Where Are The Wise Men?

Mike's Ramblings

Build a Path for Elementtree Namespaces

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I really like using [ElementTree][]and it's [lxml][]and [xml.etree][] brethern. But one of my pet peeves is[how it deals with namespaces.][]I understand the reasoning -- it's just difficult and bulky. Combining the syntax of {namespace-uri} with [an XPath-like search string][]can be confusing.

I'm muddling over this while I'm writing yet another utility script to help me with some XML. I stop and decided I'm going to build a help class, wittingly called PathBuilder.

class PathBuilder:

def __init__(self,namespace_uri):

self._template=string.Template("{%s}$tag" %namespace_uri)

return "//"+self._template.substitute(tag=tag)

return ".//"+self._template.substitute(tag=tag)

def children(self,tag):

return self._template.substitute(tag=tag)


My methods above are all that I need at this point, but you can see how to build them all. I can put all my path building knowledge in that class and then just tell it what I want and it will give it to me.

Weight Watchers Mulligatawny

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I know -- I haven't had a recipe or talked about cooking for a long time. But this may make up for it -- Mulligatawny, but the Weight Watcher's version. One cup is one serving. We doubled this and will freeze the rest.

Weight Watchers Mulligatawny


  1. 2 T Canola oil
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 carrot, chopped
  4. 1 celery stalk, chopped
  5. 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  6. 1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  7. 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  8. 2 t curry power
  9. 1/8 t ground mace or nutmeg
  10. 1 whole clove
  11. 2 cups chicken broth
  12. 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  13. 1 t lemon juice
  14. 1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
  15. 1/4 t salt


saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Saute the onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and apple until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, curry, mace, and clove; cook, stirring 1 minute. Gradually stir in the stock. Add the tomato and lemon juice; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Put a stick blender in the soup and puree the chunks of carrot and apple that are left. Add the chicken and salt, heat to serving temperature.

Search, share, and cook your recipes on Mac OS X with [SousChef][]!

Adding Your Custom Fonts to Cygwin's XWin

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I decided to finally make the leap and install Cygwin's XWindows and run Emacs out of that instead of NTEmacs. There wasn't one big thing, but a bunch of little things, including:

If you read between the lines, you see a common theme -- control. In my entire Windows workstation, I have very little control over the environment. In my little Cygwin world, I have almost complete control.

I had installed and used Emacs within Cygwin/X before, but found that it was slow and clusmey. Now they've had a few years to work out the kinks and I have a much more powerful workstation. And so I tried it again. Yep, things are much better! However, I like some of the functionality of Emacs 22 but Cygwin doesn't have Emacs 22 -- they still have Emacs 21 as "stable" and Emacs 23 as experimental! So I jumped through the hoops to install the "unstable" Emacs 23 along with X-windows (XWin, the Cygwin/X world.)

And thus our story begins. Since I now have complete control on one part of my GUI and one of the things I'm picky about is fonts. I like to use [ProggyClean][]and, now, heck I can install it. So I downloaded it, move it to the right file, did the magic "xset fp rehash" and . . . nothing. Nadda. XWin couldn't find it.

I won't depress you with a play-by-play, but this is an overview:

What ended up working was that I added the following to the /usr/bin/startxwin.bat file just before the last command (an xterm, I believe):


%RUN% /usr/bin/xset +fp /cygdrive/h/.fonts &



[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Emacs using Proggy Clean"][![Emacs using Proggy Clean][]][][/caption]

"Emacs using Proggy Clean"

Formatting Date in Lucene Queries

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Little did I know that my adventures with Terracotta would soon require me to dip my toes into [Lucene][]so, you know, [we could actually find the objects in Terracotta.][]

So I had an odd problem where Lucene was only searching by the year. For example, I had an object with the date of 20090915. And so I made my date range as:

datevalue:[19000101 TO 20091231]

And that worked fine. Then I changed the query to:

datevalue:[20090101 TO 20091231]

And it didn't find it! Why not?

Even though it's not spelled out in the documentation, you have to use the [ISO Format for date/time objects.][] So I changed the query to:

datevalue:[2009-01-01 TO 2009-12-31]

And it started working

Using Jython as a Terracotta Command Line

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out how to make it work." The first thing that I need to see if it will work is [Terracotta][]. Terracotta is cool stuff -- more to follow on it later. Probably.

If you know me well enough, or have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I'm a big fan of Python. Well, if I need to figure out how to "make it work" it generally involves [Jython][]. That way, I can open a prompt up and noodle around at the object and see what makes them tick. To me, this could be especially important in Terracotta since you have objects floating around everywhere.

Getting Jython as a command-line interface into a Terracotta cluster is trivial -- almost not worth blogging about. And the result is oh-so cool.

Here is my Jython script. It just imports some common things and a Spring application context, and then get an object from the context. That object contains my Terracotta root object, which means that it stays in sync across my client and server JVM's.

import sys,os

from org.springframework.context.support import ClassPathXmlApplicationContext

if __name__ == '__main__':

ctx = ClassPathXmlApplicationContext("applicationContext.xml")



Not that there isn't anything specific to Terracotta in there -- just like it should be.

I then wrote a shell script to setup my environment and run my Jython script in a Terracotta-instrumented environment. I actually run everything in Windows (unfortunately) so I have some Cygwin magic in there to change the classpath and to run the dso-java.bat in a cmdwindow:


cygstart bin/dso-java.bat -classpath `cygpath -mp $cp` org.python.util.jython -i $1 $2 $3 $4 $5

This allows me to run any script in a Terracotta cluster and then keep a command line open to I can muck around with stuff. Thejython.jar I use is a stand-alone install. I've just found that easier than worrying about where all modules are.

So now I just enter the shell script name with my Jython script as an argument and away I go!

And this works exactly as I expected. I can see the state of the root in the workerobject, update that state in another clustered JVM, and then see that state immediately in my Jython prompt.

I'm sure you can do the same with Groovy, JRUby and their ilk. But I use Jython. It's just how I roll