Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.


So I borrowed my roomate's copy of "Python, Essential Reference" by David Beazley to see how it stackes up against O'Reillys "Python Standard Library", and I can say without a doubt that Essential Reference is the book that Standard Library should have been but wasn't.

Those that know me have probably been witness to my loathing of O'Reillys aweful Python books (with the exception of "Learning Python"). Standard Library covered it's bases, but I couldn't ever really think of it as a step up from the online documentation for Python. Essential Reference on the other hand is exactly what I want. It has COMPLETE attribute and fuction listings, reference tables that make sense, and sample code that illustrates things in a useful way. I may keep the Standard Library book, but I intend to buy myself a copy of Essential Reference ASAP.


Last night I checked in support for attributes in netWindow's generic parser routine. I've since updated almost all of the widgets and sample pages. While not exactly enthralling, this improvement should both make inline widgets much more legible and easier to use. A substantial side benefit of this change is that for widgets like the tree viewer the use of attributes in place of sub elements can speed up processing times by an order of magnitude by reducing the depth of recursion. All in all, a very good thing for the project.

DHTML Article on DevX

My DHTML article for is up!


The Konqueror folks have just earned my undying respect. Yesterday I decided that I should try to figure out exactly what portions of NW were in fact working on Konqueror.

After a couple of hours of hacking I can report that most widgets work flawlessly on Konqueror 2.99 and performance is more than acceptable. I honestly thought I'd have to wait another 6 months before we would be able to support Konqueror, but last night's hack proves otherwise. Konqueror 2.2.2 appears to be a lost cause, but I think this is something of a non-issue.

To make your netWindows installations work with Konqueror, grab the lastest CVS code for the main codebase and change all instances of the special attribute "__element_definition" to "eldef" in your netWindows pages, and you're good to go.

I love Open Source.


To my astonishment, the majority of the netWindows core scripts function without problem on Konqueror 2.99. That's a long way from having widgets and a content loading system that work on that browser, but it's a couple hundred percent more than I expected to be functional. Guess it's proof that if you code defensively and work with the standards your code will be viable in places you couldn't envision it. And those are types of applications that tend to really matter, the ones we don't think about.

Today I also discovered that in the JS debugger (Venkman) build included in Mozilla 0.9.9, there is a profiling option. The profiling information it kicks out is super useful for understanding what takes how long and why. I can tell already that it's going to be absolutely invaluable in tweaking 0.3.0.

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