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Can’t wait to dig in to the tasty malt beverages I brought home from Pennsylvania.

Here’s what I got:

Tasty Beer

Tasty Beer

Slides for my July 26 PySIG presentation, introducing Python list comprehensions.

This presentation was my first usage of landslide, a Python HTML5 slide presenting tool. If you’re interested in the reStructuredText source for this presentation, I’m providing that as well: comprehensions.rst.

Aaaaaaaaand October notes…

Kent’s Korner this month was an introduction to the Python unittest module. After Kent’s presentation, a discussion on unit testing ensued, talking more about the unittest module, Java’s unit testing package Junit, and another popular Python unit testing package nose.

We then moved on to our main presentation, where Arc schooled us about Sphinx. Sphinx is a tool for creating and maintaining Python documentation. Sphinx extends reStructured Text to support documenting Python. The Sphinx markup extensions are documented in the Sphinx docs. Sphinx currently uses Jinja for it’s templating.

More discussion of restructured text ensued. Kent mentioned that he writes Kent’s Korner in ReST, using Firedrop. It was discussed that ReST is pretty ubiquitous, for example, Trac  supports ReST and MoinMoin does as well.

New Linux distros coming, Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex in seven days and Fedora 10 is landing soon as well.

Arc mentioned Ubuntu Local Community teams, and our local New Hampshire chapter.

Catching up on last month’s meeting (at this month’s meeting no less!).

Kent was originally going to present about the new features in Python 2.6, but was unfortunately unable to attend at the last minute. We plowed along, with Bill leading the discussion, walking through  the what’s new page.

This lead to some discussion about documenting your Python. Python 2.6 has started using Sphinx for the official Python documentation. Another popular package for Python documentation is Epydoc.

In Kent’s absence, Shawn presented an introduction to accessing web services from Python, using both XML-RPC and SOAP.  After explaining a little bit about what web services are, Shawn jumped straight into a practical example, working with bug and issue tickets in Atlassian Software’s JIRA Bug/Issue Tracker.  We used the test project in the Public instance of JIRA to exercise our code. After reviewing the XML-RPC example in the JIRA documentation, we jumped into a Python prompt and using xmlrpclib from the standard library, went ahead and created this ticket in the public JIRA instance. We then referred to the Javadoc for the XML-RPC interface and interacted with our ticket, for example adding comments.

Moving on to SOAP, Shawn pointed out that there are numerous SOAP libraries for Python each with their own pros and cons. He mentioned three (and has since thought of another added here): SOAPpy, ZSI, suds, and soaplib.  Using SOAPpy, JIRA’s SOAP Example, and the Javadoc for the SOAP API, we again jumped to the Python prompt and manipulated our test ticket.

Working with JIRA brought up the discussion of other bug tracking packages. Two packages, both written in Python, are Roundup and Trac.

Arc showed us Ohloh and that they have an API and examples.

Arc also mentioned a Python web templating library called Genshi.

And lastly, for those wondering at the end of the meeting about “Zombie Strippers” being on my Google Calendar…it is a hilarious horror/comedy starring Jenna Jameson and Robert Englund (yes *that* Robert Englund). It’s coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 28th. For more about the film see the offical Sony Pictures website, IMDB entry, and the Wikipedia page.


I’ve been a bad doobie and not been posting PySIG bits for the last month or so. Ray kindly shared his notes from his August talk about the Yahoo BOSS API. I’ve converted that to PDF and the notes are available here.


Back after a few months missing! Arrived late, which seems to be the standard for me lately…

As I sat down, folks were discussing goings-on for Software Freedom Day.

For some more multimedia Python related Internet content, you can check out the Python411 podcast at Python Learning Foundation and Python Tutorial Screencasts and Videos at ShowMeDo.

A great news aggregator for Python news is Planet Python.

Shawn mentioned a new Python conference, PyWorks, happening Nov 12-14 in Atlanta. They recently announced their conference schedule. It is organized by the folks that publish Python Magazine.

Shawn also mentioned that he found out about this from Doug Hellmann’s blog, which has a great weekly feature, the Python Module of the Week.

Kent took over for this month’s Kent’s Korner, where he showed us defaultdict objects in the collections module of the Python standard library.

Ray then took over for the main presentation for the night, “A Glimpse at BOSS.” Yahoo! offers a web service called Yahoo! Search BOSS (where BOSS stands for Build your Own Search Service). Yahoo! is now providing BOSS Mashup Framework. To quote their website, “The BOSS Mashup Framework is an experimental Python library that provides developers with SQL-like constructs for mashing up the BOSS API with third-party data sources.”

Some discussion of licensing came up. Yahoo! states that the BOSS Mashup Framework is covered by the Yahoo! Search BOSS Services Terms of Use.  This discussion also brought up mention of the AGPL or GNU Affero General Public License.

During his talk, Ray mentioned Aptana, a software company that provides an IDE for doing AJAX development. They recently hired the author of the Eclipse PyDev extension, and PyDev is now also available for their Aptana Studio.Bill mentioned a HAM Radio magazine article that he noticed involved some Python! The article, “D-RATS — an Application Suite for D-STAR”, is available as a PDF on-line.

Software Freedom Day activities discussion resurged, and Bill mentioned OpenDisc. Quoting OpenDisc’s website, “OpenDisc is a high quality collection of open source software (OSS) for the Microsoft Windows operating system.”

See you next month!


Arrived later than usual, traffic on Rt. 3 was extra retarded.

Start planning for Software Freedom Day activities. This year it’s on September 20, 2008.

Kent asked about accessing existing C++ code from Python. Arc recommended Boost or possibly SWIG. Shawn mentioned that if you need to access C libraries, that ctypes may be useful, but Arc said there can be some caveats to how well it can work. This led into discussions of other projects for doing things like writing Python modules with packages that will build out to C. The two main projects in this space that came up were cython and Pyrex.

A recent discussion on python-talk about interacting with Excel from Python was rehashed in person. A copy of O’Reilly’s Python Programming On Win32 found it’s way to the meeting, and is a good starting point for attacking this problem.

Ted has been having headaches with Unicode text files (and receiving text possibly in other encodings). Kent suggested Universal Encoding Detector to help with the problem.

Announcement from Ray: His company, Appropriate Solutions, is now a silver sponsor of Twisted.

Kent’s Korner: This month’s Kent’s Korner presentation shows us the enhanced python shell IPython. Flip through the User Manual to dive in.


8 attendees geeked out on Python.

Lots of upcoming events.

NEAR-fest is May 2nd and 3rd.

Red Hat Summit is in Boston this year, June 18-20.

Running concurrently with RH Summit FUDCon Boston, running over the weekend of June 19-21.

Ted brought up PgCon, a PostgreSQL conference, May 20-23 2008 at the University of Ottawa.

The next Global Python Sprint Weekend is May 10-11, 2008. Join in to squash some Python bugs.

Ubuntu Open Week, April 28-May 3, is an event presenting a series of online workshops. There is a presentation on May 1st of interest to Pythonistas entitled “Python Packaging – Emilio Pozuelo Monfort”. Mailing list announcement

David M. Beazley’s PyCon 2008 Presentation on generators, Generator Tricks for Systems Programmers, is a very accessible introduction to doing very cool things with Python generators.

Ted pointed us to an interesting article, A conversation with Ray Ozzie about Live Mesh.

Ted also told us about a Python RSS aggregator, Planet. He maintains a page of Foxpro related links using it, Planet Fox. And Python news can be had at Planet Python.

Shawn kept telling Ted he could turn off syntax highlighting in vim quickly and easily.

xkcd likes Python!

Ray mentioned Python Powered SpreadSheet (PPSS), a spreadsheet program based on the Python programming language. Ted countered by bringing up that OpenOffice is scriptable in Python with pyUNO.

The Python Twisted network engine has a new version, 8.0.

Various discussions of cryptography. pyCrypto. PBKDF2 (Password-Based Key Derivation Function). Linux Unified Key Setup or LUKS. TrueCrypt. Apple FileVault. eCryptfs.

The various downloadable versions and variants of OpenSolaris came up. Also the fact that disk encryption for the ZFS filesystem is an OpenSolaris project. Ted reminded us that Todd Underwood presented to MerriLUG in the past on ZFS and his slides are available online.


I’ve arrived a little late to tonight’s meeting so apologies for any omissions…

The success of Software Freedom Day activities by PySIG members has led to open source “Tech Talks” at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell, MA.

Mark has been wanting to continue using a piece of orphaned DOS/Windows software and some handy Windows tools came up. Process Monitor and Revo Uninstaller. The Windows kernel debugger SoftICE was mentioned. Also TeaTimer, a process monitor that is part of Spybot Search & Destroy was mentioned. It appears that the software, allCLEAR, may still exist.

Bill writes his Python in the free source code editor, SciTE. He had some gotchas about debugging in this environment, and mentioned the usefulness of ‘python -i’. The python debugger, pdb, got a few CPU cycles during the discussion.

Kent’s Korner, urllib2 Cookbook

Main presentation. Arc Riley on PySoy, a 3D game engine.

Arc also mentioned the serach for students to work on Python projects for Google Summer of Code. I’ll refer you to his recent post on the Python-talk mailing list.

Here’s a link recap of topics brought up at PySIG.

Using Dabo as an application framework and for it’s GUI design tools came up in discussion.

Kent told us about a new O’Reilly book coming soon, Head First Programing. This book is an introduction to programming and uses Python as the language to introduce programming concepts with.

Jason told us about the Hackers for Charity project, headed up by author and hacker Johnny Long.

Ted told us that Quantum Books (in Cambridge, MA) is having a storewide 30% of sale.

Ray made an announcement about his company’s, (Auric Systems International) , new product written ~95% in Python. The CN!Express product is a payment processing application package (this product sheet was passed around during the meeting).

Bill showed us a blog post from Django wrangler, Jacob Kaplan-Moss. He’s starting a new job where he gets to hack on Django for a living.

Lloyd’s gotcha involved SQLAlchemy, a great python toolkit for hacking on SQL.

Ray brought up an article by Guido covering suggestions for writing a main() function for your python program.

Bill showed us more code from NH election redux, processing ugly HTML dumps of recount results.

Ray presented some code: Simple CSV Text Filters.

PyCon 2008 Chicago is fast approaching (prereg deadline is March 7). Podcasts of the talks from PyCon 2007 are available.

Ray pointed us to New England College. The site is developed with Plone.

Bill blames Ted for this article: A Simple Plugin Framework.


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