The Best Articles from the Techie Blog

Articles, Rants, and Other Stuff

Every now and then I post a longer than usual entry to my Techie blog - or possibly one that's slightly more interesting than usual. Smile

As the blog grows, under the relentless onslaught of my posts and project updates, the good stuff tends to get buried. These are links to the best articles (etc) that have appeared on the Techie Blog.

For longer articles on programming, and a range of other subjects, visit the Articles Section.

  • wxPython in Action Review

    A review of the Manning book, wxPython in Action, by Robin Dunn and Noel Rappin.

    This book is a tutorial and reference manual to the excellent GUI toolkit wxPython.

  • Coding Style & Standards

    A summary of the coding style & standards I attempt to stick to when coding with Python.

  • The GPL License

    The GNU GPL license is a popular Open Source license, but it has many restrictions that alternative licenses don't. Does the use of this license harm the commercial uptake of Python, and also the prospects of your project being used ?

    See also a smaller blog entry, with some thoughts on the Commercial Benefits of Open Source.

  • Movable Python Review

    An English translation of the review of Movable Python that appeared in the German computer magazine c't.

    Thanks to Peter Otten for the translation.

  • The Joy of Programming

    Programming can be an emotional experience. Most of the emotions are frustration, despair and fear. Wink

    This article describes some of the feelings that will be recognised by all programmers, and how not to be taken in by them.

  • Transforming Values with ConfigObj.

    Using ConfigObj with validation can be an extremely powerful combination.

    configspecs allow you to fill in default values, check a config file for correctness and also convert values into expected types.

    At first glance the system can seem confusing, but this example shows how simple it is in practise and how easy it is to extend.

  • imp.find_module with py2exe

    The imp module doesn't understand the PEP302 importhook (which zipimport uses). Therefore, code which uses imp.find_module fails under py2exe. This is a hack that fixes the problem.

  • Running Modules Instead of Importing Them

    This is the code I use to support the -m command line option in Movable Python. The code is unlikely to be directly useful to anyone, but it is interesting as :

    • An example of extracting code objects from bytecode files
    • An example of searching sys.path for a module
    • An example of how to use the zipimport module
    • An example of using compile - note that you have to get rid of occurrences of \r\n and terminate with a \n
  • The Joys of Open Source

    The joys and trials of Open Source Software. Why I believe in Open Source and a discussion of how getting feedback and collaboration with your own software projects can be an almost impossible task.

  • Line Endings with Python

    I definitely made heavy weather of what ought to be a simple subject, but the normal approaches (splitlines(), open(filename, "rU") and open(filename).readlines()) don't work if your file might be UTF16 and you want to preserve the line endings used in the file.

    • Linendings Part I

      A description of the problem and a naive approach to solving it.

    • Linendings Part II

      A piece of code that will determine line endings based on the most commonly occurring ones in the text.

    • Linendings Part III

      A clearer summary of the problem, and the solution I finally chose.

  • Picking the Losing Technology

    A look at some of the technologies I've been involved with, and wondering out loud if Python is doomed to the same fate. Confused

  • My Toolbox

    A list of all the programs and tools that I use regularly. This is a mixed bag of Open Source, shareware and commercial. Mainly Open Source of course. Smile

  • File Locking

    A simple cross platform approach to file locking.

    This presents a solution to the problem of concurrent access to files. Is is an adapted version of a method first implemented by Guido van Rossum.

  • Guestbook Spam and DNS Blacklists

    How to use DNS blacklists, with Python. It's very easy, but possibly not as effective as you might hope.

  • Reply To *Damn* Useful

    A rant about mailing lists that aren't configured for replies to go the list.

  • Mapping and Sequence Type Protocols

    A discussion on a definition of the mapping type and sequence type protocols. (Or at least a suggestion of a definition).

    There is an update to this entry, which suggests a practical approach to telling the difference without making a more formal definition of the protocol : Duck Typing & Containers.

  • SEO What

    A rant about how writing content for search engines improves findability but harms readability. Writing content for humans improves readability - but harms findability.

  • Offline to Online

    A discussion on the paradigm shift happening to computer applications, caused by the internet. What will it mean for programs, when we can assume an always on connection ?

  • Social Bookmarking as Structure

    How social bookmarking tools (like are effectively structuring the internet.

  • Document Driven Design

    A small article on how documentation is an essential part of the (software) design process.

  • Movable Python CD

    A description of how to create a CD containing a Movable Python distribution, for use with VPython. This was originally posted to the edu-sig by a gentleman called Frank Noschese.

  • Stripping HTML Tags

    A recipe to strip html to plain text. It uses the htmldata module.

  • Google Cache Server

    A silly little recipe that uses the Google API. It's a proxy server for surfing the internet using the google cache. This can actually be useful if the site you're after is temporarily down - or you are subject to certain internet restrictions. Smile

You can read other blogs, and news on similar topics, over at Planet Voidspace. This is updated hourly, and has combined blogs on Cyberpunk, programming, humor and science.

For buying techie books, science fiction, computer hardware or the latest gadgets: visit The Voidspace Amazon Store.

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Last edited Tue Aug 2 00:51:32 2011.