StdTrap: a magical Pythonic mechanism for intercepting console output

As a programmer I believe less is more. Good code is small, simple and elegant and many times favorable to larger, noisier code that does the same. It's not just about aesthetics either. Making code small and beautiful makes it easier to read, and easier to understand. Which is guaranteed to make it work better. Trust me on this.

How Foodsoft inspired me to rewrite the TKLDev documentation

A couple of weeks ago I was corresponding with @wvengen, a free software developer from the Netherlands who has been using TKLDev to package Foodsoft into a ready-to-use Foodsoft in a box solution that can be easily deployed to manage your own non-profit Food Coop.

TurnKey 13.0 ready for community development

Want to roll your own Debian Wheezy based images? You're in luck because we just finished upgrading TurnKey's build chain, including new versions of TKLDev and TurnKey Core ready for download.

Using Comet to update web application data in real time?

Recently I've been looking into a powerful but complex web application technology we're considering using in future versions of the Hub.

The problem: how do we update a browser view when a background process updates the database?

A few examples of places in the Hub where this comes up...

Python iterators considered harmful

I just tracked down a nasty bug in my code to a gotcha with Python iterators.

Consider the following code...

How to write a good changelog

In a nutshell, think of your users.

They read top to bottom. They have a very limited attention span. Even if they read all the way through, they're probably going to pay more attention to things that come early. Before patience runs thin.

So your goal is not only to describe changes but to figure out now to communicate as much value to users before they lose interest. If you do a really good job, you might actually prevent them from losing interest and they'll read all the way through. Don't bet on it though...

Python property gotcha

If you like using a single getter/setter function for your properties, watch out if using None for the default. If you do that you won't be able to set your property to None!

Example code and workaround...

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Use the stash, Luke (git-stash)

I was in the middle of developing a new feature for the TurnKey Hub when I received a bug report that needed to be fixed.

What to do? Throw away my current changes? Checkout a clean branch? Of course not! Just stash my changes away, fix the bug, and get my changes back so I can continue development.

Amazon FPS (flexible payments system) in a nutshell

A few weeks ago I looked into Amazon FPS (Flexible Payments Service), just to see what our options are for premium services like commercial support. You know, the stuff we can't give away even if we wanted to because their are real costs involved which we couldn't subsidize without going bankrupt.

Note that we're probably not going to be using FPS in the near term but I did research it exhaustively before I ruled it out (for now). While it's fresh in my mind here's the summary for the benefit of those who might be considering it as an option.

My code refactoring algorithm

You're looking at a block of Python code. It's not immediately obvious what it does. It's sort of a mess and you realize it needs to be refactored. But how? What mental algorithm do you use?