Friday, December 29, 2006

Fvyyl Indeed

Oh. My. God. I had no idea.

From now on, I shall only do pynff-based OO. Or BB, as it were.
#!/usr/bin/env python
#-*- coding: rot13 -*-

qrs whfg_n_fvyyl_rknzcyr():
cevag "Bu, ubj fvyyl guvf vf.".qrpbqr('rot13')

vs __anzr__ == '__main__':
Yes, it runs fine. Try it. (Note: in Vim you can use g? on selected text. Just so you know.)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It Didn't End at Betelgeuse

Since I'm not in space (well..), I guess my screams can be heard. Looking at this relative size comparison of celestial bodies, I find it quite sublime when Betelgeuse zooms into view. Then at the end, staring in disbelief at the Cephei gargantuans, I feel something of the numbness of overloaded awe.

By means of Wikipedia it seems at least the Cephei stars produce carbon at the end of their cycle. Then they will eventually fall into themselves becoming a very much present nil in space. Habitat of outer cephalopods and whatnot. Since they are carbon progenitors, such things were probably also our own primordial origin, sickenlingly long ago.

I like awe. Without it, how can one have a clue?

Oort To Got Itself Updated

Version 0.3.1 of Oort is out, with some fixes, cleanup and new stuff. See the release history for details. (Also, note that Oort now resides at

I've been using RDF a lot lately (in work with legal information for the swedish government), which gave me opportunity for more real-life testing of this toolkit. I hope you find it of value too.

The base technologies of Oort — RDFLib, Genshi and Paste — have gotten updates lately too. Be sure to check them out.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Scala Genau!

Scala. Having heard about it for a while (and since I already indulge some in functional programming language explorations from time to time), I decided to check it out a little closer. I saw some stuff on Google Video too. It looks pretty smart. Perhaps even so nice that stuff like Jython, JRuby, Rhino (js) and Groovy (how you doin'?) could seem a little less of an obvious "next step". (And I've been using Jython to alleviate the pains of Java The Language for years..) Now, that sentiment is likely a result of my recent interest in OCaml though, so take it with a pinch of salt. But if the main man behind it can use it to Pimp my Library, I mean.. sweet. And, oh, seriously.. If this doesn't sell it, I can't say what would:
Our P+R department has recommended we popularize our language with a charts-compatible techno-dance-trance song.
So they did: "Scala - genau!"

That made my Saturday.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Alas, There is No Escape

I ought to resign my other programming language explorations and let my sanity be sapped by this: Lovecraft.

Now, should there not be an abundant amount of semicolons in that language? And of course endless oneliners with meaning conveyed through arcane convolutions of expression; going on and on like some overzealously nested functional language programming style where the meaning must not be divided into parts for the sake of avoiding stilted repetition and unrythmic stanzas of short bursts of statements — or am I wrong perhaps, ignorant of the truth behind the veils and not knowing what I say to thee?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Of Mollusks and Gravity

Friday; high time for some Squid World Domination propaganda. Now, this article (about an elephant out of space — or not) doesn't mention them at all, but I for one am pretty sure of how a squid would deal with a black hole. Once in place at the center of the singularity (uhm), it would dwell for a while happily consuming this and that, then it would casually climb out again and continue its shambling stellar voyage. Due to its very nature, its apparent thermalization at the horizon could be interpreted just as clever camouflage, I guess. Or ink.

This brings to mind the epic battle between dark matter and dark energy. Although poised to win, dark energy will probably have a hard time evaporating space-time if these cosmic squid engage in opposition. They are the embodiment of prolonged composition in adverse environments. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if they were the original culprits at that primordial moment of proto-space-time when the Pleroma was torn apart and rendered into matter and whatnot. "That is not dead" etcetera. No wonder that some destruction-bent outer gods have a hard time getting along with these great old ones and their dreams of supremacy.

Disclaimer: this nonsense is not in any way intended to ridicule the aforementioned article. Information paradox and such is way fun too. It's probably also of great interest when discussing backup issues.

Addendum: it is still debatable whether the squid would climb out casually or if in effect it would climb out causally. Permutation aside, this would of course be of great consequence in determining how to pass judgement on the behaviour of these beings.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

From Curry to Caml

I think I've suspended/ditched my Haskell courtship for now. It was nice to bend my brain a little, but I just never saw that "oh, this is where I will use what's-its-name to great effect". I'm trying to be pragmatic when it comes to coding I guess (or just non-theoretic and impatient perhaps — still I keep calling myself a "holistic pragmatic"). Still looking for some functional fetish though, I went straight to OCaml. I must say that there is a definitive attraction.. I didn't see it the first time around (quickly scanning through parts of the unison code), but perhaps the excursion to Haskell brought me the mindset I needed to appreciate it more.

I find this tutorial quite nice, and with a decent amount of humor.

It's way too early to say how deep I will dive though. Maybe pycaml could be an interesting path to walk..

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lurking Beneath

Squid will have dominion of the earth one day. Unless they already do, hiding like spineless (but definitely not gutless) ancient gods down in the depths of the ocean.

Only seven meters, and that stare is probably just 'cause it's cold.

The enormous squid it appears!!

Humboldt Squids - *not* your friendly neighbourhood cephalopods.

I guess with all those arms you're bound to get it..

A classic.

Tiny beacons of hope? Or just some baby demons.

Strolling about with my new dress..

I guess a spine will only get you so far..

Not content staying on the ground?

I'm sure this fella wasn't on the planet yesterday.

Now make sure your tap is tightly closed; these things can get through pretty tiny pipes I guess. They're likely sending out evil dreams of worlds incomprehensible by telepathy too, so try to avoid the murkier parts of your nightmares..

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One Oort to RDF, o-dot-three

Another one hits the Dust.. feed. Uhm. Ok, seriously.. I just put up Oort 0.3, with some new stuff. Mainly a rudimentary template for Paste. And the switch from Kid to Genshi for templating.

I've also begun writing some kind of tutorial.. Like many others, I use dp.SyntaxHighlighter for the code samples (the Oort pages themselves are written in reStructuredText and assembled with the other stuff through Python and Genshi).

And the Oort pages are looking a tad bit better, I hope. ;)

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Web for the Cloud

Oort now has a location with some pages dedicated to it. And lo and behold, there's a logo as well!

There's even some interpretation.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Nightly Rewrites

After literally an all-nighter yesterday Oort 0.2 is now up for grabs. A very sparse example at that page will serve as a stand-in for a proper introduction for a while. After the cleanup mentioned earlier, I can finally toy with some operator overloading sugar (>> for now). There are some tests included now, and then there is the addition of RdfDisplay and JsonDisplay to remove the need for templates to carry out serialization of query results to those formats.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Within the Outer Space

While closures are very interesting and useful, they may be less of a wise tool when implementing an extendable toolkit. The first version of Oort used them extensively in the oort.rdfview package. My code was quite illegible and obviously a case of failing to be "clever". A more "properly dressed" class-based approach was (as I honestly felt even when I first stepped off the beaten path) evidently much more easy to maintain. Still, state change is less evident in the flat representation of a class, which doesn't give a structural hint of the intended temporal aspect. Using stuff like IllegalStateException doesn't alleviate this much at all (it's a "formally polite design" though). The impression of "loading" a state and bundling a nice nest of code to unfold at each state change is a quite powerful aspect of closures, I guess.

So I thought, let's do that in a somewhat declarative manner.. And thus I (just now) sketched up a way to declare a state change as an hierarchical closure nest which must be unfolded in the proper sequence:

class stateflow(object):
def __init__(self, start_func):
self.start_func = start_func
self.steps = []
def start(self, *args, **kw):
self._started = True
return self.start_func(*args, **kw)
def next(self, step_func):
def __getattr__(self, name):
return self.__dict__.get(name) or self._get_next(name)
def _get_next(self, name):
if not self._started:
raise BadStateError("Not started.")
step_func = self.steps[self._at_step]
if step_func.__name__ != name:
raise BadStateError("Must call %s before %s."
% (step_func.__name__, name))
self._at_step += 1
return step_func
def reset(self):
self._started = False
self._at_step = 0

class BadStateError(LookupError):

#== Let's test it ==

def query(database, subject):
def with_query_data(predicate):
def run_query(context):
return database[subject][predicate] % context

database = {'s': {'p': "value in %s"}}

query.start(database, 's')
assert query.run_query("context") == "value in context"

query.start(database, 's')
except BadStateError, mess:
assert str(mess) == "Must call with_query_data before run_query."
assert False

except BadStateError, mess:
assert str(mess) == "Not started."
assert False

Pretty interesting, I guess. Won't be putting that into my toolkit just yet though (if ever). So, dear closures, it was a nice experience, but I just have to let some of you go. Till next time, keep it simple!

(Oort 0.2 is on the way, by the by. I oort to create an introductory tutorial for it.. And a logo. Yes yes, of course; without a logo, what kind of a toolkit would it be?)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Programming Languages for Cineasts

  • C: Robert Duvall
  • C++: Jack Nicholson
  • Perl: Chuck Norris
  • Python: David Hasselhoff
  • Ruby: Jackie Chan
  • Java: Richard Gere
  • C#: Patrick Swayze
This list may be completely revised without prior notice.

.. I really need to sleep more at night. Sorry 'bout this. Or in the words of the nascent Darth Vader: Noooooooooo...

Whisky Pasting Space Clouds

My spirits somewhat rekindled by this nice presentation about WSGI, Paste and Pylons, I finally undertook the actually easy task of switching from CherryPy to a pure Paste-utilizing WSGI. Why? What? Last things first: Oort, as previously mentioned, is a little web toolkit for building RDF-driven web apps. It has a very specific scope, and thus the why-answer is: because it's better suited as a small WSGI-thing composable with whatever else you want to build legac* ehrm, regular web apps with. So go ahead and publish your RDF Graphs (I'm sure you have an abundance of them) with Oort, right among your other object branches in CherryPy, or mod_python, or among the URLs of a Pylons app, or whatever.

WSGI is a really neat thing, being so simple (to use) as it is. Same goes for RDF, in my opinion, but that's another rant. (A quite reoccurring one at that, if you happen to know me..)

Oh, where is Oort, you may ask? I finally put it up for display at the CheeseShop tonight. Like so many other things, it's alpha software and all. It is used for real work though. Next thing could be a little how-to (and why not a nice logo..).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I get a fuzzy feeling (with a dash of vertigo) when I look at Logix. For something managing to utterly violate many of the finer points of restriction that make Python programming resistant to cases of obfuscated cleverness, Logix is one of the coolest things I've seen lately (I guess I'm a year late to the party though). I've been doing some Ruby inquiries recently, to capture the finer things and evaluating my potential Python bias (while interesting, I see no reason to abandon my current favorite; still: YAR (Yet Another Rant)). I've also taken some time to look closer at Haskell, with some fun effects on my sleep cycle.

Although I might sometimes ponder if the Python syntax could be tweaked some to great effect, I often realise that I'm picking daisies instead of harvesting for the winter. Python is brutally straight-forward and effective as it is. Still, Logix is what I obviously overlooked when I saw Pluvo earlier this year and felt the lure of language experiments. Logix may be in a state of flux, but I really wish that it would prosper as somewhat of a hyper-intelligent, mind-boggling but brutally powerful layer on top of Python. If nothing else, it would give me and everyone else believing that this or that could be a better syntax for the job an easy way to test it. And possibly discover that it was a better syntax for a job, but perhaps not the right job. Still, Logix can definitely make declarative programming and design of DSLs a breeze. Or perhaps a tornado.

For a concise example, see this excellent article.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Think Outside The Box

I just realized it. The reason for the increasing popularity of dynamic languages may just be:

  • Some years ago, many developers sat in front of humongous 19" CRTs and about 1600x1200 or whatnot.

  • Nowadays, most of us sit with sleek notebooks with quite the lesser screen size and resolution.

Thus, it's much more of an annoyance that we have to scroll through rows and rows of boilerplate and wrapped lines of type declaration harnessing. It simply has to go.

(Nevermind productivity or the fact that these new tiny things pack enough CPU power to make DNA sequence processing a BLAST (pardon the pun).)

The Tenfold Error in Language Choice

Sometimes I just know I must have missed some convienience method..
static String makeEncodedValue(String value) {
try {
MessageDigest digester =
byte[] digest = digester.digest(

StringBuffer buf = new StringBuffer();
for (int i=0; i < digest.length; i++) {
int nValue = ((int) digest[i]) & 0xFF;
return buf.toString();
} catch (NoSuchAlgorithmException e) {
// ... must.. do.. error.. recovery..
return value;

import md5

def makeEncodedValue(value):
return md5.md5(value).hexdigest()

Time for coffee.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

All About the Package

I'm currently in the process of cleaning up and packaging Oort - a Python-based thingy used for making web apps driven by RDF graphs (there will be more where that comes from, rest assured).

Following is my little list of good starters when doing Python package development.

Most obvious: take a good look at setuptools (especially the concepts and usage of eggs, easy_install and pypi).

For testing, Nose is my one-stop-shop for now. Avoids the articificality of the xUnit-API; uses automatic discovery (with filtering); finds doctests if desired; uses if available.

It's probably always wise to follow the practises of the most modern and well-renowned packages. I think Paste is a good example of this.

The Dawn at Dusk

Really, getting my act together and start emitting random thoughts has been on my agenda for far too many years now. Perhaps I'll just do this here instead. We'll see.