Month: December 2015
I haven’t done anything that could properly be called web development since about 2002, when I took a college course in it. There have been a few developments in the field since then, and I’m a little rusty.
I chose Flask, because I like python and because Django seems like overkill for what I’m doing. There are literally dozens of frameworks out there, and I imagine some people know and care about the differences between them. If I had comments enabled, they’d be yelling at me to switch to Django right now. Hence, no comments.
Installing Flask is easy on Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install python-flask
I copied the Flask “hello world” from the Flask page, ran it with
which got me the expected result, a web server running on port 5000 with a “Hello World” message.
My plan for this web app is to have users be able to visit some page, and the page will contain an image of a snowflake, generated from the url they used to visit. That’s it, but over on Facebook, my post about generating snowflakes from people’s names made people go just about nuts asking for them. Rather than generate them myself, I figured I’d write a web app.
Flask is a joy to work with. In debug mode, it detects changes to the file that contains the currently running app, and restarts when that file changes. It also presents a traceback and interactive debugger if something goes wrong in your app (it goes without saying that this needs to NEVER reach production, since it’s an interactive python shell on your server).
At this point, I have the core functionality of the app together, and I’m not even done with my beer. I can visit a URL, and a snowflake image gets generated from that URL. Everything else is details, and then deployment.
A couple of downloads later, the image now gets converted to png, and served back to the user as an image in a page. Soon, deployment!
Six months ago, I designed a schematic and circuit board in KiCad. Yesterday, I tried to open it and got a list of errors so long that it didn’t fit on my screen from top to bottom. The reason is that KiCad loads the footprints of the parts you use from Github, so when (not if) the KiCad devs change how they store footprints, your install of KiCad breaks. In other words, installing KiCad gives the KiCad devs permission to break your workflow for no reason.
I fixed my KiCad package list by writing a little python script that goes through the KiCad github repo and generates a new footprint list based on however they happen to be organized and whatever they happen to be called today. Copy that over my previously working footprint list, and the error message went away.
However, since the last time I used it, my install of KiCad has stopped rendering in CVPCB. No error message or anything, just doesn’t render the copper layers, parts, etc. I got part of the ratsnest, and that’s it.
Clearly, the thing to do is to install the newest version of KiCad from the developer’s PPA.
Nope, that returns a 404.
Clearly, the thing to do is to install using the script the devs wrote to install and build KiCad.
Nope, the script fails because they use a version of WXWidgets that like no one else on earth uses.
So let’s recap: No method of installing KiCad works, and just LEAVING YOUR WORKING INSTALL ALONE is not sufficient to ensure that it continues to work.
Since I’m designing a small PCB, CadSoft’s Eagle is looking more and more tempting. Limited PCB sizes aren’t a problem if you’re making something small.