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subatom

Atom Enabled I released subatom last night. It’s a small tool to generate an Atom feed from subversion commit messages. It’s pretty simple right now, but now that the basics are there, I can improve on it.

Why not RSS? Well, basically I spotted XML::Atom first and it was dead easy to use. And Atom just happens to be new and shiny right now.

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Sage RSS Reader

If you use firefox, then sage provides a very useful improvement over the default implementation of RSS (“Live Bookmarks”). Some of the features:

  • Tells you which items you haven’t read yet.
  • Better feed autodiscovery.
  • Proper OPML export.

If you’re using Live Bookmarks at all in firefox, it’s worth checking out.

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Hillier Gardens

Today, we drove over to Hillier Gardens with a few friends. By the time we got there it was lunch and we all managed to bring something for a picnic. Thankfully, it seemed that we’d all had BBQ the night before, so a wonderful array of char grilled vegetables and salads was on offer. We then spent the afternoon meandering around the beautifully kept gardens, enjoying the many and varied pieces of art which was currently on offer as part of their “Art in the Garden” festival. All the while it was beautifully sunny, but there was always a mild breeze on hand. A mid-afternoon pot of Earl Grey in the Café rounded things of perfectly.

All in all, a fantastic day.

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New Phone!

We decided that it was time to get new phones as the old ones were a bit long in the tooth, kept running out of battery and so on. So we ordered a couple of Nokia 6610i from carphone warehouse. A bargain at £50, too. I also picked up a data cable, which is invaluable.

The phone is very, very nice compared to what I was using before, even though the model is over a year old now. But the screen is bright and clear, and the text is very legible. The UI is standard Nokia, which I find to be far more usable than anything else I’ve seen (Motorola in particular I find to be uniquely awful at UI design). But the most useful feature to me took me by surprise—the FM radio.

Now I can listen to the radio on my commute in to work in the morning. It’s fantastic! Not something I’d ever really thought about much, but having it there makes you suddenly realise how useful it is.

The only downfall so far has been that sending a picture message to the other phone instead produced an SMS with a link to a website where the picture could be viewed. Not really right. And the t-mobile website isn’t exactly helpful on the matter. I’ll ask in the shop on Monday instead.

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Blog Outage, Blame PHP

My blog hasn’t been up and running for the last 24 hours or so. This is because I foolishly decided to upgrade to PHP5. After playing “guess which extensions wordpress-pg needs,” I then got served up a lovely blank page.

But what’s really annoying is that there was no indication at all of anything going wrong in the error log. Or on the browser. Just nothingness. After inserting lots and lots of debug “echo” statements (thankfully I know enough PHP to do that), I eventually tracked the point of stoppage down to a call to pg_fetch_object(). Close inspection of the manual revealed that it had changed how it was called between version 4 and 5. Great backwards compatibility, guys! Removing the last parameter enabled me to get going again though. I just wish I had been able to see an error.

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XML::Schematron

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been updating XML::Schematron. It’s been a few years since the last release and it doesn’t support Schematron 1.5, let alone ISO Schematron.

So, I started hacking on it. Initially, it was to add support for XML::SAX, as a modern XML parsing system, instead of the old PerlSAX (which didn’t really understand namespaces). But then I added support for using XML::LibXML as well. And then I realised that the examples I was using had abstract tests, which weren’t supported, so I added that. And the name element didn’t work, so that got fixed. Just now, I’ve added support for namespace declarations in the ns element. It’s a lot more useful now than it was.

Now I just need to get these changes back to the maintainer, Kip Hampton. Alas, he seems to be away from his email recently. But all the changes are in my repository, so it should be easy to pass them on later as they’re unlikely to get lost. I hope these changes actually makes it back on to CPAN; they’re useful and should make schematron more readily available in Perl, which has got to be a good thing.

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Brighton Kite Festival

Yesterday we visited the Brighton Kite Festival. I took photos and put the set on flickr. But this one was definitely my favourite:

A huge long snake kite.

That kite was probably 15m or longer. A huge snake like thing, it towered over Stanmer park and lit up the sky with its colours.

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XML Schema

I’m looking heavily at schematron at the moment for work. It’s a fascinating tool, in contrast to the usual style of XML validation: DTD, RelaxNG and XML Schema.

Generally, from what I’ve seen of XML Schema, they are to be avoided. But then I saw these messages from Rick Jellife indicating how even the vendors are getting upset with XML Schema. I’m glad my instincts to avoid it after first looking are paying off…