Douwe Osinga's Blog: July 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Project Updates

Now that douweosinga.com is running on App Engine, I am slowly converting my old projects to the new infrastructure. Moreover I am trying to make them a little better so that it actually seems to serve a purpose. This weeks catch:

Visited Countries now supports (and people have asked me for this a lot) a way to edit an existing map. Rather than having to login and edit your map in place, you can just take any url to a visited map, paste it in the box and press restore and you are good to go. So if you had that map but you didn't want to edit it all over again just because you had visited one more country, you're in luck.

Archean Self Organization Before you could copy the state in a comment so other people could try it out, but they would have to copy and paste a weird code. Now you can just save the thing with a comment. Slightly better I would say.

The Next President still lets you pick states and assign them to democrats or republicans and then draws a map, but now it does so slightly more elegant and plots the map immediately. Also it now starts with the map representing the elections four years ago.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back from the dead part II

Those who check my blog over a feedreader might have concluded I stopped posting for a bit (which is also true). Those who check back on http://douweosinga.com directly, might have noticed that the whole site was gone. Again.

The hosting company I was with send me an email that two hard disks in their RAID array had failed and they'd be happy to restore my site if I had had purchased the backup option, but otherwise I was on my own. I hadn't purchased such an option and my backup was rather old. I can say that I was rather happy I had switched to blogger for blogging a couple of months ago otherwise all posts about India would have gone too.

My site was build on top of Zope, an aging application platform that has the peculiar feature that the whole site is stored in a ZODB file. You can export them and then easily import them into a different Zope instance and that way avoid a lot of installation trouble. Except for that you can't. There are issues with versions and extensions. Extensions allow you to add functionality to Zope and are great, but if your exported version of your site referred to any extension, you now have to dig up that extension, or otherwise nothing works. Also, I could not get my site to work at all in the latest version of Zope (2.11). Finally after a lot of swearing I succeeded in getting it to work on 2.09 (or 2.9).

But it was too late. I realized I should have given up on Zope a long time ago. Django is my new love and as it turns out Googles new shiny App Engine supports Django. So I set out to convert the structure and now we're up and running again.

We're not there yet. On my old instance I had 48 projects. Now I've reinstalled, uhmm, 3. But that's all good. A lot of those projects were dead or dying anyway and the others could do with a lick of paint. So meet the new and improved visited countries.


visited 95 states (42.2%)
Create your own visited map of The World or Try another interesting project

It has Visited States and Visited Countries combined, plus... Visited India. Visited States and Visited Countries now use the Google Charting API, Visited India is native python. If you'd like to see your own country, region or what, ping me. New maps are now easy to add.