The newsroom’s ally: Ally-Py

Software architect Gabriel Nistor talks to Trevor Parsons about Ally-Py, the new Free Software framework designed to get the most from web APIs.

Sourcefabric’s Superdesk enables news organisations to manage all of their newsroom activities, including planning, ingest, writing, publication and archiving. It is written in Python and released under GNU GPLv3. At the heart of Superdesk is the Ally-Py rapid development framework, built from the ground up to help media enterprises exploit the world of REST APIs.

Keep an Eye on Your GNU/Linux System with Glances

Looking for a no-nonsense command-line tool for monitoring your GNU/Linux system? Glances might be right up your alley. This neat little Python-based utility provides an overview of all key system aspects, including CPU load, disk storage, memory consumption, and network activity. More importantly, the utility does a good job of presenting monitored data in an easy-to-follow manner.

Python Scripting in Blender: A Piece of Pie - Part 1

Since script extensions are going to be a part of our toolchain on creating Lunatics, I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with how scripts are created and run in Blender. As a learning project, I decided to create a script for creating 3D pie charts from CSV data files. My first task is to write this for Blender 2.49 using the API for Python 2.6. This is the version documented in the Python Scripting book from Packt that I recently reviewed, so it's a good place for me to start.

Book Review: Annie's CS101 by Dmitry Zinoviev

The full title is "Annie's CS101, A Charting Approach to Computer Programming." This is an interesting approach to an introductory programming course -- the target is for younger learners (although not children), and it focuses on the thought process behind conceiving of a programming problem and solving it. The language of instruction is Python, although this is not really a Python book.

Book Review: Blender 2.49 Scripting

Python scripting in Blender seems like a natural interest for me, as I'm interested in both Blender and Python. I really enjoyed reading this book on the subject, and the examples were certainly interesting. However, there is one small problem that I didn't realize until after I had read it: Blender's Python API changed a lot in the major re-write that accompanied the transition from Blender 2.4x to 2.5x. This unfortunately is going to make this book dated a lot sooner than you might expect. So, while I do think it's a great book, I might have to recommend waiting for a version updated to Blender 2.5x.

My Quest for Free Licensed Japanese Pop Music with Wacca.Fm's XMLRPC API and Python's xmlrpclib

This is my story about searching for Japanese pop music under a free culture license. It's a little tricky, because the best sites for this are of course, in Japan, and not well advertised on the English web. I discovered how to use Python's XMLRPC library to run searches using the web API for a Japanese music sharing site called "Wacca". The results were very interesting -- I found some of what I was looking for, though not all.

Open Science and climategate: The IPCC/CRU needs to take a leaf out of CERN's Book

This is not the place to debate the immense subject of climate science but it is necessary to say something about "climategate" in order to explain what happens when scientists and politicians collude to distort, hide and even destroy critical (raw) data and methodologies which, unlike the output of CERN, have absolutely colossal financial implications for every man, woman and child on this planet.

Open messaging for the Open Web: Installing and configuring Mozilla Raindrop on Ubuntu 9.10

By the time you read this Karmic Koala will have been released to a waiting world, but I couldn't wait. A felicitous combination of a desire to do a distribution upgrade to the release candidate and a Twitter arriving on my laptop giving me a link to Raindrop kept me busy for the day. I was intrigued by Raindrop and having used other Mozilla lab experimental software I was determined to see what all the hype was about. If you like the idea of combining a tool for aggregating Twitter, e-mail, RSS and other social Web 2.0 stuff with free and open standards then read on.

Keeping score in test-driven development with Python, PyLint, unittest, doctest, and PyRate

Programming is more fun when you keep score. The extreme programming (XP) development model popularized the idea of test-driven development (TDD) with professional programmers in mind. But TDD turns out to be even more useful for lone amateur programmers, because it provides much needed motivation in the form of more visible rewards for your work. This is true even when simple test runners are used, but I decided to make things a little snappier by including a couple of other types of measurement and generating a "scorecard" for the present state and progress of my Python software projects. Here's how it works, and a download link for my script, which I call "PyRate".

Moving to an IDE for programming (Eclipse with PyDev)

In the past, I've always shied away from integrated development environments (IDEs), but I recently had a strong enough motivation to finally learn how to use Eclipse -- one of the most widely-used free software IDEs available today. Eclipse is known mainly as a Java IDE and it does require Java itself, but it is also a powerful and flexible multi-purpose platform, and adaptations exist for programming in many languages, including Java, C/C++, Lisp, and Python. Python support is available with an Eclipse package called "PyDev", and I have found it to be a big step up.

Becoming a free software developer, part V: When and where did you learn?

In my last article I talked about how interest leads people to program. Then life rose up behind me like a giant Doberman pincer and bit me on my backside; so, I didn't think of programming for over four months. However, just this week something happened that made me want to program again.

I was preparing to teach some students how to use dichotomous keys to identify organisms. Suddenly, while I was staring at a simple teaching key for identifying fruit, my eyes glazed over and I had a moment of clarity. I realized that I was looking at the basis of a very simple program.

Hotwire: a combined terminal/GUI for GNU/Linux

There is nothing more guaranteed to ignite a bad tempered, incandescent flame war that an outbreak of hostilities between the rival Gnome and KDE camps. Well, except perhaps a slanging match between the champions of the GUI and the command line. Enter stage left the compromise candidate which might just unite the warring factions: Hotwire.

Book Review: Professional Plone Development by Martin Aspeli

Plone is a well-known Content Management Systems (CMS). Since it's relatively easy to customize to a specific enterprises style and workflow, there is a healthy trade of services around the core software. Martin Aspeli, the book's author, is an active contributor to Plone. Heavy involvement in a project that you are writing about always bodes well for the potential value and quality of a book that you, the reader might be considering buying. Aspeli's book "Professional Plone Development", published by PACKT, proves this quality point once again.

Thrills, chills, and pictures from PyCON 2007

I’ve come back from day two of PyCON, exhausted and red-eyed, but also really excited. I’ve learned about several different ways to integrate C libraries into Python, including ctypes which, though an old library, has only entered the standard library in Python 2.5 (released earlier this year). I’ve heard the story of modern cyberpunk heros braving the wrath of the information police, patching code on the fly to evade the notice of the oppressive governments they are exposing for their censorship practices (that is so cool).

One Laptop Per Child kicks off PyCON 2007

This year’s Python Convention [1], being held this weekend in Dallas Texas, started off with an inspiring presentation by an engineer from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project [2] (Ivan Krstić) , showing off the hardware features of the new “OLPC XO 1" prototype, as well as some “dangerous ideas" about its software design: a large part of the user space code for the laptops will be implemented in Python, mainly because of the ease of manipulating the source code. The OLPC laptop software will be 100% free software, not just in principle, but in spirit as well—the assumption of open source design is literally built into the hardware.

Python conference 2007 starts tomorrow

To me, Python represents the quintessential free software programming language: its central design values are the ones that are most import for the free software community—clarity and pragmatism. Yes, I’m sure other people have their own pet languages, but Python is definitely my favorite.

Book review: Core Python Programming by Wesley J. Chun

Programmers and system administrators have many options when it comes to choosing a language to write scripts. One excellent choice is Python, a programming language designed to be easy to learn yet powerful enough to complete real-world tasks and requirements. Core Python Programming, 2nd Ed. by Wesley Chun and published by Prentice Hall is the text that will guide you through the Python language and integration with other applications and programming languages. Mr. Chun presents both basic and advanced Python topics in an excellent manner. If you are looking to brush up on or learn Python, Core Python Programming, 2nd Ed. is the one book you need.


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