PyMOTW: Python Module of the Week

I am starting a new series of posts today that I am calling “Python
Module of the Week” (PyMOTW)
. I have two goals for this:

  1. to work my way though the standard library and learn something about
    each module
  2. to get into the habit of posting to the blog more regularly

I will cheat a little, and start out with some modules that I already
know something about. Hopefully that will give me enough of a head-start
that I can keep up a fairly regular flow.

image0Subscribe to PyMOTW in your feed reader

Converting Python source to HTML

For my PyMOTW series, I have found that I want to convert a lot of
python source code to HTML. In a perfect world it would be easy for me
to produce pretty XML/HTML and use CSS, but it is not obvious how to use
CSS from Blogger. Instead, I am using a CLI app based on this ASPN
recipe
which produces HTML snippets that I can paste directly into a
new blog post. The output HTML is more verbose than I wanted, but I like
the fact that it has no external dependencies.

If you have any alternatives, I would appreciate hearing about them.

Distributing django applications

I had a report that version 1.2 of my codehosting package did not
include all of the required files. It turns out I messed up the setup.py
file and left out the templates, images, and CSS files. Oops.

In the process of trying to fix the setup file, I discovered that
distutils does not include package data in sdist. Not a big deal,
since I just created a MANIFEST.in file to get around it.

My next challenge (for this project) is how to write the templates in
a way that would let anyone actually reuse them. For example, the
project details page shows info about the most current release and a
complete release history. It uses a 2 column layout for that, but the
way I have it implemented the layout is defined in the base template for
my site. I want to move that layout from the site base template down
into the application base template, but I do not want to repeat myself
if I can avoid it. Maybe I need to get over that and just repeat the
layout instructions. Or refactor the site base template somehow.
Obviously that needs more thought. I did find some useful advice in
DosAndDontsForApplicationWriters, but have not implemented all of
those suggestions.

In the mean time, release 1.4 of codehosting is more flexible than the
previous releases and is probably closer to something useful for people
other than me.

[Updated 28 Sept 2007 to correct typo in title]

Things to Do

In no particular order:

  1. Cull my Google Reader subscriptions. 364 is too many.
  2. Finish reading Dreaming in Code.
  3. Add tagging support to codehosting.
  4. Verify all of the domains under my control with Google Web Master
    tools.
  5. Create a Trac plugin for code reviews based on the process we use
    at work.
  6. Change the monitor feeds on CastSampler.com so they do not include
    items without enclosures.
  7. Enhance BlogBackup to save enclosures and images linked from blog
    posts.
  8. Write a tool to convert an m3u file to an RSS/Atom feed for
    Patrick so he will set up a podcast of his demo recordings.
  9. Improve AppleScript support in Adium.
  10. Add support to Adium for notifications when a screen name appears in
    a chat message.

How NOT to Backup a Blogger Blog

Over at the Google Operating System blog, they offer a way to
“backup” your blog
. It is mostly a manual hack to load the entire blog
into one page in a web browser, then save the resulting HTML, though a
similar technique is offered for saving the contents of your XML feed.

There are a few problems with this technique:

  1. It depends on knowing how many posts are in the blog, up front.
  2. The steps and tools given are manual.
  3. Comments are handled separately.

A backup needs to be automated. If I have to remember to do something
by hand, it isn’t going to be done on a regular basis. I want to add to
my blog without worrying about how many posts there are and tweaking
some backup procedure that depends on knowing all about the content of
the blog up front. I want comments saved automatically along with each
post, not in one big lump. And if I need to import the data into a
database, I want the backup format to support parsing the data easily.

What to do?

Enter BlogBackup, the unimaginatively named, fully automatic,
backup software for your blog. Just point the command line tool at your
blog feed and a directory where the backup output should go. It will
automatically perform a full backup, including:

  1. Every blog post is saved to a separate file in an easily parsable
    format, including all of the meta-data provided by the feed
    (categories, tags, publish dates, author, etc.).
  2. Comments are saved in separate directories, organized around the post
    with which they are associated. Comments also include all of their
    meta-data.
  3. The content of blog posts and comments are copied to a separate text
    file for easy indexing by desktop search tools such as Spotlight.

Since the tool is a command line program, it is easy to automate with
cron or a similar scheduling tool. Since it is fully automatic and reads
the feed itself, you do not need to reconfigure it as your blog grows.
And the data is stored in a format which makes it easy to parse to load
into another database of some sort.

So, go forth and automate.

Hawk Wings and Mail Archiving

I’m a little behind on my reading, so I just noticed that Tim over at
Hawk Wings is linking to MailArchiveByDate. I guess that
explains the email I’ve received in the past few days asking for help.
:-)

Tim comments that my update notes for the 1.2 release don’t convey
much meaning. I looked, and sure enough, they aren’t end-user-ready
release notes. I’ll try again. The original version of the script asked
Mail for the current selection. That meant, if you triggered the action,
then changed the selection by clicking on the next message, the wrong
message might be archived. The new version uses the selection
information passed to the script as an argument, so it is more reliable.

That’s still not very interesting, unless you are writing your own
AppleScripts. Suffice to say, if you are planning to giving it a try,
download the most recent version posted.