Tag Archives: ITZone

New Office for SRT!

Big exciting changes for us

For nearly 8 years, Bill and I (and our consultants) have worked in a "virtual" office.  We've worked at client sites and in our home offices, and made extensive use of Skype and IM.  We've used space in coffee shops and at the Ann Arbor ITZone to meet one another and to meet with clients (or just to work in between meetings).  But, that is all coming to an end very soon.  We've leased space in downtown Ann Arbor, enough room for all of us to work.

We have actually been working on this project for a few months, since the ITZone/SPARK merger and new direction was announced (around May).  SPARK's focus is more on startups and venture funded companies.  That leaves small businesses who have a steady growth plan (and no interest in any sort of outside investment) sort of without a home.  It also left the area user groups looking for a new place to meet.  We had also been talking about more face-to-face time and searching for a way to make that happen, for a while meeting at the ITZone.

In a very cool convergence of minds, Bill and I realized simultaneously that we thought an office would be a good idea.  In the past, we have dismissed this idea.  Would either of us REALLY want to go to the office every day?  We're both pretty comfortable in our home offices.  But yes, we decided that we DID want that. We do want to spend time with other developers. We want that interaction and benefit that being able to bounce ideas off of one another can bring.

For years, we had hoped that the ITZone would offer this sort of workplace for small companies like ours.  We talked about how the space at the ITZone could be used as a "Developer Center", a way for people to come and work, maintain focus, pair program, and share insights and ideas. We talked about how this might help us to become "unstuck" when programming problems are vexing.

So, our motivation in getting office space was toward this goal of having this sort of interaction. We're thrilled with the caliber of people we have working with us.  These are people we learn from as well as them learning from us. Providing a space where that interaction can occur naturally and more frequently is really compelling.

And, of course, we strongly support the local user groups. We wanted a space that would provide a place that they could use for meeting space as well. We didn't tour available office space that didn't include a large, open area that could be used for this purpose as well as for our own public events.

Our new location at 206 S. Fifth, Suite 200 (that's just above the Linux Box, for Ann Arbor folks) met all of our needs. We signed the lease yesterday and we hope to move in sometime over the next month or so.  We'll let you know how our plans develop and we look forward to seeing you there!

Will it be SWT or Google Analytics on Tuesday? Or Both?

Tuesday, May 1 Ann Arbor Technical Meetings

It's the first week of the month, and so the Ann Arbor area is hopping with user group meetings.   I already mentioned the AACS meeting (Ruby on Rails), but there are also meetings on Eclipse for SWT Development and Google Analytics at the ITZone.  The Python User Group meeting, which would typically take place on Thursday May 3, is postponed until May 16, for a special event with Stephan Diehl (who will talk about stackless python and pypy).

So here are the meeting announcements for each of the Tuesday night talks.  I guess if you're resourceful, you could attend both, since the Google analytics talk goes until 7 and the Eclipse talk doesn't start until after the open networking at 7 (so probably 7:30)!


At the AAJUG meeting, Carlus Henry speaks on:

Eclipse for SWT Development

Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
Time: 7:00PM – 9:00PM EDT

Open Networking starts at 7 PM.

Meeting Location:
Washtenaw Community College, WCC BE158



I. Introductions
    A. Who am I?
    B. Who are you?
II. Presentation Goals
III. What is SWT
    A. Setting up Eclipse for SWT Development
    B. SWT Demo
VI. What is JFace
    A. JFace Demo
VIII. Eclipse RCP
    A. Case Studies
    B. Demo


At the ITZone, Jeff Gillis introduces and demos Google Analytics, a free web site analytics solution from Google used by web site owners and marketers to better understand their users' experiences, optimize content and track marketing performance. Google Analytics also shows advertisers' data about their AdWords ROI so that they can purchase more appropriate keywords and track Ad Group performance.
Date: Tuesday, May 1, 2007.
Networking starts at 5.
Program 5:30-7.
Costs: Members are free, Nonmembers are $25, and students are $5.
Jeff Gillis – Associate Manager, Google Analytics
Jeff has been with Google for more than three years, working on AdWords operations, and since Google acquired and renamed Urchin, with the Google Analytics team. He focuses on marketing and operations for the service, and is a regular contributor to the official Google Analytics blog (http:// analytics.blogspot.com ). Before joining Google, Jeff was a technical solutions specialist for ParentWatch.com in New York City. He graduated with a BA in Literature from Stanford University.

TurboGears Jam

I’m very excited to announce that Bruce Eckel is going to do a TurboGears Jam in Ann Arbor, Michigan from January 14-16, 2007. That’s a Sunday-Tuesday, which gives people who can’t get time off of work to learn a new technology ample opportunity to pursue it on their own. Bruce is offering pricing based on whether you attend just Sunday or Sunday through Tuesday.

My company, SRT Solutions, here in Ann Arbor, is “on the ground” to help coordinate the event, which will be held at the Ann Arbor ITZone (SPARK Central). Bruce will offer us some guidance and his never-ending Python experience and excitement. Kevin Dangoor (creator of TurboGears) and Mark Ramm (author of the emergent Turbo Gears book: Rapid Web Applications in TurboGears) are Ann Arborites who have expressed interest in attending and participating. I sure hope that they can come!

I can’t wait! Hope to see old friends (you know who you are) and meet new friends at this event! Judging from the turnout at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting last week, where TurboGears was the topic, I’m pretty sure that this is going to be a well-attended event!

AACS Meeting Summary

October 4, 2006

Mark Ramm discussed TurboGears at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting this week. The crowd was mostly unfamiliar with TurboGears, and most were unaware that it was conjured up and written here in Ann Arbor (well, at least originally … it’s open source, so it’s now getting contributions from all over the world).

Most people know about Ruby on Rails, so he contrasted the frameworks a bit. Basically, Rails is a highly integrated, single piece of software. It uses some naming conventions, and if you follow them, things will just line up and work. But the magic can be a bit disconcerting for some. Features are either provided via Rails, or not available within the framework. That’s the beauty and cost of a single piece of software.

TurboGears doesn’t follow naming conventions. It’s a mega web framework. It combines best of breed tools in Python to support web development. This allows for components to be traded out and replaced with newer, better components, if they become available.

The heart of TurboGears centers around the following components:

SQLObject – an Object Relational Mapper

CherryPy – web server: manages request/response cycle

Kid – templating system, xml-based, guarantees well-formed output

MochiKit (pronounced Mo-chee-kit) – library for Javascript/AJAX, making it easier to write clean javascript

Templates can be made to look really simple by using and extending the master.kid file. Actually, you can have several master.kid files, and use appropriately in different parts of the application.

For deployment, the easiest path is in using CherryPy, proxying with IIS or Apache (using mod_proxy or mod_rewrite). You can also use mod_python, but Mark sees the other options as simpler.

Webfaction has good shared hosting for TurboGears apps. Currently, their control panel only creates 0.8.9 TurboGears apps, but if you ask the webfaction staff will send instructions about installing the newly released 1.0b1 for use with webfaction. They also help to support the TurboGears project.

From a commercial licensing standpoint, there are no hindrances to using TurboGears. It uses the very liberal BSD-style license, which allows you to write applications using TurboGears for commercial use.

Widgets are provided, to reduce work for the developer. Kid produces designer-friendly templates, that can be edited in programs like Dreamweaver without perturbing the python constructs (since Dreamweaver ignores them), but allowing the designer to see placeholders when testing layout without running a web server.

A question from the audience asked Mark to compare with ASP.NET. Basically, he said that you can do anything in ASP.Net that you can do in TurboGears but that you will have to write more code in ASP.NET. Maybe we will see some head-to-head comparisons at CodeMash in January.

Future Directions in TurboGears:

1.SQLAlchemy will replace SQLObject as the default object relational mapper in the future. It does everything that SQLObject does, and more. Needs a bit more work to simplify the definition to match that of SQLObject
2.Genshi will replace Kid as the default templating system. It uses pretty much the same syntax but is about 40% faster.

Documentation options:

1.Mark’s book (Rapid Web Applications with TurboGears) is going to be published in November. Half of the book is now available, on Safari Rough Cuts.
2.The latest issue of Linux Magazine has an article on TurboGears, written by Mark Ramm. It doesn’t appear that it’s available online. Here’s a summary of that article: http://compoundthinking.com/blog/index.php/2006/09/22/turbogears-in-linux-magazine/
3.TurboGears DVD contains screencasts and can be purchased on the TurboGears website.
4.Docs are available on the TurboGears website.

Examples of high traffic sites that run TurboGears:

www.diggdot.us: Combines Digg, slashdot, and de.licio.us into a unified format

www.rpath.com : Linux software appliance company

Next month at AACS: Scott Collins, from the Mozilla project, talking about the design and application of programming languages.