The First Rule of Test Code

Software is kind of cool in that you can write programs that verify that your other programs work correctly. These testing "meta programs" tend to get short-shrift though, because it's not like the code is actually part of the shipping product. So who cares about cleanliness or good style or …

Bad APIs: Deceiving Your Readers

APIs are user interfaces for programmers. I came across a function recently that had a couple of user interface issues that serves as a great example of this principle.

The function is internal to an HTTP client class, taking care of the common logic independent of the HTTP method, and …

SQLAlchemy with Python 64-bit on Windows

While hooking up SQLAlchemy for a web project, I kept running into attribute errors for 'session_registry'. I figured I was doing something wrong, so I thought I'd just walk through the tutorial as a sanity check.

I was, apparently, insane.

>>> u = session.query(User).filter_by(name='ed …

Python Packaging (2013 Edition)

About a year ago, I set out to get a solid working understanding of Python packaging, resulting in a lengthy blog post of what I learned. There have been some significant course changes over that year such that my original post is wrong in several regards.

Here's a summary of …

Getting pip into your Python 3 venv

Python 3.3 includes a built-in equivalent to the popular virtualenv tool for creating isolated Python environments. One difference with the built-in venv is that it doesn't automatically install pip as virtualenv does. While I can understand the decision (given Python's volatile packaging situation), it isn't very convenient.

Here's a …

UI Gem: Android Calendar Time Picker

It's been available for a while now, but every time I use the new Android calendar app's time controls, I'm so impressed by their elegance.

Previously, setting the time for a calendar event involved some simple numeric up/down spinners. Setting the hour worked reasonably well, but if your event …

Security Camera Stills As Art

Sure, you can schlep a camera around looking for beautiful things to photograph, or you can just let your security camera do the work and get some serendipitous art.

Color Variance Triptisch

Color Variance Triptisch

Bleak Winter

Bleak Winter

Darn Suction Cups

Darn Suction Cups





Eric's Toolset

These are some of my favorite software utilities for development and life in general. Everything listed here is free.


PyCharm Community Edition (JetBrains) - A feature-rich IDE and debugger for Python built on the IntelliJ platform, with the free community edition having arrived in 2013.


Notepad2 (Florian Balmer) - This …

Dressing the Database in Big-Boy Pants, Part 2

Last time I wrote about using dbdeploy to easily create local databases and to automatically apply changes to the development, staging and production databases. The other change I made recently was to add stored procedure unit tests.

I looked briefly at frameworks specifically for testing databases, but didn't see a …

Dressing the Database in Big-Boy Pants, Part 1

I've mentioned previously that I'm in no danger of being mistaken for a DBA, but I've recently made a few changes in how we work with our database that have upped the maturity level a bit.

Previously we had a single development database shared by all. This is an inflexible …