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Showing posts from March, 2008

ReviewBoard: open source code review tool

Via Marc Hedlund's post on O'Reilly Radar, here's an open source code review tool from VMWare: ReviewBoard. For all of us non-googlers out there, it's probably the next best thing to Guido's Mondrian (question: why has that tool not been released as open source?). Check out the sweet screenshots. The kicker though is that it uses Python and Django. Way to go, VMWare!

Python code complexity metrics and tools

There's a buzz in the air around code complexity, metrics, code coverage, etc. It started with Matt Harrison's PyCon presentation, then Ned Batchelder jumped in with a nice McCabe cyclomatic complexity computation/visualization tool, and now David Stanek posted about his pygenie tool -- which also measures the McCabe cyclomatic complexity of Python code. Now it's time to unify all these ideas in one powerful tool that computes not only complexity but also path or at least branch coverage. This would make a nice Google Summer of Code project. Too bad the deadline for 2008 GSoC applications is in 7 hours...Maybe for next year.

Update: David Goodger left a comment pointing me to Martin Blais's snakefood package, which computes and shows dependencies for your Python code. It's a good complement to the tools I mentioned above.

Recommended testing conference: CAST 2008

If you're a tester and are serious about learning and advancing in your trade, I warmly recommend the CAST 2008 conference which will be held in Toronto, July 14-16. The theme of the conference is "Beyond the Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Software Testing" and the keynote speaker is none other than Jerry Weinberg. And it's REALLY hard to get Jerry Weinberg to speak at a conference, so you might as well take advantage of this opportunity. For more details on CAST 2008, download the PDF brochure.

It's a good time to be a Python programmer

We had the SoCal Piggies meeting at the Disney Animation Studios last night. It was a great meeting -- great presentations from Disney engineers on how they use Python at Disney (and they use it A LOT!), great food, great turnout, and great atmosphere. Let me tell you -- the Disney Animation Studios are *lush*. Thanks to Paul Hildebrandt for organizing the meeting.

I'll probably blog separately about the technical content of the presentations, but for now I just wanted to comment on the fact that everybody seems to be hiring Python programmers -- Gorilla Nation and Virgin Charter are just two companies in the L.A. area that are aggressively looking to hire Python talent. Another thing: we used to have difficulties in finding venues for our meetings. We used to meet at either USC or Caltech, and around 10-12 people max. would show up. Now companies are clamoring for organizing the meetings at their offices, and we have 20-30 people in the audience, with many new faces at every meeti…

Easy parsing with pyparsing

If you haven't used Paul McGuire's pyparsing module yet, you've been missing out on a great tool. Whenever you hit a wall trying to parse text with regular expressions or string operations, 'think pyparsing'.

I had the need to parse a load balancer configuration file and save certain values in a database. Most of the stuff I needed was fairly easily obtainable with regular expressions or Python string operations. However, I was stumped when I encountered a line such as:

bind http "Customer Server 1" http "Customer Server 2" http

This line 'binds' a 'virtual server' port to one or more 'real servers' and their ports (I'm using here this particular load balancer's jargon, but the concepts are the same for all load balancers.)

The syntax is 'bind' followed by a word denoting the virtual server port, followed by one or more pairs of real server names and ports. The kicker is that the real server names can be eithe…

PyCon08 gets great coverage

Reports on the death of the PyCon conference as a community experience have been greatly exaggerated. I personally have never seen any PyCon edition as well covered in the blogs aggregated in Planet Python as the 2008 PyCon. If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Google Blog Search. I think the Python community is alive and well, and ready to rock at PyCon conferences for the foreseeable future. I'm looking forward to PyCon09 in Chicago, and then probably in San Francisco for 2010/11.

PyCon presenters, unite!

If you gave a talk at PyCon and haven't uploaded your slides to the official PyCon website yet, but you have posted them online somewhere else, please leave a comment to this post with the location of your slides. I'm helping Doug Napoleone upload the slides, since some authors have experienced issues when trying to upload the slides using their PyCon account. Thanks!

Links to resources from PyCon talks

I took some notes at the PyCon talks I've been to, and I'm gathering links to resources referenced in these talks. Hopefully they'll be useful to somebody (I know they will be to me at least.)

"MPI Cluster Programming with Python and Amazon EC2" by Pete Skomoroch

* slides in PDF format
* Message Passing Interface (MPI) modules for Python: mpi4py, pympi
* ElasticWulf project (Beowulf-like setup on Amazon EC2)
* IPython1: parallel computing in Python
* EC2 gotchas

"Like Switching on the Light: Managing an Elastic Compute Cluster with Python" by George Belotsky

* S3FS: mount S3 as a local file system using Fuse (unstable)
* EC2UI: Firefox extension for managing EC2 clusters
* S3 Organizer: Firefox extension for managing S3 storage
* bundling an EC2 AMI and storing it to S3
* the boto library, which allows programmatic manipulation of Amazon Web services such as EC2, S3, SimpleDB etc. (a python-boto package is available for most Linux distributions too; for examp…

JP posted nose talk slides and code

If you attended Jason Pellerin's talk on the nose test framework at PyCon08, you'll be glad to know he just posted his slides and the sample app that shows how he writes and runs unit and functional tests under nose. I'm advertising this here because he only sent a message to the nose mailing list.

Slides and links from the Testing Tools tutorial

Here are my slides from the Testing Tools tutorial in PDF format. Not very informative I'm afraid -- I didn't actually show them to the attendees, I just talked about those topics while demo-ing them. If you want to find out more about the state of the Selenium project, watch this YouTube video of the Selenium Meetup at Google.

Here are some random thoughts on Selenium testing which I mentioned during the tutorial:

composing Selenium tests, especially for Ajax functionality, is HARD; the Selenium IDE helps a bit, but you still have to figure out how to wait for certain HTML elements to either appear or disappear from the page under testversion 1.0 of the Sel. IDE, soon to be released, will record Ajax actions by default, so hopefully this will speed up Selenium test creationif you already have a Selenium Core test in HTML format, an easy way to obtain a Selenium RC test in Python is to open the HTML file in the Selenium IDE, then export the test case as Python; however, to actua…

Back from PyCon

PyCon08 is over. It's been an enjoyable experience, but a crowded one, with more than 1,000 people in attendance. The testing tutorial that Titus and I gave on Thursday went well. We tried to have it a bit more interactive than in the last 2 years, so we asked for people to send us their Web apps so we can test them 'in real time'. As it turned out, we only got back a handful of replies and almost no apps, but Christian Long sent me an app that I used to show some nifty Ajax testing with Selenium. We took a lot of questions from the audience on real problems they were facing, and I think we came up with some satisfactory answers/solutions. We need to think of what format we'll choose for next year (if any). Steve Holden and Doug Napoleone were happy with what they got out of the tutorial, Mike Pirnat was not because he had seen the same material last year. I think we did show some new techniques with the same tools that we've been showing for the last 3 years. But …

Bright days for Python

Yes, the title is related to the news that were all over Planet Python yesterday, that Sun hired two prominent pythonistas (Ted Leung and Frank Wierzbicki) to work on Jython. Great news indeed. Jython seemed to lose steam and momentum as compared to other dynamic JVM languages (JRuby mainly), so it's very good to see that Sun is putting its weight behind it. Congrats to Ted and Frank.

Also, in other news, Greg Wilson just announced on his blog that he signed a contract with the Pragmatic Programmers to co-author a textbook for CS 101-type classes using Python as the programming language. Can't wait to see it in print!

Notes from the SoCal Piggies meeting on Feb. 28th

Here are the notes that I posted on the 'Happenings in Python Usergroups' blog.