A new frontier for RSS readers

James Robertson: "That's pretty much where I've gone with Twitter - I have a set of search feeds set up in BottomFeeder, and when something flows by on a topic that I'm concerned with, I have a look. Beyond that, I rarely even look at the tweets passing by - there are too many, and too much of it is fluff I just don't care about." - Twitter seems to be a natural extension to blogging, at least that's how I see it. James has done something very interesting to the News Reader he developed. He flows Twitter through it which allows him to filter out the noise, very darned nice. Let's hope other feed readers follow suit. Well done James.

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Posted by Rob at 2:01 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Hacking around AIR's shortcomings

James Robertson: "Today's Smalltalk Daily looks at Glare, a library for enabling communication between Flex/Air front ends and Smalltalk backends." - James demonstrates how to create a Flex/AIR based frontend to a backend Smalltalk service, which is cool. Folks do this sort of stuff every day with other languages. But, what if I want to create a Flex/AIR application that runs on the client and lives inside my app, or maybe hosts code I've already written, that does awesomeness AIR can't do? The only way around that limitation today is to open a socket and send "commands" to another application, just like you're doing when you're communicating with a web service. Great for web services, crummy on the desktop.

Adobe could have a killer scripting environment for inclusion into a host application, think VBA, if they would consider moving that direction. Until then it'll fall just a bit short for doing real applications.

For writing real desktop applications today, with cool UI's, in a nice garbage collected, stop the developer from hanging himself, and allows you to use your existing code bases, the choice is clear, Microsoft .NET with WPF.

Adobe I love you, I really, really love you. You're so close, why not go the extra mile and allow existing code to run within your runtime, or allow us to host the AIR runtime within our applications?

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Posted by Rob at 1:46 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Flex visited by a Smalltalker

James Robertson: "Flex development takes place using XML. I'm sure that some developer somewhere thought this was a good idea - but he needs to be taken out behind the woodshed, stat." - I had a rant about XML a little while back. James and I are in total agreement on this point.

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Posted by Rob at 3:37 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

View from a C++ noob

Armin Ronacher: "I just recently started using C++ for university (about two months ago) and still have a hard time accepting some of the weird syntax rules and semantics. For someone that mainly does Python development C++ feels very unnatural. In Python the syntax is clean and there are no ambiguities. C++ is drastically different in that regard. I know there are tons of resources on the net about C++ pitfalls already, but I thought I have to add my own for people switching to C++ with a background in Python and/or C." - I forgot how daunting C++ can be coming from another language. I struggled with C pointers for the longest time after coming from BASIC, then a dear friend said these words to me.

* means contents of
& means address of

That's all it took. From that day forward I could deal with pointers.

Python looks weird to me, especially the whole indentation thing.

Python is one of those languages high on my list of languages to learn, which also includes Ruby and Smalltalk. Objective-C wasn't on there, but I'm knee deep in it now. I believe Objective will be a good sprintboard to learning Smalltalk, either that or a hinderance.

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Posted by Rob at 10:30 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Hosting IronPython and IronRuby

Michael Foord: "An exploration of how to embed Dynamic Language Runtime engines into .NET applications (C# or VB.NET). It addresses topics like presenting an API from your application to user code, handling errors and how to interact with dynamic objects from a statically typed language." - This is pretty intriguing. I wondered aloud the other day about why you'd want to host things in a shell, but hosting the DLR interactively inside an application, hmmm sounds like SmallTalk, would be extremely cool.

This is the sort of thing guys like Adam Stone, or Chris Roth, would come to love in Visio. Heck, this is something I'd love to have time to work on myself.

I had begun to put a grammar together for a Visio specific language, for shape building, but haven't pursued it any further. It would've been hosted inside the DLR, which could then be hosted using these techniques. I'd still like to do it.

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Posted by Rob at 5:57 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Automagically posting to Twitter

James Robertson: "So - I've had the server sending updated to Twitter every time I post for awhile now. The implementation was pretty lame though - I dropped two methods directly into my BlogEntry class and had it do the update. I finally decided that this was a smelly, and built a small package (MiniTwit in the public store.) There are two classes - a Settings class, to make it possible to set up a simple ini file, and the class that does the work. The code is dead simple:" - I've really been after this capability in my favorite weblogging client, MarsEdit, for a while now. I'm hoping Mr. Jalkut will add an 'after post' event, with data that informs me if it's new or a repost, so I can grab it and post a message to Twitter. You gotta love AppleScript!

James has given the Smalltalk crowd a leg up. He's written the code for you. Lucky dogs.


Posted by Rob at 8:35 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Congratulations Cincom

James Robertson: "We had been holding the release pending Vista Certification for ObjectStudio 8.1; that's done now - I just got this in email via Mark Grinnell, who is the lead for ObjectStudio..." - A very big congrats to all the folks at Cincom.

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Posted by Rob at 6:05 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Dang James!

James A. Robertson: "Micro-benchmarks are pretty irrelevant, and you would think Sun's big honchos would know that. However, when you realize that J2EE is a huge pile of steaming manure weighing down the people unfortunate enough to be using it, I guess it makes sense to shout 'but our arithmetic is really fast!'." - I think that pretty much sums it up.

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Posted by Rob at 11:16 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Big changes on the way?

James Robertson: "The next release is scheduled for Q1 of 2008, so things should calm down by then - and the toolset will be incrementally better" - It sounds like the Cincom gang has some really nice surprises on the way, just in time for Christmas. Okay, so the developer builds will be available, but you get what I mean.

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Posted by Rob at 8:25 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Smalltalk in a DLL?

James Robertson: "Make it possible to ship Smalltalk as a DLL" - I think that would be a wonderful idea! Microsoft, as far as I know, has no answer for scripting inside applications. VBA is all but dead. So, if you had the entire Smalltalk environment as a DLL, and you could expose functionality to the runtime, you'd have a best of breed scripting language. This is something the Python guys got right, but the Ruby crowd is behind.

ILM has been using Python for years in their production pipeline, not only standalone, but embedded in other applications. Having a powerful language that's easy to use is important to customizing destkop tools.

James, I think it's a great idea.

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Posted by Rob at 4:04 PM | 3 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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