Of course you have an API!

The following is a dramatization of actual events.

“I need access to these reports.”

“Well, here they are, in the UI.”

“But I need programmatic access.”

“We don’t have an API yet.”

“Fine, I’ll scrape this… Wait… This is Flex. Wait, let me just run Charles… Flex is talking to the back-end using AMF. So what do you mean you don’t have an API? Of course you do — it is AMF. A little PyAMF script will do the trick.”

“Please don’t show it to anyone!”

P. S. That little script was still running (in “stealth production”) months, if not years, later.

Java-to-Python converter

“Anything that can be done, could be done ‘meta'” (© Charles Simonyi) is right up there with “Laziness, impatience and hubris” (© Larry Wall) as pithy description of my development philosophy. Also, unfortunately, there’s another one: “Once it’s clear how toproceed, why bother to proceed” (or something like that). So, with that in mind…

I wanted a Python client library for GData (thankfully, they released
one last week
, so this is moot — good!), so I thought of automagically converting the Java library to Python. I tried Java2Python, but it’s based on ANTLR grammar for Java 1.4, and the library, of course, is in Java 5. As I was relearning ANTLR and writing all these actions by hand (the pain!), I took a break and found
Java 1.5 parser with AST generation and visitor suport by Julio Gesser (no relation,
I presume?) and Sreenivasa Viswanadha, based on JavaCC. Aha! Much easier… But then, of course, Google releases the Python version of the library I needed in the first place, so I don’t bother wrapping this project up… Here it is for whoever wants it: http://code.google.com/p/j2p/.

Continuous integration with code coverage in Python


This code has been integrated into the main tree.

I decided it would be good to have a coverage report of our Python code,
with nice visualization like Clover.

So I took Ron Smith’s PyAntTasks, and added py-cover task to them. This will run coverage for every test, and a cumulative one. In other words, you can see what code a particular test exercises, and what code all the tests in your tree exercise.

This also modifies py-test task to include packagedtests attribute – see below.

The newly added py-cover task runs Ned Batchelder’s coverage.py (download it separately), and is specified as follows in your build.xml:




Here, is a FileSet specifying tests to run, is a FileSet specifying source code to cover.
The attributes are:

  • reportsDir – where the coverage reports go
  • packagedtests – this idiosyncrasy is prompted by our tree setup. If this attribute is true it means that the test files reside in Python packages, false otherwise. (In our case, they do not; they are in the tree but are not packages. Note that the original py-test task assumed they are in packages, I have changed this too).
  • coverage – path to coverage.py on your system (which you downloaded separately, right?)

P.S. I know about the colorize.py thingie, but I rolled my own (uglier, of course) for this one.

It’s Friday…


Evaluating expressions in PyDev (Eclipse plug-in for Python)

I use PyDev because, probably like many, I am used to Eclipse for Java development. What I found useful is highlighting a snippet (expression) in a debug session and doing Ctrl+Shift+D to evaluate it, and  I miss this in PyDev. A crude workaround  is to add this expression to Watch list, but that grows the Watch list and is not convenient: I not only have to do right-click Watch and then look in the Watch list, but also may need to scroll that list, and remove things, etc. That’s not what I am used to. So I threw together a crude implementation of it.

The change is in the org.python.pydev.debug project:

  1. Added
    EvalExpressionAction class to org.python.pydev.debug.ui.actions package.
  2. Changed the plugin.xml
    thus includes two additional bundles in Require-Bundle: field: org.eclipse.core.expressions and org.eclipse.jdt.debug.ui. (Well, the second one is only for the second keystroke – “persisting” the value in the Display view, and only because I was lazy at this point. But also, since this thing relies on other org.eclipse.jdt stuff, I figured it’s not a big deal).

    Another problem here is that I couldn’t figure out how to do Ctrl+Shift+D the second time for persisting; so Ctrl+Shift+D works to display in a popup, and Ctrl+Shift+S does the persisting. (The choice of “S” is since when I press Ctrl+Shift+D my index finger is on D and so it’s easy and fast to use the middle finger to press S immediately :). But that still is close to what I am used to blindly press. People get used to all sorts of weird keystrokes and go out of their way to reproduce them in their new environment, just witness viPlugin for  Eclipse.

Of course, as I went to announce this on the list, I saw that PyDev already has a slightly different mechanism for that. O well, at least this way still saves me some keystrokes and I learned that the Console view is also a Python shell. (That’s cause I never RTFM)… But at least I was not the only one

So anyway, this seems to work in my environment; just unzip into the Eclipse folder – and do so at your own risk…