Month: October 2002

  • Richard Caetano:

    I posted some snap shots of my NUnit setup.


  • I don’t understand why a Pentium 133 notebook still costs hundreds of dollars.

  • Paul Evans on Dealing with User Input in Python:

    You probably won’t be using Python long before writing a program which needs user input. As a wide-eyed, innocent new Python programmer, you may naively expect that you can simply ask users for input and they will just give it to you….[via trick-or-treat into mark]

  • Charles Miller:

    Dear Sun. By your own coding conventions, it should be arrayCopy, not arraycopy. Bastards.

  • has a nice list of free web services.  Cape Science also has a list of services that they offer. also has a listing of services.  I want more.  I want a minimalistic CSS-driven portal that will link to free or more importantly “open” services.  I might have to get off my butt on this one.

  • Some free to use web services that I’ve played with this evening include Web Services Tip of the Day:

    Another favorite is xmethods’ Weather Temp service, tho it’s for testing only:

    It’s a bit nippy here in Maryland right now.  The name TemperatureXP comes from a vb class I took.  I named every program that I turned in WhateverApplicationXP and it kept me amused.

  • The Need for Open (Web) Services

    I’ve been looking around the xmethods website looking for web services to interface in VB.NET.  There are a few test services, such as the temperature service, but not a whole lot that you can use in a production environment.  This made me think about what the BSD/Linux/Open Source solution to web services might be: open services.

    Open Services might be something trivial, such as a weather service, stock ticker, or similar service, or it might be something more complex.  A provider of an Open Service would (perhaps) unleash the service on the world in an open fashion.  He or she might release source code to the service in BSD or *GPL, or they might keep the source private.  What they might do next is taking things to their logical conclusion: have a web service running somewhere that is publicly accessible, and point to it for all to use free of charge.

    This might not make sense in an economical way, (some would argue that open source software doesn’t make any sense either), but what’s stopping people from doing it anyway?  It could be a box in a dorm room, a server connected to cable or dsl, or some spare bandwidth on a colocated box somewhere.

    I’d love to see open source software and web services converge.  Who knows if it’ll happen.  I’ll try to do my part and set up a box, create some services, and unleash them on the world.  Perhaps we need a web site to point to these Open Services.  Perhaps we need an Open Service License (OSL?).  Maybe we need several (GPL-style OSL, BSD-style OSL, etc)  I’ll do my best to gather things together in the next couple of days.  Looking at the list of web services at xmethods, it appears that many of the published services are homegrown.  What’s the next step?

    I’d love to hear what people think about this.

  • Richard Caetano on unit tests:

    “Unit tests. There’s nothing like doing drastic refactoring to the implementation of a class when you trust the unit tests to be solid. It’s so much easier. [Jon Shute’s Weblog]  Yes!! That’s the key.” [Sam Gentile]

    I concur with that statement!  I must admit, I have been half hearted with my unit test attempts in the past.  Mainly because I haven’t put the time into arranging the pieces to make it happen.  But with my last project, one that involves multi-threading, I went in with both feet.  Do you know what I found?  I found I was able to move along much faster.  I felt confident with my code.  The code was better organized because when I wrote my tests the organization of code was centered around “units”.  I used NUnit 2.0 and setup my VS.NET project with two targets one that ran the unit test and the other that ran my code in user mode.  I’m on my way to finishing this project but I can say that I will be using unit tests a lot more in the future.

  • Leo Laporte:

    There’s nothing more depressing than a luxury leather interior with burl wood accents that is totally immobilized.

  • John Robb:

    Chris Heilman has an interesting weblog.  Better living through constant reference to the periodic table.  Also, an interesting expiriment fermenting raisins.

    I don’t know what to say, other than subscribed.  It’s like a train wreck, I can’t help it.

  • RPC::XML 0.45 is out.  RPC::XML is a Perl module implementing XML-RPC.  As with most lightweight XML-RPC implementations, creating a server is just a few lines:

    require RPC::XML;
    require RPC::XML::Client;
    $cli = RPC::XML::Client->new(‘url_to_service’);

  • Linux Magazine covers web services with Apache Axis.  Here’s a teaser:

    If you’ve invested heavily in the Web — dynamic content, personalized Web pages, extensive browser scripting, and site security — you might be wondering if Web services are even necessary for your business. After all, your Web presence probably didn’t come cheap (even if you used Linux and open source tools), and it meets all of your needs. After all, you say, interoperability is not a new ideal, and the features espoused by Web services are not revolutionary. So why adopt yet another technology?

  • OSDir interviews Bram Moolenaar (of VIM fame) about his newest project, A-A-P.  A-A-P (or aap).

    Bram Moolenaar: This is going to be a long answer, since A-A-P includes so much. Assuming that you know the “make” program, I can say that the core item of A-A-P is kind of a super-make. You can write a recipe and execute it with the “aap” program. The recipe contains variable settings and dependencies like a Makefile. So far no surprises, even the syntax is almost the same. Then add to that the power of Python script. This mixes with Makefile syntax very well, the comments start with a ‘#’ and indents are used to form blocks of commands. And then add a number of commands that allow you to access the internet, perform CVS functions and much more.

    Kinda like Ant for the rest of the world?

  • The Register:

    The next planned release of Borland Software Corp’s Kylix cross-platform development suite could bring Microsoft-style web services to Linux, helping consolidate the product’s early market lead, writes Gavin Clarke.

    Scotts Valley, California-based Borland is investigating use of Ximian Inc’s Project Mono in Kylix, as a possible means for Windows developers to move .NET applications to Linux. Mono is an open-source implementation of .NET libraries and other technologies developed by Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp.

    Borland stressed its work is at an exploratory stage, but told ComputerWire Mono potentially provides a set of components and frameworks that Windows developers can easily map to.

    I had mono once, I never knew it could be a good thing.  This sounds like a cool project.  I’d love to right click and ‘add web reference,’ though I’d probably rather do it in Eclipse. [via Newsforge]

  • The Washington Post/Ellen McCarthy this morning repots about a dorm room specially decked out for current and future CEOs:

    For a certain period in the 1990s, dorm-room dot-coms were all the rage. The most prominent examples, Yahoo and Google, both started by Stanford University students in dormitories and campus trailers, rocketed to stardom and riches, fueling the dreams of many others.

    When the technology boom went bust, those dreams seemed to die, too. But rather than disregard the ambitions of its entrepreneurial students, the University of Maryland is encouraging them with the kind of amenities that earlier students could only dream about.

    Cool dorms.  Is this nurturing a whole new era of dot bombs?  I hope not.

  • OSX-x86?  OSX-x86-64?

    Kenneth Hunt ponders if Apple will go x86.  While this is an incredibly cool idea (I’d love to run OSX on an x86 box), it probably won’t happen in the short term.  I say this because developers are still cursing Apple for the abrupt (and possibly premature) switch to OSX.  I believe that the OSX Public Beta should have been an internal alpha, OSX 10.0 should have been the public beta, and that OSX 10.0.1 should have been the final product.  I know that doesn’t mesh with Steve Jobs’ vision of getting OSX out there, but OSX 10.0 was dog slow and didn’t do a lot of things that users expected it to.

    Things got a little better with OSX10.1.  A lot of developers that were waiting for a stable development platform that they could actually use started coding at this point.  How long did it take Adobe to get Photoshop ported to OSX?  Just about forever.

    Now, imagine taking those pissed-off developers, and saying in six months to a year, “Um, yeah, we need you to port all of your apps over to OSX-x86.”  I doubt it would go over very well.  Unless you ran native Windows apps, but that would be insane.

    The other reason I don’t see Apple going x86 is the hardware.  X86 hardware is commodity.  You can put together a fairly decent system for a couple hundred bucks.  This doesn’t quite mesh with Apple’s overpriced (but cool as hell) hardware.  If you look at a $700 dell and a $1500 x86 Macintosh, the specs are nearly the same, which one are you going to pick now?

    The other thing that bothers me is IBM’s recent PowerPC innovations.  They appear to have pumped out some pretty powerful chips, with a good bit of MHz and a lot of raw horsepower.  Why not throw those in a Macintosh?

    I’m not as caught up with all the mac rumor sites as I’d like to be (it was more fun when I worked in a Mac shop), but I have a gut feeling that Apple will stick with PowerPC, at least in the short to mid term.  Though, like Kenneth said, if project Marklar (OSX on x86) does exist, I’d probably go for it.

  • Jeremy Zawodny:

    This is a little funny. Yahoo got slashdotted today. It was because of Michael Radwin’s PHPCon 2002 talk on Yahoo adopting PHP. The funny thing is that it held up just fine–served by a single FreeBSD server running Apache. The hardware was nothing special. So, why is it that when most sites get “featured” on Slashdot, they crumble?

    They generally have two fatal flaws: (1) not enough bandwidth, and (2) dynamic content. We’re fortunate enough to have some excellent network connectivity, so we can handle a lot of traffic. The fact that was serving static files, no PHP or anything fancy, meant that the CPU had time to spare. During the peak of traffic, the CPU was still over 50% idle much of the time. Running a tail -f against the apache log was quite amusing. It was scrolling really, really fast.

    It was cool to see this get slashdotted after hearing reports from PHPCon from Jeremy.  I thumbed through most of the slides and wished that I had been there.  As a daily (hourly, but only if their RSS has updated) Slashdot reader, I rarely look at the comments for much more than freebsd is dead/linux rules and other mindless droll.  Every once in awhile there’s an intelligent comment, but it’s hard to filter out the gems from the garbage, as something intelligent can be +1 while misinformation can be +5, Informative.

    Slashdot is more like another (geeky) news aggregator in addition to my RSS tendrils.

  • The Mars Network Monitor is a cool little utility to give sort of a heads-up display of your servers.  Here’s how the project is described:

    Mars is a simple services-oriented network status monitor written in Java. It monitors a network by simulating client connections to Internet services and reporting when those services are not responding. It is quick and easy to install and configure, which distinguishes it from other, more complex, more fully-featured network monitoring tools.

    It looks useful, from the screenshot, the UI looks very clean.

  • Kenneth Hunt is watching the watchers.

  • Hello, SOAP!

    Yeah, yeah, another hello world app.  I just thought I’d share exactly how darn easy it is to use web services in VB .NET.  I started a new project, added a web reference, then inserted a few lines of code, and I’m talkin’ SOAP with a Hello World webservice I put up a little while ago.  I just added this in btnGo_Click():

    ‘ Here we go
    Dim ws As New net.eraserver.dev1.www.Service1()
    ‘ Change that textbox
    Me.txtConsole.Text = ws.HelloWorld()

    It was just that easy.  Of course a VB Client at learnXmlws showed me exactly how easy it was.  Eraserver is currently hosting my web services playground.  For some reason, the local IIS doesn’t want to play nice with .asmx files.