Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks in Sep, 2007

Filters: Type: blogmark × Year: 2007 × Month: Sep ×

A CouchDB GUI front end. Written in C# and .NET. It looks like writing frontends for CouchDB could make an excellent project for learning a new GUI environment. # 12th September 2007, 11:59 pm

Paul Otlet described the “radiated library” in 1934. Beating Vannevar Bush in predicting something not unlike the Web by more than a decade. # 12th September 2007, 5:28 pm

£5 app. Monthly Brighton meetup for people interested in building (and maybe selling) lightweight software with 1-2 man teams. Nat and I went along last night and really enjoyed it. # 12th September 2007, 12:12 pm

Ways in Which iTunes’s Just-Released Official Ringtone Support Is Weird, Rude, and/or Just Plain Buggy. I’ve long been saying that the existence of a ringtone “industry” is a bug, not a feature. # 12th September 2007, 10:08 am

jQuery 1.2. Lots of neat new stuff; my favourite new feature is “Partial .load()” which lets you pull in HTML with Ajax and then use a CSS selector to grab a subset of that page and inject it in to the DOM. # 11th September 2007, 8:44 am

Styling File Inputs with CSS and the DOM. Clever hack to style the un-stylable: set the opacity of the file input to 0, then use a bit of JavaScript to make sure the (now invisible) browse button is always under the mouse. # 10th September 2007, 11:58 pm

The Tale of the Mechanical Virus. “What I had discovered, in essence, was a mechanical virus. It infects Mac laptops and speads via the DVI adapters.”—I really hope this isn’t why my DVI adapter is on the blink. # 9th September 2007, 12:11 pm

Building the Social Web with OpenID. Slides from my keynote at yesterday’s PyCon UK. # 9th September 2007, 12:36 am

django-sphinx (via) More code from Curse Gaming; this time a really nice API for adding Sphinx full-text search to a Django model. # 9th September 2007, 12:35 am

wikimarkup (via) “MediaWiki markup in Python”. I’ve always suspected that MediaWiki was like Perl; the only thing that can parse MediaWiki is MediaWiki. Not sure how faithful this Python port is but I’d love my theory to be proved wrong. # 9th September 2007, 12:33 am

Advanced Django. Slides from my hour long tutorial at PyCon UK this morning. Most of the material was adapted from OSCON, but I also added a new section covering newforms. # 8th September 2007, 1 pm

Google Maps API gets clickable polylines and polygons. Interesting explanation of how they optimised calculating the distance to the nearest point on a polyline. # 8th September 2007, 12:58 pm

Corrupt countries were more likely to support the OOXML document format. “We used the 2006 CPI index (Corruption Perceptions Index) as a measure of corruption.”—a statistical study by Electronic Frontier Finland. # 7th September 2007, 11:30 pm

Protoscript (via) JavaScript tool designed for easy prototyping of JS interactions; powered by YUI and jQuery. # 7th September 2007, 10:55 pm

HTTPOnly cookie support in Firefox. Five years after the bug was filed, HTTPOnly cookie support has gone in to the Mozilla 1.8 branch. This is a defence in depth feature that has been in IE for years—it lets you set cookies that aren’t available to JavaScript, and hence can’t be hijacked in the event of an XSS flaw. # 6th September 2007, 6:27 am

Opera 9.5 (Kestrel). The latest Opera alpha includes a bunch of CSS3 features (including an almost full implementation of CSS3 Selectors) as well as the ability to use SVG for scalable background images. # 4th September 2007, 10:49 am

Django on Jython: What I’ve done until now. It’s not quite there yet (the new Jython is Python 2.2 with a few 2.3 features; Django requires 2.3 at least) but it’s looking pretty promising. # 4th September 2007, 2:53 am

Primary & Secondary Actions in Web Forms. Fascinating results from an eye tracking study on the placement of “Submit” and “Cancel” buttons—one layout was a whole six seconds slower than the others. Luke Wroblewski’s “Web Form Design Best Practices” book looks like it will be excellent. # 4th September 2007, 2:52 am

CouchDb: Some Context. CouchDb developer Jan Lehnardt wrote up detailed notes on slides from a presentation he gave back in June, explaining most of what’s interesting about CouchDb (although without the new JavaScript function query language). # 4th September 2007, 2:31 am

Imaginary numbers. “We would like to back up our survey with an equation from an expert to work out which celebrity has the sexiest walk, with theory behind it”—Ben Goldacre provides inside information on how PR firms invent science to back up their campaigns. # 3rd September 2007, 6:22 pm

Amazon EC2 Basics For Python Programmers. Detailed introduction and tutorial from James Gardner. # 3rd September 2007, 6:20 pm

How much is that standard in the window, the one with the lovely tale? “The real loser in this could be ISO’s reputation itself.” Simon Wardley summarises the embarrassing shenanigans surrounding ISO’s rubber stamping of Microsoft’s OOXML. # 3rd September 2007, 4:49 pm

CouchDB: Thinking beyond the RDBMS. CouchDB is a fascinating project—an Erlang powered non-relational database with a JSON API that lets you define “views” (really computed tables) based on JavaScript functions that execute using map/reduce. Damien Katz, the main developer currently works for MySQL and used to work on Lotus Notes. # 3rd September 2007, 9:48 am

Freebase developer documentation. The JSON API and particularly the query language are fascinating. # 3rd September 2007, 2:38 am

Freebase. Out of closed beta, although you still need an invite code to contribute. I hope they drop the JavaScript requirement for viewing content on the site. # 3rd September 2007, 2:35 am

Obviously, it’s not Obvious. “It was obvious to us that FeedBurner was a very powerful concept around which an ecosystem could flourish. It wasn’t obvious to most other people until they actually saw several examples of people using FeedBurner in powerful ways.” # 3rd September 2007, 2:09 am

calendar.timegm() (via) An “unrelated but handy function” that converts a time.gmtime() in to a corresponding Unix timestamp. I’ve been hand-rolling this one for years; never thought to look in calendar. # 3rd September 2007, 1:54 am

It Is Estimated That NBC Could Not Have Screwed This iTunes Thing Up Any Worse. NBC’s request that Apple “stiffen anti-piracy provisions” is down-right scary. # 3rd September 2007, 1:42 am

Sam Ruby: 2to3. Sam’s report on an attempt to port the Universal Feed Parser to Python 3.0. The 2to3 tool does most of the work, but it seems the unicode changes can be pretty tricky. # 3rd September 2007, 1:38 am

Django vs feedparser on dates. Some useful tips in the comments. I find Python’s timezone stuff endlessly frustrating: I know it can do what I want, but it always takes me a ridiculously long time to figure out the necessary incantations. # 2nd September 2007, 10:17 am