5. fill the gaps

  6. check your results against your examples

This is the essence of How to Design Programs, a text that I'm reading, and enjoying, despite having programmed for thirty odd years. It's based upon Scheme, but Scheme isn't really the main focus. The emphasis is on thinking about and understanding problems and abstracting out the essential elements. If I ever teach an introductory computer science course, I'd like to use HtDP. It, or something like it, should be part of every college curriculum, not just computer science. Not enough time is spent teaching students to think rather than memorizing facts and procedures.

Posted by shrogers at 06:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 December

Weblog Design

After several weblog avatars (Blogger, Blark, CMFWeblog, Blosxom, PyBlosxom, and COREBlog), I haven't really settled yet. Movable Type looks good, but it doesn't seem to be exactly what I want either.

Things I want in a weblog:

Posted by shrogers at 14:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
14 January

Blog Crash

I owe Gordon Weakliem an apology for crashing his blog. He's transitioned it to his own weblog engine written in Scheme. I failed to heed his warning that comments were broken and recklessly posted one, bringing down the blog. I'm still debating writing a weblog engine and am interested in others experiences.

Posted by Steve at 17:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 January

PLT Scheme, the Best Open Source Lisp?

Bill Clementson asked what is the best open source Lisp a few days ago, based upon criteria gleaned from c.l.l, then answered the next day, that PLT Scheme best met those criteria. I'm inclined to agree with him. I'm think of rolling my own weblog package, with Common Lisp (probably CMUCL), Scheme (probably PLT Scheme), and Python (probably Stackless when it's ported to Python 2.3) as candidate implementation languages.

Posted by Steve at 19:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
24 January

Acme Mapper

Esther Dyson mentions a really cool web application, Mapper, which seems to put together a composite picture of an area from satellite photos in its database. Here is where I live in Lyons. Our street and house are too new to show up, but I'm at about the lower right edge of the red circle.

Posted by Steve at 19:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 January

DrScheme 206

PLT has released DrScheme 206. Something that I've missed in earlier versions is on the fly syntax highlighting, new in version 206.

Posted by Steve at 05:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 February

Playing with Plone

Weather was kind of crappy today and I didn't get out much. I downloaded and installed Plone 2.0 RC3 on Zope 2.7.0. Plone is a pretty slick Content Management system based upon the Zope Content Management Framework. Perhaps I'll use it for my site redesign. It would be nice if COREBlog integrated nicely with it, but no such luck.

Posted by Steve at 21:17 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 March

COREBlog 0.6b

I've upgraded Rogers' Reflections to COREBlog 0.6b which is ZCatalog aware. This will provide search capability when I figure out how to enable it. It'll require updating the site to Zope 2.6+.

Posted by Steve at 19:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
24 March

Plone 2.0

Plone 2.0 final has been released.

Posted by Steve at 20:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
22 May


The Lisp Universal SHell

Lush is an object oriented scripting language aimed at numeric and graphic applications. It is a dialect of Lisp which is simpler than Common Lisp without particularly resembling Scheme. Lush promises high performance via tight C integration with bindings to many C libraries. You can begin development in a fast, dynamic interpreter written in C. Once your application has stabilized, you can add declarations and compile it to C and then to native code. You can even mix Lush and C code in the same function, if need be. It looks promising for rapid development of computationally intensive applications like machine learning and simulation.

With thousands of functions available, extremely simple syntax, and a slick on-line help system, beginners should quickly become productive. Experienced Lispers have the full power of Lisp at their disposal.

Posted by Steve at 09:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 May

More on Lush

Not quite the full power of Lisp.

In my earlier comments about Lush I said that it had the full power of Lisp. This is certainly true of the Lush interpreter, but not for compiled Lush. For the Lush compiler to be effective, you must add declarations and avoid recursion. Still, it's close enough for many applications. Even compiled, it provides most of the power of Lisp with much of the power of APL.

Posted by Steve at 05:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 June


Clearsilver is an interesting web templating system that enforces strong separation of application logic and display format. It's written in C for speed and is language neutral with API's for C/C++, Python, Perl, and Java.

Posted by Steve at 06:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
14 June

Test Driven Development for Dynamic Languages

I came across a post by Gary King on unit test tools for Lisp via Planet Lisp. Gary finds that though he appreciates the Test Driven Development approach, he hasn't practiced it as much as he thinks he should, though he's written LIFT, a unit test framework for Lisp.

Gary identifies three reasons for his failure to practice what he preaches:

  1. Lisp is interactive.

  2. Lisp is (mostly) functional, with few side effects.

  3. Lisp is language design.

He emphasizes the first reason, interactively testing in the shell rather than running test code provides more immediate feedback to the programmer and is therefore more satisfying. I've seen this with Python as well. This doesn't mean that formal unit tests aren't useful in dynamic languages, but it does mean that they must be easy and natural to use to be worth the effort. Though Gary wrote LIFT using macros, he sees additional work to better integrate it with Lisp so that he uses it more. Unfortunately Python lacks macros, so this level of integration is more difficult, though having unittest as part of the Python Standard Library helps.

Posted by Steve at 05:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 June

Firefox and Thunderbird Updates

The Mozilla development group has released new versions of it's next generation browser, Firefox 0.9, and email client Thunderbird 0.7. They're advertised as being faster, easier to use, and more secure than previous versions. I can vouch for the faster part.

Posted by Steve at 04:31 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)