Simply Jonathan

Archive for January 2007

Roger Waters – Perfect sense, part 1

And the Germans killed the Jews
And the Jews killed the Arabs
And the Arabs killed the hostages
And that is the news

On abbreviations

Jeremy Keith touches on the subject of abbreviations. One of the things I’ve always wondered when watching American television and reading American blogs, is how natural it seems to abbreviate people’s names. One of my favorite shows, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, even has the anchorman’s nickname in the title. That’s strange. Sure, I’ve had nicknames and such, but I’ve never introduced me by my nickname, and no one has ever presented me to others by my nickname. Awfully strange! is the right way to do it

When I first started to learn Python, it was actually so I could learn Django, which I could use at GMTA.

And I did learn Django, and I do occasionally use it while at work. At home, however, I’ve found that I like Aaron much better. is a minimalistic web framework. It has a built-in templating system, a database abstraction layer, some general utilities, and that’s about it. It doesn’t come with an administration interface — which I by the way think is a pretty silly idea. (The built-in administration interface, not that doesn’t include it.)

It gets out of my way. It lets me write the code I want to. It comes with the things I don’t want to have to write: database management and templating. Other than that, I’d really like to write the code myself. The smaller a code base, the easier it must be to write the documentation. But this is where the irony kicks in…

Django is well-renowned for having an extensive and wonderful online documentation. Down to the smallest class method, everything seems to be documented in Django. And while does have an API documentation with good examples, the overall documentation seems pretty insufficient. Unless you do read that API, there’s a lot of the nuances with the template system especially, that go lost.

But what is essential is what you can accomplish. With, I’ve been able to write a publishing system in one day. Granted, it needs polishing. And it lacks critical features. But the essential thing — the publishing — is ready. Sure, I could do this in PHP, too, but the code’s prettier, better separated, and it was more fun writing.

Although the URL mapping system is pretty loose and can make way for some really stupid combinations. (It’s basically just a tuple with pairs of values, the first one being the url to match, the next one being the handler). An example:

urls = (
    '/(\d+)', 'number',
    '/(.+)', 'else'

This is pretty readable. But I could write it like this:

urls = (

    'number', '/(.+)',


All of a sudden, it becomes pretty much less readable. The faq has this to say on the matter:

Why are the urls just one long list?
If they were a dictionary, they wouldn’t be ordered. If it was a list of tuples, then it’d be a lot more typing.

Sure, it would be more typing to have a list of tuples (I don’t think it would be that much, though), but less code is only useful if it doesn’t obscure the code. This liberal urls-scheme can do that, which is unfortunate. [Update 2007-02-08: I fixed it]

Another problem I find with is its own templating system. I don’t mind that Aaron has built his own, and I know that I could just switch to Cheetah if I wanted to, but I decided to try it out anyway. And unless I’ve just made an error — it does happen, you know — it doesn’t seem to allow use of Python’s built-in functions. Case in point: I was trying to check for the length of a list with Python’s len(). (What I was trying to do is achievable in Python without checking for the length, but one thing I learned with PHP is it’s “not right” to just check the variable, when what you really want to do, is check the length. I also find it makes the code clearer, if I explicitly state what I would like to know — Python is all about being explicit, isn’t it?) However, what I got back was a NameException, since “len” wasn’t defined. Okay, it’s true, I didn’t have it in my $def with() — but is that really necessary. Or is just trying to avoid having its users write real Python in the template? (That is a good idea, just wished they would have told me.)

But enough with the ramblings, this is a 0.2 release, after all. And this is a cute little package. As said earlier, it gets out of my way and comes with the minimum necessary requirements. I’ve never been too fond of the idea that you create a class for every page you have, but the POST and GET methods of classes seem to be a good way to make the best of this convention.

Oh well, what more is there to say? It’s a little rough around the edges, but I like it.

And about that publishing system I wrote, I don’t know if I’ll be using it, but it could possibly be one that take over the administration of this blog. It needs a lot of work still, though. But it could be.

Nick Cave – Where the Wild Roses Grow

They call me the Wild Rose, but my name was Elisa Day.
Why they call me that I do not know; for my name was Elisa Day.


I just uploaded version 0.1 of a project I’ve been playing with for a while — ScoreTable.

It’s a project I’ve wanted to do for years now, actually. (It hasn’t been necessary, and that’s probably why I haven’t gotten around to do it before now.) It’s a little app that works by you adding results, and it then calculates the points, scores, etc. and creates a ranking table. At this point it’s optimised for football (soccer), but if you change the point scale, I guess you can use it for most sport disciplines, that use some sort of league.

There’s a todo — in Danish, though — at pyhacker (my python-related site for tips, tricks, code, etc.), for what I need to get around to, and if you have any suggestions on how to speed it up — I haven’t really tested the speed of it — improve the code for clarity or new features, feel free to chime in. I’m still rather new to Python.

Placebo – Follow the Cops Back Home

Let’s follow the cops back home, rob their houses.

This is Simply Jonathan, a blog written by Jonathan Holst. It's mostly about technical topics (and mainly the Web at that), but an occasional post on clothing, sports, and general personal life topics can be found.

Jonathan Holst is a programmer, language enthusiast, sports fan, and appreciator of good design, living in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe. He is also someone pretentious enough to call himself the 'author' of a blog. And talk about himself in the third person.