Posts about open source (old posts, page 2)

2010-01-28 20:05

New project: marave, a relaxed text editor

Announcement:

Marave (nothing, in guaraní) is a relaxed text editor. Its goal is to let you focus in your writing, free of visual distractions and clutter.

It is written using PyQt, so it should work in all major platforms, and it is licensed under the GPLv2 so it is free software.

You can find the current SVN (no release yet) at http://marave.googlecode.com

Screenshots:

snapshot10snapshot9snapshot8

Status:

It's not finished yet, but it has the following features:

  • You can edit text
  • Minimalistic, "vanishing" user interface
  • (Optional) audio feedback for the keyboard
  • (Optional) relaxing music (requires internet access)
  • You can customize the background, font, colours, and sounds
  • Live spell checking (requires pyenchant)

There are also some major missing features:

  • Search and Search/Replace is not implemented
  • UI customizations are not stored
  • UI has to be cleaned up a lot more
  • It doesn't ask to save when closing
  • Autosave not implemented

And at least one known bug:

  • In windows the widgets are not well placed Fixed in SVN

A litte history:

A few days ago, I saw ommwriter mentioned in a tweet or something similar.

I was thinking "nice thing", but in the back of my mind I was also thinking "that can't be too hard to do". After all, the hard part of creating a program is making it do things, right?

Well, yes and no. I did manage to create a somewhat reasonable facsimile in a day, but tweaking the looks of it is driving me nuts :-)

2009-12-21 14:39

python-keyring is seriously nice

Many programs require passwords from the user.

It's nice when a program can remember the password you give it.

It's nicer when it stores said password safely. However, it's not trivial to do that if you care for cross-platform support.

Or at least it wasn't until Kang Zhang wrote python keyring, a module that abstracts the password storage mechanisms for KDE, GNOME, OSX and windows (and adds a couple of file-based backends just in case).

So, how does it work?

Install it in the usual way. If it's not packaged for your distro/operating system, just use easy_install:

easy_install keyring

You could also get it from mercurial:

hg clone http://bitbucket.org/kang/python-keyring-lib/

The API is simplicity itself. This is how you save a secret:

import keyring
keyring.set_password('keyring_demo','username','thisisabadpassword')

You may get this dialog (or some analog on other platforms):

keyring1

And here's the proof that it was saved correctly (this is KDE's password manager):

keyring2

And how do you get the secret back?

import keyring
print keyring.get_password('keyring_demo','username')

This is how it runs:

$ python load.py
thisisabadpassword

As you can see, the API is as easy as it could possible get. It even chose the KWallet backend automatically because I am in KDE!

Python-keyring is a module that fixes a big problem, so a big thank you to Kang Zhang and Tarek Ziadé (who had the idea)

2009-12-18 11:50

The smartest thing I ever wrote

When I was migrating the comments I noticed a page looked wrong in the site, and started fixing it.

While I was reading, I noticed a couple of things:

  • It was published almost exactly 5 years ago
  • It may be the smartest thing I ever wrote

Sometimes, you get an idea, and you can give it shape. Since I really think it's not completely stupid, I translated it to spnish (there was only an english version) y "reprint" it today.

It's about programming, it's about evolution, and I hope you like Being a good Lamarckian froggie!.

2009-12-16 17:12

New 24-hour app coming (not so) soon: foley

First a short explanation:

24-hour apps are small, self-contained projects where I intend to create a decent, useful application in 24 hours. The concept is that:

  1. I will think about this app a lot for a while
  2. I will design it in my head or in written notes
  3. I will code, from scratch, for 24 hours.
  4. That's not one day, really, but 24 hours of work. I can't work 24 hours straight anymore.

The last time around this didn't quite work as I intended, but it was fun and educational (for me at least ;-) and the resulting app is really not bad!

So, what's foley going to be? A note-taking app aimed at students and conference public.

In your last geeky conference, did you notice everyone is using a computer?

And what are they taking notes on? Vi? Kwrite? OpenOffice? Whatever it is they use, it's not meant to be used for this purpose.

So, what will foley do different? I don't quite know yet, but I have some ideas:

  1. A strong timeline orientation. Every paragraph will be dated.
  2. Twitter/Identica support. Want to liveblog your notes? Just click.
  3. Multimedia incorporated in the timeline.
    • Webcam/Audio recording synced to your notes?
    • Images imported and added in the timeline?
    • Attach files to the timeline? (Useful for slides?)
  4. If provided with a PDF of slides, attach each slide to the right moment in the timeline
  5. Easy web publishing: find a way to put this on a webpage easy and quick (single-click publishing is the goal)

I have only thought about this for about 10 minutes, but I see potential here.

The bad news is... I have a ton of paying work to do. So this will probably only happen in January. However, I wanted to post it so I can take input while in this planning phase.

So, any ideas?

2009-12-11 11:04

Making a unique application using python and DBUS

No, not unique in the sense "oh, this app is a special snowflake", but unique in the sense "you can only run one copy of this application".

I tried googling for it and I always found the same answer, "use dbus, try to own the name, if it exists already, then a copy is already running".

What I could not find is one working example of this, or at least not something conveniently labeled "here is how you do a unique application using dbus and python".

So, here is how you do a unique application using dbus and python:

Supposing your application is called uRSSus (mine is):

session_bus = dbus.SessionBus()
try:
    session_bus.get_object("org.urssus.service", "/uRSSus")
    # This is the second copy, make the first one show instead
    # TODO: implement
except dbus.DBusException: # No other copy running
    # This will 'take' the DBUS name
    name = dbus.service.BusName("org.urssus.service", bus=session_bus)
    # Now, start your app:
    window=MainWindow()
    object = UrssusServer(window,name)
    :
    :
    :
    etc, etc

And that's it. No, it's not hard, but since the DBUS docs seem to be... rather they seem almost not to be sometimes, every little bit may help.

2009-12-03 10:44

I knew not doing it was smarter, or how HTML5 and Qt do my work for me.

I wrote a while ago a RSS program called uRSSus. I expect I am the only user of it because it has some problems (all of them my fault ;-) but I really like it.

For a while now I have wanted it to have podcast support. The thing is... that always seemed like a lot of work. Sure, using phonon I can create an audio player and everything, but...

I am using a HTML widget to display the posts, so I would have to find a way to add the audio player to the UI and ... too much work.

So, today I woke up and thought... wait a minute... Qt's HTML widget is based on Webkit. And Webkit supports HTML5. And HTML5 has an "audio" tag.

So, if I fixed uRSSus to fetch the enclosure links, and added them in the database, and then added this to the post template:

<?py for enclosure in  post.enclosures: ?>
  <audio autobuffer="Yes" controls="controls" src=#{enclosure.href}></audio><br>
<?py #end ?>

Wouldn't that actually work? Well, yeah!

urssus26

So there you have it, I was right not to implement it, because the easiest way is to let Qt do it ;-)

2009-11-24 13:08

My first public python code works!

No, this is not a post announcing I just wrote my first public python code. This is a post about my first public python code... from 1996!

In 1996, the soon-to-be-here year of the Linux desktop was fueled by one of the marquee open source applications of the time: LyX.

LyX was (is) a sort of word processor where you wrote and generated LaTeX which then produced whatever you used to print. But I am digressing: LyX was cool because it used one of the first good free graphical toolkits: XForms.

Ok, it was not really free, because you couldn't distribute patches.

And it was not all that good either, but we were comparing it with Motif, so it was much more free and much better than that monstrosity.

BTW: The latest release of XForms is from august of 2009.

At the time, a 25-year-old me was in love with Python 1.3. Here's how I described it:

Python 1.3
It's a beautiful ,free, language. Get it from ftp://ftp.python.org http://www.python.org

Yes, Python 1.3. So, I wanted to use this C GUI toolkit used in this cool app, and this neat language I was learning and use them at the same time.

I ran (not walked) to my faithful Slackware 3.0 ELF in my 486DX2 PC and started hacking. In a weekend or so I had a working binding.

I even started writing the holy grail of desktop applications, a GUI version of Pine, using python and its IMAP module (python mailer, or PyM):

//ralsina.me/static/im1.jpg
//ralsina.me/static/im2.jpg

I released version 0.1 alpha in 1996, May 13 ... and a few months later Matthias Ettrich started KDE and I found Qt and never thought about XForms again.

Until this month.

For reasons that don't matter, I mentioned PyM in the PyAr mailing list the other day, and ... well, would pyxforms still work?

Why, pretty much, yeah!

I got the pyxforms-0.1-alpha sources from somewhere in the internet, installed XForms 1.0.92sp2 (yes, the latest release, from three months ago), of course I already had python 2.6.4 installed, added a setup.py, edited 10 lines of code and...

im1

Yes, it works. You can get this 0.2 version (codename "Cthulhu was here") here just 13 years after 0.1.

No, I don't understand the weird rounded corners, or why the cursor looks weird and old when it's inside the window.

It's a REALLY small and fast toolkit, though.

Honestly, is it useful for ayone? Almost certainly not. Am I amazed something I wrote in 1996 still works? Oh, yeah I am.

2009-10-23 23:27

24-hour app #1: Die Schere, a video editor

I have long known that application development is an arduous process. I have also long suspected one of the reasons it's arduous is the developer. I should be more specific, I am one of the reasons.

That's because I don't know what I am doing, and I don't mean that in the "I am a lame programmer" sense (even if that's also true somewhat), but in the sense that I literally don't know what the app should look like, or what its feature set should be.

So, I have decided to embark on a series of experiments I will call 24-hour apps.

Here are the rules:

  • I shall create a neat application, stable, useful, usable and decent-looking.
  • I shall do it in no more than 24 hours. After that time, it should be at least good enough for a preview release, if not a beta.
  • Those 24 hours can be split in two or three sessions
  • Time spent doing icons, docs, etc, counts.
  • All development shall be public (I am using github)
  • I must have a use for the resulting application, and it should be at least an adequate solution for that problem.

So, what's the first project? I call it Die Schere (The Scissors in german) and it's a video editor.

It's not a kdenlive replacement, it's just the video editor I wish I had when I needed to glue a piece of one video with a piece of another.

In the old, pre-digital world, that was done using a cutter and scotch tape. I want Die Schere to be as useful and comprehensible as that was, but useful for clumsy people like myself.

Here is a video after today's session, which lasted 8 hours:

The basic functions are there, even if lots of work is still needed.

  • You can load clips to work with them
  • You can cut clips (like using a cutter!)
  • You can choose the cut points interactively or by editing a time
  • You can arrange them (like using scotch tape!)
  • You can generate the output video

As a backend it's using mencoder, but there's no reason it shouldn't work with ffmpeg or melt if someone writes 20 lines of code.

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