Noel Rappin Writes Here

2006

Playing in the Sandbox

This message showed up in the Manning Sandbox forum for wxPython In Action. After saying some nice things about the book, the poster has some suggestions: I would love to see an advanced volume covering topics such as XRC, using XML to define a screen layout; creating custom widgets… internationalization, and a full chapter or more expanding on chapter 5 “Creating your blueprint.” I find that… program organization is most important yet little seems to be written about it, for any programming language….

GWT Article Now Online

I’m happy to announce that Part One of my four part series on using Google Web Toolkit is now available at: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/library/os-ad-gwt1/ This part focuses on creating a GUI front-end using GWT. In case you wonder about the lead time on these things, it was originally written in August, and slightly updated right before it was published. I think that the future part of the series will appear monthly. The next one is about using the Derby database as your back-end.

Don't Ask Questions, It Only Encourages Him

Let me promote this from the comment section – it’s not hard to find, it’s the only comment on the previous post. What is your favorite Python IDE? Your editor choices are interesting and valid but I wondered if you have a preffered IDE for Python and wxPython work? I may have covered this somewhere, either on this site, or in the Python 411 podcast interview. If so, I’m sorry.

Editors I Like

Two tools I use all the time. Neither is free, and since my strong bias is to use free tools where possible, these are some really impressive editors. IntelliJ IDEA For all my Java needs. It’s got more features and is more usable than any other Java IDE out there. The only downsides are that it’s not free, and there are about a half-dozen keyboard shortcuts you have to get down before you achieve anything like full Zen mastery (well, and it could be nicer about the way it arranges tabs in the editor).

Less Frequently Asked Questions

Hi. Miss me? Thought not. Well, I’ve been feeling increasingly guilty about not posting something here, especially as the comments continue to trickle in – we’re up to eight now that I’ve cleared off some comment spam! I’m going to boldly ignore the three partially written posts and do another round of publishing questions. How’s the wxPython book selling? Not bad. Got my first-ever royalty check a couple of weeks ago (actually, a royalty direct deposit).

Now with sound

Robin Dunn and I were interviewed for Ron Stevens’ excellent Python 411 podcast – you can download and listen to the .mp3 file here. It’s about 45 minutes long, which should mean that Ron used nearly all of the interview. Hope you like it. It was a lot of fun to do. Thanks again to Ron for having us on, and also for the very nice review of the book he wrote on Slashdot.

wxWorld

I’m pleased to be able to link to a new article: Build cross-platform GUIs using wxWidgets available on the IBM developerWorks site. The original title was “wxWorld”, and it’s a quick look at wxPython, the wxWidgets toolkit, and some of the other wxWidgets language bindings. I had some fun digging through the different language tools trying to create short wx programs in each. Hope you like it.

Tips-First for Test-First

Of all the exciting ideas and revelations that came from Kent Beck’s original XP book, Test-First Programming has been the one that most significantly affected the way I work on a day-to-day basis. I love programming test-first. It’s a great way to take a large, amorphous task and solve it piece by piece. It’s also a nice morale boost – “Hey, I know that my code does nine things. Let’s go for ten…”

Why, Johnny, Why?

We interrupt Python week to bring you the following alternative programming rant. I know, Python week has sort of gone up in smoke. But one of our mottoes here is “Whenever a Hugo Award winning SF novelist writes a hyperbolic screed about BASIC in the public schools, 10 Print Hello will be there”. As a motto, it’s not very catchy. We’re working on it. As soon as I mentioned “Hugo Award winner”, “BASIC” and “hyperbolic screed” many of you were probably able to quickly deduce that the author is David Brin, here on Salon wondering what happened to BASIC (you’ll have to watch an ad to view the article):

Obligatory Apple Post

Since what every tech blog reader needs is another round up of Apple’s Showtime event… Overall, nice incremental stuff, perhaps a little disappointing to those who were expecting a radical new mainline iPod. New Shuffle: This is getting close to being jewelry, actually is starting to look like a cufflink to me. New Nano: Smaller, bigger drive, better battery life, colors. Solid incremental upgrade. New iPod: A very small incremental upgrade.

Re-refactoring

Here’s a little riff inspired by one of the examples in Martin Fowler’s book Refactoring, which is another great programming book that deserves an appreciation post one of these days. This was actually also spawned by code that I’ve read, and later realized that Fowler did a similar example. Thing is, I don’t think Fowler went far enough in this case. Here’s the example. (page 243 for those of you playing the home game).

Some 411 of my own

Saturday, Robin and I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Ron Stephens for the excellent Python 411 podcast. I think this was the first time I’ve ever been interviewed for anything, and while it’s always fun to talk about Python, the book, and me (not necessarily in that order), it does take some getting used to. Anyway, I do mention this here blog during the interview, and while I don’t want to talk about the actual interview in detail until I hear the edited version, it did occur to me that I might want to have some actual Python content on board in case anybody comes by to check the place out.

Hybrids In Bloom

A couple of big stories in the wide world of scripting languages running on virtual machine platforms. IronPython, the .NET implementation of Python created by Jython creator Jim Hugunin, released version 1.0. The two primary developers of the JRuby project, implementing a Java-based Ruby interpreter, were hired by Sun with the mandate to bring JRuby to 1.0. Unsurprisingly, I think this is all great. Programming hybrids are a beautiful thing.

I/O, I/O, It's Off To Work I Go

Welcome to our program, Things I Agree With Totally And Wish I Had Said First. Our hero tonight is Tim Ottinger with his hit, “Frameworks are for the Impatient". It seems Ottinger is puzzled by a library he’s trying to use.. Look, this framework is not the game Myst. I did not install this thing so that I could amuse myself for days by running around the file system trying to figure out what it is about…

Fonts

I’m curious – how do you set up your screen in your text editor when you are programming? Based on people I’ve worked with, I seem to do two things in my setup that are unusual. I use fairly large fonts (16-18 point, if I can) and I’m aggressive about cutting off lines at 80 characters. The upshot is that I’m showing less text on the screen at a time than most programmers I know.

Web Apps and Language Wars

I wasn’t planning on posting about either web apps or linking to Joel Spolsky again, but this language wars post is just too interesting to pass up. Besides, a jillion people have already commented on this, so what’s a jillion and one? Spolsky is riffing on what language or platform you should use for an enterprise web project. He makes a few points (note, I’m paraphrasing him here – these are his points, not mine):

Java Closures

Here’s a nice item being proposed for Java 1.7: closures in Java. On behalf of all those people who actually do create entire classes just to be able to use map and other functional styles in Java, may I say, please, please, please put this in Java. (This seems a good place to link to Joel Spolsky’s wonderful programming fable “Can Your Programming Language Do This"). The proposed syntax looks like this:

Languages I Use

Continuing in the getting to know you kind of vein, I thought I’d ground some of what I say by talking about the three programming languages that have made up the bulk of my professional and hobby work for the past five years or so – Java, Python, and Ruby. Java: I’ve been programming Java since either just before or just after the 1.0 release… can’t quite remember at this point.

Code Complete: An Appreciation

It’s been about 25 years since I first typed 10 PRINT “HELLO”, and in that time I’ve read dozens of books aimed at making me better at creating software. There are several things I want to do with this site, but certainly one of them is to recognize those books that had a particularly strong impact on my professional career. The first one is Code Complete, by Steve McConnell. It stands out on the shelf because it’s not about learning a new language, tool, or discipline, and it’s not a big picture rethinking of software engineering itself.

Occasionally Asked Questions

I wouldn’t say it happens often, but I do sometimes get asked some questions about being a technical author. Seemed like a good place to start. For a long time, the most common question was Did you pick the animal on the cover of the Jython book? The answer is no. The cover animals are picked by the O’Reilly production team, and the mechanism they use for assigning animals to books is somewhat mystical.

Copyright 2022 Noel Rappin