Tag Archives | MySQL

Developers, developers, developers song gets covered again

We all know the answer is “Developers, developers, developers, developers,” but who’s asking the question these days? It seems like Sun has taken up the song, according to Timothy M. O’Brien’s posting over at O’Reilly, “Surprising Contender: NetBeans as a Ruby+MySQL IDE.” Great news for all of us looking for new tools; NetBeans is shaping up to be a pretty sharp IDE.

I saw a blog post recently and neglected to bookmark it that posited the thesis that rich IDEs were bad when learning a language. A simple text editor and console can be all the interface you might need when when starting off and as your skills increased, the need for code completion, cross-referencing, inline debugging, source code control, refactoring and macros all became more valuable. Witness the training videos on http://www.rubyonrails.org where developers use a browser, a console window and the Textmate editor to build sample applications. The simplicity is appealing.

Hentzenwerke Moving from Windows to Linux

MySQL-VFP book cover Followers of the Hentzenwerke Publishing empire know that Whil Hentzen has the largest catalog of Visual FoxPro books and an impressive collection of books bridging the gap from the Windows world into the Linux/Free/Open Source world. Whil’s been working for quite some time to put together a book on working with VFP and back-end data servers other than SQL Server. I was one of the many community members who contributed comments, criticisms and ideas to the book, and was honored when Whil chose to designate me as technical editor. Whil Hentzen announces, MySQL Client-Server Applications with Visual FoxPro now on sale:

After far too long a wait, the eagerly awaited companion to our Client/Server Apps with VFP and SQL Server book from years ago is here. The brand new 414 page MySQL Client-Server Applications with Visual FoxPro covers Client-Server apps from the perspective of the hugely popular open-source SQL database, MySQL. Learn how to install, configure MySQL and then connect specifically with VFP. Then get your hands dirty bringing data – both flat files and DBFs – into MySQL databases. Build a variety of user interfaces. Learn about development and deployment scenarios with this multi-platform backend. Each step of the way, real world problems (‘What if the connection fails?’) and potential solutions will be discussed.

The book is on sale only for a short period. Get your copy now!

PySIG, 22-March-2007: Project Night

An even dozen people showed up for the Python Special Interest Groups March meeting, held as usual at the Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester, NH.

Bill Sconce called us to order promptly at 7 PM and we proceeded through the printed agenda. It was duly noted the Ben Scott deserved heckling despite his absence. We ran through announcements of a couple of upcoming meetings, plugging the MythTV installfest beta and pointing out Jarod’s book. We mentioned meetings upcoming for the LUGs, including ZFS at DLSLUG, LVM at CentraLUG and the new Ruby group.

Kent’s Korner: Kent S. Johnson presented his month talk, this month on list comprehensions. Kent had a great handout, and has collected his past couple of handouts in one place. Starting with simple examples and building in complexity, Kent lead us through what can be an intimidating topic in a way most couple follow. Some great discussions, on-topic and off-, regarding assignment and Python idioms, always make this a fun part of the meeting.

There was some discussion of Python 3000 and its expected schedule. Bill Sconce had a video of Guido practicing his Py3K presentation in front of an audience at Google, which he went on to present at PyCon.

For the Gotcha of the month, Bill Freeman offered up an “Un-Gotcha:” a=b=4 works, but not for the reason you might think. Assignments of this style in C have a different underlying meaning, and perhaps in some circumstances, different side effects. A key to understanding the single = assignment in Python is to understand that it is a STATEMENT. There is no value associated with the statement and “chained” assignments in Python like the above are specially-coded as an exception case. This lead to yet another great discussion.

Ric Werme showed off the web pages that result from his Python software that collects and forwards weather data from his weather station. His current conditions page, http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wx/current.html has links to everything else. Ric bought the weather station in part to have an excuse to write more Python code, and his current code runs the gamut from implementing the weather station protocol through pyserial.py and the serial port to CGI scripts that take data requests, fetches the data from MySQL, creates gnuplot data files that create .gif files, and returns a HTML page to display the results. His description of the software is at http://werme.8m.net/wx/vantage_software.html .

Ric also demonstrated a Python cgi script for collecting data for a weather observers group that Todd Gross created while he was WHDH. It’s customizable, so people can create a form preloaded with their location that offer just the data they collect, and the submission code adds it to a MySQL database and recreates a web page of members reports over the previous day.

Shawn O’Shea showed off Python running in the Win32 and COM environments. Shawn does a lot of work administering and automating Windows configurations, and the COM set of interfaces can allow a lot of internal manipulation of the major applications, a big step up from the VBScripts supplied by Microsoft with some of the tools. Shawn demonstrated the canonical Hello, World with Microsoft Word, but then dug into a couple more concrete and practical examples with querying the Registry and spelunking in the IIS metabase.

Lots of interesting stuff coming up at future meetings: Martin Ledoux offered to show something on the work he’s done with amateur book-binding with pytut/pyref books. Kent has promised an update soon on his real-life experiences with Django. Ray Côté may be able to show off the new web site he used as an excuse to miss the meeting. And I’ll bet Bill will wheedle some more cookies from Janet.

Thanks to Bill Sconce for organizing, Alex Hewitt for getting the networking working, the Amoskeag Business Incubator for providing the great facilities, Janet for the awesome cookies, Kent for his great Korner, Bill Freeman for the csv module and those strange blinking white blocks, Ric Werme for demoing his weather projects, Shawn for the Win32-COM-Automation and everyone for attending and participating.

P.S. Anyone got python running on a WRT54G?

P.P.S. Tom Mosco mentioned to me that the Chicago Python group had a very long presentation on Django by the creators and also a Ruby on Rails presentation by its author. Videos can be found at here and here

Blog, the first five years…

… ended yesterday, and today I start the sixth year of blogging. The first year was blogging on the Perl-based TWiki software, 2003 through 2006 on Radio Userland. This year, I’m using WordPress, on a self-hosting Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP platform. Wonder what I’ll be running in another five years? It’s been a blast, and I hope it continues to be. Primarily, my blog is my voice online: notes of places I’ve found and want to share (or publicly bookmark so I can find them again), news to pass on, or events on which I comment. Thanks for reading.

Eric Sink: Baptists and Boundaries

Eric Sink, a fine essayist and software developer, does a little vanity Googling in “Baptists and Boundaries” and makes several excellent points about people and their world views, the punchiest of which is “Objects in browser are smaller than they appear.” Do read the essay and enjoy.

I’ve been involved in several insular communities (Commodore, GEOS, Amiga, FoxPro) that believed that they had The One True Truth and all others were mistaken, ignoring the growing evidence outside the walls that other alternatives might have something going for them, too. My biggest shock in my journeys outside the Microsoft Reality Distortion Field has been discovering that there are rich and powerful tools, long traditions of software excellence and some subtle (and blatent) differences in culture. The rich bazaar of choices: BSD vs. UNIX vs. Linux vs. Solaris, Perl vs. Python vs. PHP vs. Ruby, PostgreSQL vs. MySQL vs. SQLite vs. BerkeleyDB, tabs vs. spaces, vi vs. emacs, n-tier vs. mvc, African vs. English swallow, only add to the richness and freedom of the environment.

The biggest complaint of people stuck with a one-size-fits-all solution is that there is no choice. The biggest complaint when faced with the dazzling alternatives of FOSS is that there are too many choices. With great choices comes great responsibility. Conversely, “choosing” to stay with a one-size-fits-all monolithic solution is no choice at all, but rather an abdication of responsibility and a surrendering of freedom. Choose wisely.

Dabo rocks!

I’ve mentioned it before, but the dabo project rocks! dabo is intended to be a cross-platform (Mac/Linux/Windows/Everywhere) rich-client application (like FoxPro 2.5 before MS bought it) with the rich-client experience (grids, list boxes, checkboxes, pageframes, menus, multiple forms) in the appropriate widget-set for each OS. It supports a slew of backend data sources (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, Oracle, more) and is designed with a similar architecture (UI-BizObjects-Data) to many of the FoxPro frameworks. Best of all, it’s written in Python and available under an Open Source license.

I’ve spent a couple days downloading the source, watching the excellent screencast tutorials, browing the extensive mailing list archives and wiki, running the demos, generating an app with the App Wizard and reading the code. I’ve got an existing LAMP application that would benefit from a rich-client component with reporting capabilities, and dabo looks like a good choice. Hope to blog my progress as I get into it.

LPI discontinues lifetime certifications

“All certification designations earned before Sep. 1, 2004 will no longer be considered “lifetime” designations”

Shades of TiVo! What is it about “lifetime” that the Linux Professional Institute doesn't understand? Ah, they meant the lifetime of the certification, not of the certificate holder. LPI missed the boat on that one.

Over at Linux Watch, Stephen J. Vaughn-Nicholls outlines the changes to the LPI certification program. IT professionals who've been through the ringer with Novell and Microsoft and Cisco and A+ will recognize the tune: the program gallops along at first, realizes that they might be allowing holders of “legacy” knowledge to claim currency, and cut off their own revenue stream. Consequently, they beef up their renewal requirements.

I ran the certification hamster-wheel with Microsoft in the nineties: 16 exams in over 7 years, earning the MCSE designation for NT 4.0 and MCSD for Visual Studio 6. The certifications along with a liberal sprinkling of the logos on business cards, web sites and correspondence certainly helped the marketing efforts of my employers, and I worked hard to maintain the credibility of those programs.

The problem that happens with these kind of designations is that the effort to maintain the certification begins to exceed their value. With four, five or six exams needed to stay current in a single year, you can start to devote more time to studying for recertification than is practical. Staying current for the sake of your clients also means maintaining systems that are four to ten years old. Despite the vendors best wishes, old versions just don't go away, with “Don't fix it if it ain't broke” as a good engineering practice. At Ted Roche & Associates, we continue to support clients with applications that date back to the 80s in a couple of cases. We support clients with FoxPro 6, 7 and 8 applications (a couple of them ported from FoxBASE), PHP4, PHP5, MySQL 3.23, 4.1 and 5.0 applications, and lots of stuff in between. While there's sometimes an opportunity to jump onboard with the latest stuff, it's often the case that a couple of years pass before a new development opportunity comes along that provides the practical hands-on time to master new features and hence qualify to pass the new certification.

Microsoft faced wholesale mutiny when they attempted to discontinue some titles, or force the expiration of some titles like MCSD in favor of a .NET-centric specialty, long before the .NET platform had a reasonably large base in the real world. Certification authorities need to think long and hard about the way to support the lifecycle of their certifications. MS split off new certs, like MCAD, to distinguish the old from the new as they chose the road less traveled into DotNetLand. With Linux, it can be trickier to quantify: are you getting certified on the 2.4 kernel or the 2.6 kernel? XFree86 or X.org? Fedora, Kubuntu or OpenSuSE?

I'm in favor of ongoing continuing education or the equivalent; many professions have CEU requirements. However, certifying agencies have to recognize the balance needed between ongoing certifications and the value of their cert. Lawyers would find other professions if they needed to pass their bar exams every year.

Fonality acquires TrixBox

Slashdot post: Fonality Acquires Trixbox. An anonymous reader writes “MySQL's Brian Aker has a good commentary on the big news in acquisitions today that Fonality has acquired Trixbox, the Linux Telephony distribution.” From the article: “So why is this big news? Trixbox is the distribution for telephony on Linux today. They have put together a vertical Linux distribution dedicated to telephony. It combines Asterisk with a web based interface backed by MySQL, integrated into the SugarCRM solution. As Redhat today is the LAMP of the IT Enterprise and Web Framework, (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP), Trixbox is the LAMP stack of the Telephony market, Linux , Asterisk, MySQL, Perl/PHP.”

Good news. I saw TrixBox (nee Asterisk @ Home) demonstrated at the MonadLUG group by Tim Lind, who's gone on to do a couple of very successful Asterisk installs, and it's on my “I'd really like to try that out if only I had more time” list.

Monadnock LUG, Thursday, August 10th: SugarCRM

From Guy Pardoe's announcement:

The next meeting of the Monadnock Linux User Group (MonadLUG) will be this Thursday, August 10th, 7:00pm, at the SAU 1 Superintendent's Office behind South Meadow School in Peterborough.

For directions and other information, visit

Mark Witham discusses SugarCRM: SugarCRM is a complete CRM and groupware system for businesses of all sizes. Functionality includes sales force automation, marketing campaigns, support cases, project mgmt, calendaring, documents and more. Built on PHP and MySQL.

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