Category Archives : Morning Coffee


Afternoon Coffee 174

You know, this gets pretty long when I go a week between morning coffee posts.

Dynamic Language Stuff

Other Stuff

  • Don Syme blogs about an update to the F# CTP, a mere week after the original release. One week? That’s more often than even IPy releases. I can’t wait to see what they ship in next week’s release! :) Seriously, I hope they can keep the release sprints short, but every week would be a bit crazy!
  • Speaking of F#, Matt Podwysocki updates FsTest for the F# CTP and posts about Extension Everything in F#. Unlike C#, which only supports extension methods, F# also supports extensions properties, static methods and events, though like Matt I can’t think of a good use for extension events.
  • Still speaking about F#, Andrew Kennedy has a threepartseries on the new units of measure feature of F#. If you were going to use F# to build the physics engine of a game, I would suspect UoM would be extremely useful. (via Don Syme)
  • Oh look, Chris Smith built an F# version of artillery game that uses Units of Measure for the physics code. I’ll bet UoM was extremely useful. :)
  • Talking about Live Mesh at TechEd Australia – where much to my surprise frankly they were demoing Live Mesh Apps – I pointed out to Scott Hanselman that Mesh is running an embedded CoreCLR (aka the same CLR from Silverlight 2). Scott went poking around and posted what he discovered. Looking forward to finding out what he digs up on using CoreCLR outside the browser.
  • Speaking of Scott, I need to set up a family video conference solution like Scott’s before my next trip.
  • Congrats to Glenn Block and the MEF team for their initial CodePlex source drop! I’ve been hearing about this possibility since Glenn joined the team, so I’m really excited to see it happen. I need to take a look at it in detail (in my copious spare time) because I want to find out how to make it work with IPy.
  • Bart de Smet has a whole series (starting here) on Dynamic Expression Trees. However, given that he specifically writes “This blog series is not about DLR itself” makes it seem pretty conceptual to me. Why not talk about DLR expression trees instead Bart?
  • I’m sure you noticed ASP.NET MVC preview 5 dropped last week. I really liked Brad Wilson’s discussion of the new view engine design.
  • Tomas Restrepo has started publishing his source code on GitHub. Personally, I haven’t published any source code lately but I am using Git for all of my non IPy core work (which is stored in TFS). Like Tomas, I’m still getting the hang of Git but I’m really digging it’s speed, it’s branching and the fact that there’s zero infrastructure requirements. SVN provides the lightweight svnserve, but Git is even lighter weight than that.
  • I liked Steve Yegge’s post on typing. I am a touch typer, but I doubt I type 70 words a minutes. I do know where the number keys are without looking though, so I guess that’s pretty good. I remember seeing Chris Anderson demo Avalon WPF long before it was public and being impressed at how fast he could type.

Morning Coffee 173

I’m on my way out the door for New Zealand and Australia, but I wanted to push out a few things.

  • F# August September CTP is out! Don Syme has the announcement, Jomo Fisher has the link roundup and details are on the brand-spanking-new MSDN F# Dev Center. Major congrats to the F# team. I’ve been running a pre-release version of these bits, and they are a huge step forward if you’re an F# developer.
  • I’ve got an article on IronPython in the latest issue of CoDe magazine. Also check out Brad Wilson’sIronRuby article, Ted Neward’sF# article and Neil Ford’sPolygot Programming article.
  • Via Michael Foord I discovered that IronPython tester Dave Fugate is back on the blog. He starts with a couple of posts about measuring IronPython performance.
  • Speaking of blogging teammates, I think the dynamic languages team has the highest percentage of bloggers in any group at MSFT. All four Program Managers (Dave (lead), John, Jimmy and me), four of five developers (Shri (lead), Dino, Curt and Oleg) and all three Testers (Jim, Dave and Srivatsn). The only non blogger right now is Tomas – who at least has a home page – and  the lead tester which is an open position right now. 11 bloggers out of 12 team members equals 91.67% team blogger coverage.
  • I was really impressed with Newspeak when I saw it at Lang.NET so I’m very excited to see they have a new website. No public bits yet, but I like the part where they point out Newspeak “can be implemented independently of Squeak, Smalltalk or any particular VM or IDE”. How about implementing a version on DLR guys?
  • Maurice de Beijer shows off embedding IronPython inside a WF application. Kinda cool, but he’s primarily showing off implementing a CLR interface in IPy. How about a WF activity that execute arbitrary IPy code. That would be cool. (via IronPython URLs)
  • Ironclad has reached their 0.5 milestone, being able to import numpy from IronPython. BTW, guys – I’m not sure commenting out one line that appears to be unreferenced qualifies as a “monstrous caveat”. Congrats guys! (via IronPython URLs)

Morning Coffee 172

  • I took the kids to see Fly Me To The Moon recently. We had to trek to Monroe (about 30 minutes away) because it’s a special 3D movie, and it was only playing there and in downtown Seattle. The movie’s story is insipid – three flies stow away on Apollo 11 – but all the space shots were actually kinda cool. It sure felt like they wanted to be scientifically and historically accurate about the the actual mission (well, other than the part about the flies). Patrick really liked it (he wants to build a rocket in the back yard) and Riley sat thru the whole thing with a minimum of fussing.
  • I’m a big fan of Joe Biden, so I’m really happy Obama picked him to be his running mate.
  • I know it’s old news but what the frak was John Edwards thinking? I like his policies, but the arrogance it takes to run for president when you know you’ve got that skeleton in your closet is mind-boggling.
  • On the other hand, watching the Sean Hannity and guest’s hypocrisy on Edwards’ affair, only to watch them scramble like cockroaches when Colmes points out McCain had admitted to having an affair was frakking hilarious.

OK, onto geek stuff:

  • My new boss Dave Remy has moved to a new blog. If you’re curious what he was up to for the 10 months he was away from Microsoft, he’s happy to share.
  • IPy and IRuby developer Curt Hagenlocher (aka Iron Curt) is blogging. Cue the Ozzy…I AM IRON CURT. Or don’t. Anyway, he dives in the deep end of the pool – no “hello world” lollyblogging for Iron Curt – digging into the stack implications of rethrowing exceptions and debugging emitted IL.
  • Srivatsn writes about static compilation of IPy scripts. Note, we’re not talking about static typing – it’s still the same good-old dynamically typed IronPython, just packaged up as an assembly, rather than as a bunch of .py files. Note, if you’re interested in compiling IronPython, you should check out the PYC sample we published as part of Beta 4.
  • Speaking of IPy Beta 4, Shri Borde posts about the COM dispatch support which is enabled by default as of Beta 4. If you’re driving COM automation clients (like Office) from IPy, this is a huge improvement over the old mechanism.
  • Jeff Hardy has released a new version of NWSGI, a managed version of Python’s Web Service Server Gateway Interface. My understanding is that this would allow any Python web stack written against WSGI to run in IIS with IronPython (subject to IronPython’s compatibility with CPython). Jeff’s been documenting his efforts getting Django running with NWSGI on his blog. Awesome work Jeff! (Thanks for the correction Seo!)
  • I never really bought into the “Attention Economy”, but Chris Anderson’s economic analysis of his DIY Drones site traffic was fascinating.
  • Lutz announces “it is time to move on” from Reflector and there was a collective horrified scream in the .NET community. He’s handing it over to Red Gate, who promised they “will continue to offer the tool for free to the community”.
  • I missed this when he posted it in June, but I really liked Nikhil Kothari use of the DLR in Silverlight to cut down on the XAML verbosity in his ViewModel action binding.
  • Brian McNamara previews the new Add Reference and file ordering support in the upcoming F# CTP. I’m really looking forward to the project-to-project reference support. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten burned because my main project recompiled but my test project didn’t. You just get used to hitting Rebuild All instead of Build. As for file ordering, it’s a bit of a bummer that F# requires it, but the new experience is hella better than editing the project file by hand. I’m really looking forward to the new CTP.

Morning Coffee 171

  • Big news for IronRuby out of OSCON. John and Jim have the details. Congrats to the IronRuby folks on reaching these milestones and paving the way for others (i.e. IPy) to follow some of the same paths.
  • One of those OSCON announcements, is a project my teammate Jimmy Schementi has been working on: Silverline, which “let’s you write Rails code that can run on the client“.
  • Shri Borde – the dev manager for IPy, IRuby and F# – tackles a tricky subject of static compilation of dynamic Python code. This came up on the mailing list recently as one of the outstanding requests for IPy to do is support custom attributes, which requires static compilation. Shri lays out some of the big issues with this approach. However, the community has been fairly clear on this, so it’s obviously something we need to look at.
  • I met someone from MS Research at the MS Product Fair who pointed me to the Institute for Personal Robots in Education, a joint effort between Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr College and sponsored by Microsoft Research. Their Myro software (myro == my robot) is written in CPython, but there’s an effort underway (aka Miro 3.0) to build a .NET version that uses IronPython. Must investigate.
  • Seshadri shows how easy it is to extend C# types in IronPython. It’s also shows how simple it is to host DLR code in your app – it’s like 6 lines of code!
  • Early reviews of IronPython in Action are good.  
  • If you want to run an IronPython IDE in your browser with Silverlight, check out SilverShell from Dan Eloff.
  • The XNA team has announced their business plans for community games. Basically, you set a price point between 200 and 800 points (aka between $2.50 and $10) and receive a “baseline” of 70% of the revenue the game generates. More details are available in the FAQ. This is pretty excited. I’d like to build some co-op kids games.
  • Speaking of XNA, Caligari is now offering TrueSpace 7.6 for free . David Weller and Glenn Wilson provide an XNA viewpoint on the announcement, Chris Pendleton shows how to upload your models to VirtualEarth.
  • Congrats to the CodePlex team on their latest drop, which features that a cool new feature – Mailing Lists! IronPython has had a Mailman mailing list for years, so I’m not sure we’ll use this feature on IPy, but I’ll investigate it
  • Two PDC notes: First, Rick Rashid – VP of MS Research – will be delivering a PDC keynote. Second, the PDC team has put up a video podcast on Producing a Ginormous Conference in 10 Minutes or Less! It’s the “inaugural episode” so watch for more Countdown to PDC video podcast episodes in the future.
  • I recently discovered Chris Smith’s F# blog. He’s got recent posts on Mastering F# Lists and Guidelines for Readable F# code. For the F# novice, check out his F# in 20 Minutes posts (part one, part two)
  • Pat Helland is moving to the SQL team. Good luck Pat!
  • I like Nick Malik’s formal definition of use cases, but I can’t help be reminded of Charlie Alfred’s Value-Driven Architecture article in Architecture Journal 5 where he said use cases were “easy to teach and explain” but that “if simplicity were the only goal that counted, we’d all still be walking or riding horses to get from one place to another.”

Five Minutes Past Noon Coffee 170

  • Ben Hall announcesIronEditor, a simple dev tool for IronPython and IronRuby. Pretty nice, though fairly simplistic (as Ben readily admits). For example, it doesn’t have an interactive mode, only the ability to execute scripts and direct the output to IronEditor’s output window. However, it is a good start and I’m sure it’ll just get better. One thing he’s apparently considering is a Silverlight version. (via Michael Foord)
  • Speaking of “Iron” tools, Sapphire Steel have had an IronRuby version (in alpha) of their Ruby in Steel product for several months now. I wonder if John’s had a chance to play with it.
  • Speaking of John, the ASP.NET MVC / IronRuby prototype he talked about @ TechEd is now available on ASP.NET MVC Preview 4 via Phil Haack.
  • Ted Neward has an article exploring the IronPython VS Integration sample that ships in the VS SDK. As I mentioned the other day, we’re starting working on a production quality implementation of VS Integration for IPy.
  • Ophir Kra-Oz (aka Evil Fish) blogs Python for Executives. I like his “Risk, Recruiting, Performance and Maturity” model – four boxes, perfect for keeping an executive’s attention! :) Plus Ophir has some nice things to say about IronPython. (via Michael Foord)
  • Ronnie Maor blogs an extension method for PythonEngine to make Eval simpler. I especially like how he uses string format syntax so you can dynamically generate the code to eval. I wonder what this would look like in IPy 2.0 with DLR Hosting API. (via IronPython URLs)
  • Speaking of DLR Hosting, Seshadri has another great DLR hosting post, this time hosting IPy inside of VS08 so you can script VS08 events (document saved, window created, etc) with Python.
  • Justin Etheredge has a bunch of IronRuby posts – Getting IronRuby Up and Running, Running Applications in IronRuby, Learning Ruby via IronRuby and C# Part 1. (via Sam Gentile)
  • Don Syme links to several F# related posts by Ray Vernagus, though he’s apparently also experimenting with IronRuby. I’m really interested in his Purely Functional Data Structures port to F#.
  • Speaking of F#, Brian has a teaser screenshot of F# upcoming CTP. However, he chooses the New Item dialog to tease, which looks pretty much like the current new item dialog (the new one does have fewer F# templates). However, if you look in the Solution Explorer, you’ll notice a real “References” node. No more #I/#R! Yeah!
  • The interactive graphic in Kevin Kelly’s One Machine article is fascinating. It really highlights that the vast vast vast majority of power, storage, CPU cycles and RAM come from personal computers on the edge. Even in bandwidth, where PC’s still have the highest share but it looks to be around 1/3rd, the aggregate of all edge devices (PCs, mobile phones, PDAs, etc.) still dominates the data centers.