Simon Willison’s Weblog


Friday, 5th September 2003

Thunderbird 0.2

Thunderbird has to have the most deceiving version numbers of any software I’ve ever used. I avoided version 0.1 for ages because I incorrectly assumed that a 0.1 release shouldn’t be trusted with my email. I’ve just upgraded from 0.1 to the new 0.2 and a good product has got even better—it’s noticably faster and more responsive and they’ve knocked 1.5MB off the size of installer. I love the new direction the Mozilla organisation have been taking with their focus on separate applications; I wonder if we’ll be seeing a spin off of Composer any time soon.

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I guess I should hand in my passport

An example Britishness test based on proposals by the home office for a written test for immigrants applying for citizenship. I got 3 out of 10! (via Simon Brunning).

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Python Client Libraries

Three really useful looking Python modules: ClientForm, ClientTable and ClientCookie. ClientForm looks like it provides similar functionality to the form handling part of the WWW::Mechanize perl module, discussed previously. It essentially provides a very simple interface for loading an HTML page, parsing out the form information then filling in the form and submitting it back to the server. The author recommends it for automated testing (I’ve always had trouble figuring out how to link unit testing in to web applications) but I’m sure it could be useful for screen scraping tools as well. ClientTable is an early beta of a powerful looking table parser, and ClientCookie sits on top of the standard urllib library and transparently persists cookies in between requests.

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Installing PySQLite

Techno Weenie has a detailed guide to setting up PySQLite on boxes you don’t have root access to. SQLite looks ideal for small to medium sized applications so I can see this being really useful should I ever write something that uses it.

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Russ Weakley’s Listamatic borrows a whole bunch of fun CSS list effects from around the web and shows how they can be applied to the same markup to produce a large range of different results.

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2003 » September