Sketching image queries and reinventing email

A first sneak peek at the things we can expect from System One in 2006: Retrievr lets you find flickr images by drawing rough sketches of them.

" This article is not intended as a proposal for a replacement for email. [...] Nevertheless, in understanding how the move to REST improves email, you will hopefully come to see how moving your own web services to it would improve them ."

In other news... 

Subversion hits 1.3.0 and brings us path-based authorization for svnserve.

In case you've been looking for it: Venkman for Firefox 1.5

And one more puzzle piece for building Mocha heaven: Banteng - leveraging GCJ and Rhino to build cross-platform native applications in Javascript.

3.1.2006, 9:23



ECMAScript - The Switzerland of development environments

Jon Udell points out that with the ongoing debate in programming circles about the pros and cons of static vs dynamic typing and class vs prototype based languages, and with ECMAScript gaining new respect and evolving at a faster pace, perhaps these styles will turn out more complementary than we suspect: a programming language can stay neutral to coding practices.

" When you already know what your types should be, [...], declare them. When you don't, don't. One language, two styles, complementary benefits. Good idea!"

29.12.2005, 13:45


I love E4X

As a reality check of my proposal for skins in Helma 2 , I so far came up with the following prototype. The idea seems to work quite nicely already with current builds of Helma 2. I thought E4X could make implementing these kinds of mocha objects very easy, but I was surprised that it really turned out that way in practice.

function handle_get() {
    // first prototype for the next incarnation of mocha objects
    
    // the render function, providing the magic
    var render = function(view) {
        // loop
        var toLoop = view..*.(@loop.toSource() != '<></>');
        for (var item in toLoop) {
            var dataName = toLoop[item].@loop.toString();
            delete toLoop[item].@loop;
            var data = eval(dataName);
            var stamp = toLoop[item].toString();
            for (var i in data) {
                var stencil = stamp.replace(
                    eval("/%% "+dataName+"\\$\\.(.+) %%/g"),
                    '{ '+dataName+'['+i+'].$1 }'
                );
                stencil = stencil.replace(
                    eval('/"'+dataName+'\\$/g'),
                    '"'+dataName+'['+i+']'
                );
                stencil = stencil.replace(
                    eval('/"%% (.*)\\$'+dataName+'(.*) %%"/g'),
                    '{ $1'+i+'$2 }'
                );
                toLoop.parent().insertChildBefore(
                    toLoop[item],
                    eval(stencil)
                );
            }
            delete toLoop[item].parent().*[toLoop[item].childIndex()];
        }
       
        // lookup
        var toLookup = view..*.(@lookup.toSource() != '<></>');
        for (var item in toLookup) {
            delete toLookup[item].@lookup;
            var lookedup = '('+toLookup[item].children()[0]+')';
            toLookup[item].setChildren(lookedup);
        }
   
        // check
        var toCheck = view..*.(@check.toSource() != '<></>');
        for (var item in toCheck) {
            if (eval(toCheck[item].@check.toString()))
                delete toCheck[item].@check;
            else
                toCheck[item] = '';
        }
        return view;
    }
   
    // an example skin
    var myview = <table border="1">
        <tr check="topics">
            <th lookup="true">Topic Name</th>
            <th lookup="true">Comment Count</th>
        </tr>
        <tr loop="topics" class="%% 'rowcolor'+ ($topics % 2) %%">
            <td>%% topics$.name %%</td>
            <td check="topics$.count == 0" lookup="true">
                No comments yet</td>
            <td check="topics$.count == 1" lookup="true">
                %% topics$.count %% comment</td>
            <td check="topics$.count > 1" lookup="true">
                %% topics$.count %% comments</td>
        </tr>
        <tr check="!topics">
            <td colspan="2" align="center" lookup="true">
                This list is empty</td>
        </tr>
    </table>;
   
    // the example data
    var topics = [
        {name : 'Peter', count : 0},
        {name : 'Wolf', count : 2},
        {name : 'John', count : 1},
        {name : 'Andy', count : 8}
    ];
   
    // rendering the list
    var listtable = render(myview.copy());

    // rendering the empty table
    topics = null;
    var emptytable = render(myview.copy());
   
    // assembling the page
    var page = <html><body>{ listtable }<hr/>{ emptytable }</body></html>;
   
    // writing the page source to the reponse buffer
    res.contentType = "text/html";
    res.write(page.toSource());
}

Resulting in the following output:

(Topic Name) (Comment Count)
Peter (No comments yet)
Wolf (2 comments)
John (1 comment)
Andy (8 comments)

(This list is empty)


  19.12.2005, 10:28

Tutorial D, Industrial D and the relational model

From this interview with Chris Date :

[...] But the trouble with the relational model is, it's never been implemented--at least, not in commercial form, not properly, and certainly not fully. So while it's true that there have been a couple of developments in the marketplace over the past few years that I do quite like, I like them primarily because I see them as attempts to implement pieces of the relational model that should have been implemented years ago but weren't. I refer here to (a) "business rules" and (b) "object/relational DBMSs." I'll take them one at a time.

  • Business rules: Business rule systems are a good idea, but they certainly aren't a new idea. Without going into a lot of detail, business rule systems can be seen as systems that attempt to implement the integrity piece of the relational model (which today's mainstream SQL products still--over 35 years after the model was first described!--so signally fail to do).
  • Object/relational DBMSs: To a first approximation, "object/relational" just means the domains over which relations are defined can be of arbitrary complexity. As a consequence, we can have attributes of relations--or columns of tables, if you prefer--that contain geometric points, or polygons, or X rays, or XML documents, or fingerprints, or arrays, or lists, or relations, or any other kinds of values you can think of. But this idea too was always part of the relational model! The idea that the relational model could handle only rather simple kinds of data (like numbers, and strings, and dates, and times) is a huge misconception, and always was. In fact, the term object/relational, as such, is just a piece of marketing hype ... As far as I'm concerned, an object/relational system done right would simply be a relational system done right, nothing more and nothing less.

[...] The next thing I want to say is that, while the relational model is certainly the foundation for "doing databases right," it's only the foundation. There are various ways we can build on top of the relational model, and various attempts have been made to do such a thing over the past 25 years or so. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Higher-level interfaces: It was never the intention that every user should have to wrestle with the complexities of something like SQL (or even the complexities, such as they are, of the relational algebra). I always rather liked the visual interfaces provided by Query-By-Example and the "visual programming" front-ends to Ingres, for instance. And there are many other attractive front-ends that simplify the business of building applications on top of a relational (or at least SQL) DBMS. 4GLs too can be regarded as a higher-level interface--but I was never very impressed by 4GLs as such, in part because they never seemed to be precisely defined anywhere; the idea might have been OK, but without a formal definition of the semantics of the language some very expensive mistakes can be (and were) made. Natural-language systems are another example; I still have an open mind about these, but I don't think anyone could claim they've been a huge success as yet.
  • Special-purpose applications: I think the right way to view things like OLAP and data mining is as special-purpose applications that run on top of the DBMS. I mean, I don't think these things should be part of the core DBMS (I could be wrong). Either way, however, I do want to complain about the CUBE stuff in SQL, which takes one of the worst aspects of SQL--its support for nulls--and "exploits" it to make it even worse. But that's a particular hobbyhorse of mine ... I think I'd better stop right here.

19.12.2005, 0:01
 


Stop bashing Java

Jürg, making the case for Java beyond J2EE :

"...there were alternatives around since years (e.g. Helma , which is surprisingly similar to Rails in a few fields), and often the people who now blame J2EE for not having been efficient were simply to lazy to really look for alternatives earlier on."

"I think it might be time to stop bashing Java and enjoy the fact that there are actually ways of working with it or any language available in its growing little universe that are enjoyable, not bound to Sun licenses, very flexible, fast and resource-saving."

18.12.2005, 20:16


E4X Mocha Objects

The next generation of Mocha Objects might evolve in a direction that would look something like the following, tying in tighter with the hard-coding environment of Helma:

./Site/list.view.control

// function at Site.prototype.views.list.control(that)

    if (this.topics.count()) {

        that.topics = {};

        for (var topic in this.topics) {

            that.topics.name = this.topics[topic].name;

            that.topics.count = this.topics[topic].comments.count();

        }

    }

./Site/list.view

<table border="1">

        <tr if="topics">

            <th lookup="true">Topic Name</th>

            <th lookup="true">Comment Count</th>

        </tr>

        <tr for="topics" class="rowcolor{ $topics % 2 }">

            <td>{ topics$.name }</td>

            <td if="!topics$.count" lookup="true">

                No comments yet</td>

            <td if="topics$.count == 1" lookup="true">

                { topics$.count } comment</td>

            <td if="topics$.count > 1" lookup="true">

                { topics$.count } comments</td>

        </tr>

        <tr if="!topics">

            <td colspan="2" align="center" lookup="true">

                This list is empty</td>

        </tr>

    </table>

./Site/list.control

// function at Site.prototype.controls.list

    var content = {

        main : this.views.list.render()

    };

    var page = Page.views.default.render(content);

    return page;

this.views.list.control() is invoked when the list view is rendered. When it is invoked, "that" is the object which was passed as parameter of the render() method or otherwise an empty/default object. "that" is the object that will be used as the Javascript context when rendering the view.

Views would be E4X Javascript XML objects. When Helma would render these views, it would parse them for "lookup", "if" and "for" attributes and then evaluate them in the context of "that".

When parsing the "for" attributes, Helma would loop through the indicated object (topics) with "for(var $topics in topics)" and repeat the specified element (the table row) with topics$ == topics[$topics]

When parsing the "lookup" attributes, Helma would check if a lookup handler function exists and if so would apply it to the element's content.

this.controls.list would be the function that is called in order to handle the request, similar to todays this.list_action.

9.12.2005, 9:02

 


Logging and other antimatters

Javascript logging from log4j to log4js.

GCC on MacOS X with GCJ .

W3C has chartered a Web APIs Working Group .

There is no danger from antimatter. There are of course other dangers on the CERN site, as in any laboratory:  high voltage power in certain areas, deep pits to fall in, etc.

Wikis, weblogs and microlearning, learning from microformats: The theory of Vanilla .

24.11.2005, 7:02


Stronger types in Javascript 2

From Brendan Eich's JS2 design notes

Goals:

  1. Support programming in the large with stronger types and naming.
  2. Enable bootstrapping , self-hosting , and reflection .
  3. Backward compatibility apart from a few simplifying changes.

 Non-Goals:

  1. To become more like any other language (including Java!).
  2. To be more easily optimized than the current language.

Type operators and type annotations

Type annotations are optional. To support strict options that require every declaration to be annotated, * may be used for ⊤ (the top type), e.g. var v is * , which is equivalent to var v . Note that * is used differently for E4X, but its meaning as ⊤ is unambiguous in type operator and annotation right operand contexts.

In a nutshell, is t annotations insist on type t and defend against null and undefined (no more "foo has no properties" errors; with static analysis, an error that can't be avoided at runtime can even be reported at compile time). as t annotations enforce ( is t )-or-null invariance. And to t annotations convert according to cleaner, class-extensible rules.

[...]

Given types, you can assert (is), coerce (as), or convert (to). Conversion alone is not enough, since it either leaves null unconverted, which is a "foo has no properties" hazard that one should be able to assert against with an annotated declaration; or conversion changes, e.g., null to String "null", which may be acceptable with dynamic types only (Edition 3 and earlier), but which is wrong with asserting and coercing annotations such as "var str is String" and "var strOrNull as String".

Since "to" converts rather than asserts or coerces, it is not sufficient as the only kind of type annotation.

Hence the symmetry between the type operators and annotations. Failing to provide an annotation for a type operator gratuitously forces programmers to hand-code constraints, instead of letting the type system do the work.

10.11.2005, 17:32


>>> Javascript Diagnosis & Testing

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> Yes, what is gather?
> A Free Song for Every Swiss Citizen
> Java in Harmony
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> 1 Kilo
> Re: FreeBSD logo design competition
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> Sentient life forms as MIME-attachments: RFC 1437
> Anno 2004: CZV
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> 5 vor 12 bei 10 vor 10
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> Anno 1991: mediacube
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> Anno 1989: Lambada by Kaoma
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> FidoNet
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> Gamchi
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> Earth Mother and Fortieth Floor by Lesley Duncan
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> Supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog
> Neil Young
> Whole Earth Catalog
> Anno 1968: Mony Mony and People Got to Be Free
> August 28th 1968: William Buckley Vs Gore Vidal




sovereignty, subsidiarity,
solidarity and sustainability

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> The Paul Allen Suit
> Web services should be both federated and extensible
> Reality is an onion, and depending on how deep you think, it may seem to contradict itself
> Oh No! by Marina And The Diamonds
> If there is anything supernatural, it is humanity itself
> Lila Luftschloss
> We have the world we want
> CoffeeScript, underscore.coffee and underscore.js
> Brendan Eich on Proxies, Modules and other Proposals and Strawman
> confederate?
> Good for Adobe, Good for Day, Good for the Ecosystem
> Will Adobe see the light (of Day)?
> What's Up Doc? by Carbon/Silicon
> How creativity occurs
> RingoJS vs NodeJS
> Sweet People by Alyosha
> RingoJS 0.5 released
> Your Personal Religion by Sophie Hunger
> Lost and Found by Steve Mason
> RhinoJS
> Server-Side Javascript since... way back: RingoJS!
> Modules, Proxies, and Ephemeron Tables
> Helma 1.7.0 has escaped its stealth existence
> The Moon And The Sky by Sade
> Written In Reverse by Spoon
> Keep Cool My Babies!
> Module system strawpersons
> You find what you google for.
> Move your money - It's a Wonderful Life
> ServerJS - Brewing The Perfect Storm
> While society must do things the right way, its people must find ways to do the right thing
> CommonJS effort sets JavaScript on path for world domination
> ServerJS - putting Javascript to work on the *other* side
> Eating healthier would safe the planet
> JVM Web Framework Smackdown
> Before implementing a solution to a problem, always search for a workaround, because the workaround is often better than the original solution
> If they are not ready for what they need, give them the backbone for their future baby steps
> Been there, but haven't done that
> Unus Pro Omnibus - Omnes Pro Uno
> Hang You From the Heavens by The Dead Weather
> Web-based editing of sandboxed server-side javascript apps
> PubSubHub against spam and walled gardens
> CometD at a glance
> Be part of the solution, not part of the problem
> Get Around by Neil Young
> Surrender by Cheap Trick
> A car has nothing to do with a carpet
> ES5 Candidate Specification
> ReverseHttp and RelayHttp
> The best solution is that one isn't needed
> New Eclipse Helma plugin project
> Is the Bespin web-based code editor the ideal future ServerJS IDE?
> Server-Side Javascript Standard Library
> First Soleil on Mont-Soleil
> Rhinola 0.8 - Server JS reduced to the minimum
> Helma turns 1.6.3
> Helma 1.6.3-rc3 ready for testing
> Helma 1.6.3 Release Candidate 2
> Release Candidate 1 of Helma 1.6.3
> Helma at the 2008 OpenExpo in Zurich
> Large Hadron Collider
> Ecmascript Harmony
> The A-Z of Programming Languages jumps to Javascript
> Fresh Javascript IDE in Ganymede Eclipse release
> Helma at the Linuxwochen in Linz
> Brendan on the state of Javascript evolution
> Stuff by George Carlin
> Is AppleScript done?
> ES4 Draft 1 and ES3.1 Draft 1
> Want ES4 in Helma today?
> SquirrelFish!
> Permaculture 101
> ES4 comes to IE via Screaming Monkey
> Apple's position on ECMAScript 4 proposals
> Helma Meeting Spring 2008
> Attila Szegedi about Rhino, Helma and Server-Side Javascript, and scripting on the JVM in general
> Helma 1.6.2 ready to download
> Larry Lessig's case for creative freedom
> Earthlings - Can you face the truth?
> The Story of Stuff
> A Quick Start to Hello World
> The Overlooked Power of Javascript
> Adobe's position on ES4 features, plus the Flex 3 SDK source code is now available under the MPL
> Solar cell directly splits water for hydrogen
> Asynchronous Beer and Geeking and other opportunities to talk about Helma, Rhino and Javascript on the server-side
> Openmocha and Jhino updated to 0.8
> Even more Server-side Javascript with Jaxer
> e4xd and jhino - javascript server-side soft-coding
> Additional Filename Conventions
> Update to Helma 1.6.1
> Netscape, the browser, to live one more month
> Heavyweight Champion of the World by Reverend and the Makers
> SimpleDB vs CouchDB
> Nuclear plants in Switzerland are modern Orgetorixism
> Helma powered AppJet - Takeoff!
> CouchDB for Helma
> Bubble bursting friendship bracelets
> Evolving ES4 as the universal scripting language
> Helmablog and an article in Linux Pro Magazine
> More praise for Helma
> Javascript as Universal Scripting Language
> So, what's up with World Radio Switzerland?
> Helma Conspiracy Theory
> JSONPath and CouchDB
> Hold the whole program in your head, and you can manipulate it at will
> Keeping track of localhost:8080
> Rhino 1.6R6 with E4X fix and patches for Helma
> Helma 1.6 is ready!
> Junction brings Rhino on Rails to Helma
> Javascript for Java programmers
> The server-side advantage
> John Resig on Javascript as a language
> Rhino on Rails
> Release Candidate 3 of Helma 1.6.0
> ECMAScript 4 Reference Implementation
> Antville Summer Of Code 2007
> Helma 1.6.0-rc2
> Using H2 with Helma
> Helma warped around existing db schemas
> Rocket the Super Rabbit
> Bootstrap is out of the bag
> The last mention of Microsoft
> Helma 1.6.0-rc1
> Introducing Planet Helma
> Helma ante portas
> Fixing Javascript inheritance
> Shutdown-Day the Helma way
> Upcoming Helma 1.6, new reference docs and IRC channel
> Making Higgs where the Web was born
> Jala for Helma
> See you at Lift'07
> More on Javascript Inheritance
> Mocha Inheritance
> Helma 1.5.3
> Fresh Rhino on Safari
> Truly Hooverphonic!
> Helma 1.5.2
> RFC 4329 application-ecmascript
> Helma 1.5.1 ready to download
> Aptana - Eclipse reincarnated as a Javascript IDE
> Building the Conversational Web
> Drosera steps in to debug Safari
> Helma 1.5.0 has been released!
> Helma 1.5 RC2 is ready
> Helma 1.5.0 Release Candidate 1 available for download
> FreeBSD Jails the brand new easy way
> Javascript 2 and the Future of the Web
> Frodo takes on chapter 3
> No Rough Cut :-(
> Welcome to Helma!
> 40th Montreux Jazz Festival
> trackAllComments
> Rails' greatest contribution
> Consensus vs Direct Democracy
> A candidate for CSCSJS or a Mocha Fetchlet
> A (Re)-Introduction to JavaScript
> coComment Roundup
> Track your comments
> Sketching image queries and reinventing email
> ECMAScript - The Switzerland of development environments
> I love E4X
> Tutorial D, Industrial D and the relational model
> Stop bashing Java
> E4X Mocha Objects
> Logging and other antimatters
> Stronger types in Javascript 2
> More >>>