Ajax with and without XML

I forgot to post last week that my latest article for David Mertz’s column, XML Matters, went live on the IBM developerWorks site. It’s fallen off the front page now, but it was gratifying to make it there. The article is Ajax Tradeoffs: The many flavors of XML, and it is an exploration of various XML (Open Office, XHTML, custom) and non-XML (JSON, CSV) formats for data exchange in Ajax-enabled websites. I used my wife Daniela’s efforts at tracking her poetry submissions as my example data.

This article was also my pre-announcement of the Fame Not Fortune webapp that I’m working on (off-and-on). I’m using it as a way of learning Django, since I’m already somewhat familiar with TurboGears and I’m using Rails at work. More about Fame Not Fortune later. I’ll have a status report on the various livingcode projects soon too: updates for Drawing Board and Pastels, among other things.

XML Article without the XML

My latest article for David Mertz’s column XML Matters is up at IBM developerWorks: Lighter than microformats: Picoformats Ajax without X, Microformats without angle brackets went live a couple of days ago. It isn’t so much about XML as how to avoid XML. My feelings towards XML are that it is useful and good, but overused and not a panacea. By providing some alternatives, maybe some of the backlash against the “XML everywhere for everything” meme can be averted.

I’ve been meaning to post about the article, but I keep getting caught up preparing my presentation for the Vancouver Python Workshop on Saturday (the workshop starts Friday August 3rd and goes through Sunday August 5th). My talk this year is on using [PyObjC] to create applications and plugins for OS X using Python. I’ll get the slides up after, as soon as I can. I’m also planning on doing a shorter version of this talk at Bar Camp Vancouver which is 6 pm Friday, August 25 to 6 pm Saturday, August 26.

And I should have mentioned the Google talk at the Vancouver High Performance Computing User Group before it happened on July 27th. Narayanan ‘Shiva’ Shivakumar came up from their Seattle office to present mostly old information from their published papers such as The Google File System, MapReduce, and BigTable (video). The talk over beers after was fun, and it was good to see my friend Mark and find out he has a blog, even if it’s over my head much of the time.

Well, that’s my update dump. More stuff on actually using PyObjC coming Real Soon Now.

Atom and Microformats Intro

My most recent article at IBM developerWorks is up (part of David Mertz’s “XML Matters” column), discussing the intersection of Atom Syndication Format, Atom Publishing Protocol, and Microformats:

Up And Atom

Actually, it’s been up for at least a week, but I was out of town at JavaOne (and too tired to post), then off the grid completely taking my daughter’s school to camp. I’m still getting caught up, but nearly recovered.

I think I’ve figured out why my new blog is not being picked up by Planet Python too: the planet software has only recently begun to support Atom 1.0, and that version hasn’t been officially released yet. There should be a 1.0 release of the planet code soon, and hopefully Planet Python will upgrade then and all will be well with the world.

I guess that’s one downside to developing my own blogging tools to support open standards: I may not have to implement deprecated formats or protocols, but if others are still stuck with legacy systems it can still hurt.

Pipestreaming Microformats

My latest article for David Mertz’s column XML Matters on IBM’s developerWorks site has been up for over a week now, but I’m finally coming up for air long enough to post about it. The title is Pipestreaming Microformats and it is a survey of attempts to apply the Unix pipe metaphor to XML content, then some blue-sky dreaming of how to apply that to microformats.

One thing I mention in the article is that Norm Walsh’s SXPipe would be cool to re-implement in Python using lxml. While I was writing the article and in the time since, lxml has been undergoing a flurry of activity the results of which (among other cool things) are that it now has Python eggs for easy install on Windows, OS X, and Linux. So I think it’s ready, I just need to find time to spend with that project. If there is interest in such a thing, let me know so I can bump the priority up.

3D, it’s not just for breakfast anymore

I’ve been fooling around with 3D lately. First off, my third article as guest-writer for David Mertz’s XML Matters column, The Web ain’t just for 2D anymore went live on IBM’s developerWorks site today. It’s about X3D (3D in XML), successor to VRML, and the possibility of it being relevant today. I have moderate hope for it, now that SVG is starting to be a player. The funny thing is, I think X3D is probably less complicated to implement than SVG is. The real coolness starts when you can combine them, but that is still a ways off.

Years ago, I was the lead programmer for Antarcti.ca’s 3D web client (which was discontinued awhile back), and before that I implemented a simple 3D renderer in Java AWT (this was before Swing, and way before Java3D. So I’ve been tinkering around with 3D for awhile. Lately I’ve volunteered to take a stab at porting VPython over to OS X Aqua (it can be built for OS X, but only under X Windows, which doesn’t appeal to me). So far, the build process for it has been stumping me, and soaking up what little time I have to devote to my hobby coding, but I still plug away at it from time to time. It’s a C++ extension for Python which relies on boost, glib, and OpenGL libraries, and it uses autoconf in a fairly non-auto way. I’ve never been expert at build systems, most python projects I’ve needed were either .configure;make;make install or python setup.py install, so the struggle to port this really bugs me, but VPython is a very cool project and I want to use it (and I don’t want to give in and rely on fink and X). Sometimes I’m too stubborn for my own good.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was thinking of writing a tool for screencasting from OS X. It turns out that while Apple has included more advanced Cocoa libraries for Quicktime in Tiger, there isn’t a convenient way to create new, writable movies from Cocoa, so that project has stalled, for the time being. There is a solution, but I’m trying to wrap up other things before I delve into it.

I have two projects nearly ready to release which are both larger examples of using PyObjC. One is my own project, DrawingBoard, which is being tested right now by both my kids and my friend Michael’s kids. I’m about ready to let other people see it, rough as it still is. The other project is a port of Apple’s Sketch example code from Objective-C into Python, which gives examples of how to use Core Data, undo/redo, and many other things. Both will be coming soon.

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