Pro Bono On The Accounting Side…

October 10, 2007

Maintaining a site for keeping lecture notes and solutions to exercises and problems takes about eight to twelve hours a week. That’s because a lot of new pages need to be set up,  prepped for the first time. It could could go down to eight hours a week as things move forward.

In tandem with maintenance, I’ve also set up a database backend specifically for the exercises. What this basically means is I’ve partially created a database-backend app with a web front-end for automating some of the accounting procedures. It’s not up-and-running yet, but it will be ready in the coming week or two.

I’ll open this project to the public once it is ready. This one is going to be Pro-Bono (free) as this will greatly help me in my studies, going forward. So, if you want a free-ride on your accounting system, especially if you’re a mom-and-pop store, a team-operating-on-a-dime, or even a smallbiz who wants to save that penny. My suggestion is to get on this project once it is ready.

I’ll take care of the nut-and-bolts, you basically plug-in the numbers and run reports. That’s basically the deal. It’s as easy as any accounting firm, except this one is free.

Send me an email, if you’re curious enough to know what’s going-on behind this weblog, though.

 OK, see you later.


Adobe Flex Development On Ubuntu Linux

May 13, 2007

Adobe Flex is an API that works in tandem with Flash 9 player, is available as an SDK. There is a free version of the SDK that allows you to develop Flex applications. You can get the SDK from the download section and install it in your development directory. The SDK contain two sets of development tools that target two platforms: Linux and Windows. You can code and test in Windows or choose a flavor of Linux, remember to simply run the appropriate compiler to get the output file generated.

If you’re interested to know more about setting-up a Flex development environment in Linux, please read-on as I’ll document the steps needed to get you up-and-running.

From here on, you’ll be seeing concrete examples that might confuse you if you’re not familiar with what I’m describing. For example, Ubuntu will be used as a reference OS and that might confuse non-Ubuntu developers. If that’s the case, you can still follow-through and try to relate them to your familiar environment.

Let’s start with what tools are needed to setup the environment.

  1. Ubuntu 7
  2. Adobe Flex SDK (free version)
  3. Java JRE
  4. Firefox

We’re now ready to assemble the parts. Here we go.

Ubuntu

I chose Ubuntu as a reference for this article. The reason behind for choosing Ubuntu is a subjective one and I’m not going to go there explaining why. This is one of the benefits of having to participate in Freedom Culture.

I’ve set up the latest version known as Feisty Fawn and you can get a free copy from www.Ubuntu.com , download a copy and install, you should be OK to follow the next step.

Flex SDK

The free version of Flex SDKis available from Adobe Flex Download. Download the package and install it in your development directory.

  1. Click download to start download.
  2. Save package in ~/Packages.
  3. Expand downloaded package in ~/Packages/flex
  4. For every build.sh file add the following text shown in the code box.
  5. That’s it.

Setting the path to Java JRE instead of the default Java that came with Ubuntu.

#code box
export JAVA_HOME=~/Packages/jre
export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games

If this approach doesn’t appeal to you, there is another method you can do and that is simply add the setting to ~/.bashrc instead.
Java JRE

Java developers may find this one optional as they already have Java JRE installed. In my case, I don’t code Java so I had to download the JRE from http://www.Sun.com, that’s definitely an extra step. One thing I found out when I was testing the sample files, the Java that came installed in Ubuntu didn’t work, that’s why you need to get a working version for Flex SDK.

  1. Download Java JRE from http://www.sun.com
  2. Install in ~/Packages/jre/

At this point, you can now compile the sample files located in ~/Packages/flex/samples/ directory. Simply navigate to the directory and run the shell script build.sh and you’ll see the output files with the extension .swf, you can drop the swf file onto a browser and it will render once it gets loaded.

Firefox

This is the last step to get you going. Flex is browser dependent and mostly all testing will be done using a browser. In Ubuntu’s case, the Firefox browser is already installed and accessible from the desktop toolbar.

Conclusion

At this point, your Flex development environment is already set up. And if you count how much they cost to get these tools installed you will be surprised they are free as in beer.

Thanks for reading if you’ve reach this far.

Addendum: by the way, check out the Flex SDK website for more information on developing applications using the Flex SDK


GTK WebCore

May 12, 2007

GTK-WebCore, a project about porting Apple WebKit to GTK is now up-and-running on my Ubuntu 7 wobbly desktop.

The codebase is still small compared to Moz and others, although the current trunk does not have all the features needed to make it feature-compatible.

WebCore

Anyway, the codebase is now building on my devel box which is a really a big task by itself, setting-up the dependencies in order to get the trunk compiling.

First Class Browser Elements

This is really not an issue and it is best handled by standards what features go where, and stuff like when these features go marching-in into the code. I’m all for that simply because it creates a stable condition.

That’s probably why we have these projects like gtk-webcore. Innovators or simply those with so much time on their hands could play with outrageous concepts like making some objects first class browser elements.

The implications for those who grok these concepts are wide-ranging. You, my dear reader will probably nod in agreement how cool these ideas are, there is no doubt about it, gtk-webcore does have that potential to provide a big playground, a fertile ground for innovators to play in.

First class elements are basically protected by a standard. Imagine the chaos of not having a standard on how elements get rendered, it would not become a platform for users, though.

There is a need to have a balance between those who add elements to the browser and the ones who protect them. The process alone may not look like a walk-in-the-park, but the resulting product based on a moving standard could benefit a lot.


One Terabyte Load-And-Query Perf Test

May 7, 2007

Let me start with how much space is one terabyte. According to this webpage, one terabyte is about 1024 gigabytes; so let’s say that would be about four 256GB disks if you buy them from BestBuy, or ones they sell now you can get two 512GB disks currently selling at Fry’s. For a home enthusiast/hobbyist, buying two 512GB disks would be the right choice for a homebrew PC box. Stick it in the two bays, plug the cables and let Ubuntu take care of it. That’s pretty much it, got it squared-away.

512GB Disk

I’m going to the next point now and that is about data sourcing. The web is basically a network of data, a vast collection of whatever-you-wanna-call-it is right there sitting on the web. It’s just there, wow! Imagine the wealth of information you can get from that vast sea, ocean or even celestial data space. Man! that is simply awesome, mind-blowing just thinking about that great number of data. So yeah, data is up there waiting to be mined. That is the source, pure unadulterated wide-open wealth of knowledge right at your doorstep.

Here’s my third point, I’m going to relate the first paragraph to the second paragraph and it will go something like a data processing system on your home machine. All I got is one terabyte of empty space, waiting to be populated with collected data from the Great Web. I’m guessing one terabyte is enough to perform a simple experiment required to generate a very interesting report which may or may not have any value to anyone, except me. The resulting output definitely has a huge potential because I believe in this truism that “the perfect data is the one you have never seen yet.” Casting a big wide net to the web and hauling it over to a one terabyte space for processing will definitely capture that hidden gem. The most important part of the process is performing thing this called synthesis, which would even refine it a cleaner version.

This is my closing for this entry. Some of the tools are already in place, I just got it working yesterday, enough to proceed and carry-on to the next level of test. Although, I may have to cough-up some dough for the 1024GB disk as they are not cheap. 500GB disk is still pretty expensive compared to 160GB, though. It is definitely quite an investment for that small experiment I’d like to perform. Drive and Redland will be the ones doing the heavy lifting.


Ubuntu Desktop, Webservices, DOM, RDF

May 6, 2007

MyDesktop

Setting-up the webservice wasn’t easy. It took me a good number of hours figuring out how this thing will land on a user home directory. Simply following a concept of having a separate HTTP server specifically for the desktop can provide a good separation, a layer between other HTTP programs was in order.

A new directory was created to house the webservice server, located at ~/webservice. The test webservice program finally ran in the late afternoon. One problem I did encounter was correctly setting-up an Ubuntu launcher icon capable of launching the server. I tried many times without success, though the server went up without any problems when started from inside a shell.

That’s only one piece of puzzle already in-place. The remaining pieces are still out there in the wild. But they will be added later, time permitting.

Design

Basically, here is what I’m after.

  1. A desktop webservice – provide a set of services covering the desktop.
  2. An Object Model – an object model exposed to javascript and the CLR.
  3. An Entity-like client – code resides behind a URL, delivered via HTTP, then instantiated by a browser-like program, similar to Entity.
  4. RDF enabled – an agent residing behind the server. Connected to an Object Model and is reachable via Javascript and the CLR.