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 These days, I mostly post my tech musings on Linkedin.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanmcgrath/

Friday, April 25, 2003


Everywhere I look these days, I'm tripping over Python apps - the latest I've stumbled on is gnumed.
I'm also playing with Boa Constructor. Don't be fooled by the low version number, it is a very respectible IDE in the Borland Delphi genre.

Paintshop Pro and Python

So there I was minding my own business. I used the script recorder in the most excellent Paintshop Pro 8 and eyeballed the result.

from JascApp import *

def ScriptProperties():
return {
'Author': '',
'Copyright': '',
'Description': '',
'Host': 'Paint Shop Pro',
'Host Version': '8.00 Beta 20030414.05'

def Do(Environment):
App.Do( Environment, 'Flip', {
'Flip All Layers': App.Constants.Boolean.false,
'GeneralSettings': {
'ExecutionMode': App.Constants.ExecutionMode.Default,
'AutoActionMode': App.Constants.AutoActionMode.Match

I've seen that syntax somewhere before... :-)

Currently reading

Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

The future of EAI - XML, Asynchronous Messaging, Service Oriented Architectures, Pipeline Transformations etc.

A PDF of a presentation I gave recently on the subject of the future of integration technology.
Seriously though. The future is simple to predict - loooooooooooooose coupling. Asynchronous choreographies, XML bits-on-the-wire, messaging. A 180 degree turn towards dataflow oriented design and trasformation oriented integration. Away, away (finally!) from the object-oriented-onanism, distributed-algorithm-think that has plagued this industry for decades. Yup, I'm my usual non-opinionated self today :-)

WordML is to XML way RTF was to ASCII.

Read this: At Microsoft's Mercy. WordML is to XML way RTF was to ASCII.

    [Mike Champion]
    "I honestly don't see why they bother with WordML; what is the point of storing data in XML if the schema is so hideous and proprietary than no one can use it without proprietary API support?"

Amen. Its a lemon. Don't fall for it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Blog Peeping

This is so cool. Sit back and watch the world blog its way around the clock. Now you know you simply must get those geotags and that RSS autodiscovery machinery into your blog.

Web Services Patents Fun and Games

One Charlie Northrup holds a patent for what are now known as Web Services. Stop giggling there at the back!

Python metaclasses

Had your caffeine? Blood sugar levels okay? If so, you might like to tackle Python metaclasses. If not, don't go there. Your brain will ooze out of your ears and drip to the floor.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

E. F. Codd - father of the RDB - has passed away

He was 79.

Blogging and lurking

Something interesting is happening to the concept of a "forum" on the Web. Blogs are changing the way debate is conducted electronically. Here is an ITWorld piece about the subject. Blogging and lurking.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Temporal decoupling

Clay Shirky writes:

    "The radical change was de-coupling groups in space and time. To get a conversation going around a conference table or campfire, you need to gather everyone in the same place at the same moment. By undoing those restrictions, the internet has ushered in a host of new social patterns, from the mailing list to the chat room to the weblog"

It also arguably has caused technologists to ask "if we integrate conversations amongst *people* using these temporal as well as spatial decoupling techniques, why don't we do the same with process-to-process conversations?".

There is no reason why we can't. We just need to STOP thinking of the Web/Internet as a synchronous modality. All the bits are in place. We know how to do reliable messaging. Its at least a thirty year old technology. We know how to represent dataflows - its called XML. Whats left? Just the rotation, through about 180 degrees, of the heads of a lot of young software developers.

N nodes. Everyone can talk to everyone else. Value = square(N). (Metcalf)
N nodes. Everyone can form groups with two or more members for fun and/or profit. Value = pow(2,n). (Reed)
The latter grows significantly faster than the former as N increases.

To form groups you need a virtual *place* decoupled from the processes involved. In synchronous (value N squared) integration, there is no such place - its in the state space of the processes themselves. In 2 to the N integration there is such a place - it is in the temporally decoupled message store formed by the groups.

Reliable messaging will be the next big thing on the Web. URIs will increasingly be seen as entry points (via two phase commit protocols) to unbounded message queues fed on by processes.

The response part of HTTPs request/response protocol will increasingly mean "Got the message, heres your tracking number. Will get back to you." rather than "Got the message, here is the response to your request.".

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Pronouncing 'Propylon'

Here it is, straight from the American Heritrage Dictionary - Propylon. Sound clip in wav format here.