Simon Willison’s Weblog


Wednesday, 24th July 2002


I’ve been trying to get my head around Topic Maps, a powerful but complex standard for building intricate networks of metadata. I couldn’t even begin to describe them myself but the following resources have proved very useful:

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Windows SSL support in Python

Adding SSL support to Python on Windows is as easy as dropping a couple of DLLs and a .pyd file in to your Python DLLs directory. Grab the zip file from this page and off you go. I haven’t tried it out yet but it appears to work—the socket.ssl function miraculously appeared when I installed the new files. Why is this useful? Because it opens the way for secure XML-RPC calls from Python applications...

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Instant PHP Web Services

XML-RPC Class Server is a really clever piece of code. It consists of a single file which you can drop in a directory full of PHP .class.php files to instantly provide an XML-RPC interface to every class in the directory. Private methods that begin with an underscore are not included in the web service. Unfortunately the system requires PHP’s XML-RPC extensions to be enabled.

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PHP object overloading

I’m not sure how this one snuck under the radar, but PHP now supports object overloading (as of version 4.2.0). It can be implemented by creating class methods __set(), __get() and __call() and then applying the new overload() function to the class name. The documentation claims that __call() is not yet supported but is apparently out of date. Standard warnings about the experimental and unfrozen nature of the extension apply.

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Random links with Google

Paul Freeman has come up with new use for the Google API—generating random links. The idea is simple but effective—a random theme is selected and searched for (via pygoogle), then another search is run on the title of one of the top ten results to return a random link and description.

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