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

Saturday, February 19, 2005


SOAP is dead.

SOAP - as practiced - is so fundamentally awful on so many different levels - that I have long since despaired of debunking it succinctly.

The truth will out.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Jython and numeric directory names and a segue into aspiration mode

I want to import Python code from a module. No problem. In Jython, you add the directory name to python.path in your registry, create the all important __init__.py file and your done.

Works great. Except when the directory name is numeric. Then the import fails.

It took me an hour to track the problem down as I assumed the problem was in the __init__.py or other machinery. It never occured to me that the directory name would be the nub of the problem.

This universe has countless zillions of programmer hours spent diagnosing problems like this.

By writing this one down I am doing my teeny weeny bit for progress. I aim to fractionally increase the chances of somebody else with the same problem getting a Google search hit before they spend the hour I just spent.

If we all do this kind of thing every day - factor it into our daily routines - the benefits will be disproportionatly positive for this profession and its ability to debug not only code, but itself.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A zen of Python moment

Today, I am working on a system that will be invoked like this:

    jython driver1.py build_parameters1.py

That one line pretty much sums up my Pythonic relationship with code and data these days.

Hint, an earlier incarnation of this system had:

    jython driver1.py build_parameters1.xml

3.6 GIG of whitespace

Peter Bengtsson has worked out that squeezing whitespace out of some CSS, JS and HTML can save 3.6 gig a month in bandwidth on busy Plone sites such as plone.org.

The downside of course is that the venerable tradition of "view source" as a way of promulgating knowledge about how things work becomes more challenging.

The nice thing about leaving white space and other stuff "as is" and using say, gzip compression is that you get to reconstitute the full human-oriented text if and when required.

Trading readability for bandwidth is a veritable two edged sword with more dimensions than a Philip Pullman novel.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Master Foo explains XML to aliens

Master Foo : 66.66% of XML's user base think mixed content is a form of snack food.

Indeed. The rest is here.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Jython WIKI watching

Watching the new and fantastically wonderful Jython WIKI ( Recent changes Feed URL here) is probably going to be a popular way of keeping up to date with Jython developments.

WIFI + Mobile Phone = ?

I'm back from a couple of weeks away in Mumbai/Pune, India and Nairobi, Kenya.

A big geek takeaway for me was the pervasiveness of both mobile phones and WIFI.

I cannot help feeling that some synthesis of these two is the real platform for billions of the world's people.

The other big geek takeaway is that computers are expensive everywhere. A sumptuous meal for 5 comes in at 40 dollars (at least 200 dollars in Ireland) but a desktop PC is about the same as it is in Ireland.