Django Projects    Posted:


Over the past 6 years, I've built a lot of things with Django. It has treated me very well, and I have very much enjoyed seeing it progress. I got into Django when I helped the company I was working for transition away from a homegrown PHP framework toward something more reliable and flexible. It was very exciting to learn more about Django at a time when the ecosystem was very young.

When I started with Django, there weren't a lot of pluggable apps to fill the void for things like blogs, event calendars, and other useful utilities for the kinds of sites I was building. That has changed quite a bit since then. The ecosystem has evolved and progressed like mad, and it's wonderful. We have so many choices for simple things to very complex things. It's amazing!

Unfortunately, during this whole time period, my development efforts have shifted from creating my own open source projects to share with the world toward more proprietary solutions for my employers. If it's not obvious to you from my blog activity in recent years, I've become very busy with family life and work. I have very little time to give my open source projects the attention they deserve.

For at least 4 years, I've been telling myself that I'd have/make time to revamp all of my projects. To make them usable with what Django is today instead of what it was when I built the projects. Yeah, this time has never showed up. Take a look at the last time I wrote a blog article!

I have decided to disown pretty much all of my open source Django projects. I've basically done this with one or two of the more popular projects already--let someone else take the reigns while I lurk in the background and occasionally comment on an issue here or there. I truly appreciate those who have taken the initiative here. But there are still plenty of projects that people may find useful that need some attention. I'm putting it up to the community to take these projects over if you find them useful so they can get the love and attention they need.

Here is a list of Django projects that anyone is free to assume responsibility for. Most of them are silly and mostly useless now. Some are unpleasant to look at and could use an entire rewrite.

The fact that I'm giving up these projects does not mean I'm giving up on Django. On the contrary, I'm still using it quite heavily. I'm just doing it in such a way that I can't necessarily post my work for everyone to use. I honestly don't expect much of this disowning effort, since the projects are mostly stale and incompatible with recent versions of Django. But please let me know if you do want to take over one of my projects and care for it.

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Django-Tracking 0.3.5    Posted:


I've finally gotten around to looking at a bunch of tickets that had been opened for django-tracking in the past year and a half or so. I feel horrible that it's really taken that long for me to get to them! Every time I got a ticket notification, I told myself, "Okay, I'll work on that this weekend." Many have weekends have passed without any work on any of my projects. I'm going to get better about that!

Anyway, several fixes have gone into the latest version of django-tracking. Some have to do with unicode problems (thanks ramusus!). Others have to do with overall performance, while yet others have to do with overall stability.

The first interesting change in this release is that django-tracking no longer relies on the GeoIP Python API. Instead it's now using django.contrib.gis.utils.GeoIP. I had hoped that this would remove the dependency on the GeoIP C API, but it appears that I was mistaken. Oh well.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in this new release is the use of caching. With caching in place, the middleware classes don't slam the database nearly as badly as they used to. There's still more that could be done with caching to improve performance, but I think what I've got now will be a big help.

Another noteworthy change, in my opinion, is the use of logging. I've sprinkled mildly useful logging messages throughout the code so you can learn when something bad happens that is silently handled. I hope that this will help me improve the quality of the code as it will allow anyone who uses the project (and pays attention to the log messages, of course) to tell me when bad things are happening.

Finally, the packaging code has been updated to be much more simple. Version 0.3.5 has been uploaded to PyPI and is available via pip or easy_install. If you prefer to have the latest copy of the code, the official code repositories are (in order of my personal preference):

I can't wait for your feedback!

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Downtime and django-tracking 0.2.7    Posted:


The Foul Side

Some of you may have noticed the ~11 hours of intermittent downtime that codekoala.com experienced from early on the 24th of January to just a little while ago. I was doing some work on my django-tracking application, which somehow seemed to break my site. CodeKoala.com uses PostgreSQL as the database backend, and as soon as I tried to apply the changes to django-tracking to my site, everything just seemed to die.

The weird thing was that the site would work if I put it on a sqlite or MySQL backend. I didn't change the database schema at all as part of my changes to django-tracking, so it made absolutely no sense. I was in touch with WebFaction's awesome support squad for a good deal of today trying to get things sorted out. We tried just about everything we could think of, short of porting the entire site to a different backend or restoring a recent backup.

Just as things were looking very grim, I tried this command: ./manage.py reset tracking. Voilà! The site started working again. I guess I just had some super funky junk in my tracking application's tables.

On the Brighter Side

As a result of all this work and toil, you all can now enjoy django-tracking 0.2.7! There were a lot of minor code optimizations that went into this release. The biggest change, however, is the fancy "active users map" that you see here.

This feature allows you to display a map of where your recently active users are likely to be based upon their IP address. A list is also available below the map with displays further information about each active visitor. The page updates itself every 5 seconds or so, which means that if a visitor hasn't been active for 10 minutes (or whatever your timeout happens to be), their marker will disappear from the map and their entry in the last will go away too! Pretty dang fancy if you ask me!

If you're interested in downloading and using django-tracking, please check out the links at the end of the article. The Google Code link explains what you need to do and how to configure things.

So folks!! Please play with it!

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Project Release: django-tracking 0.1    Posted:


I'm proud to announce the official release of yet another one of my side projects. I call it django-tracking, and it is a simple project capable of telling you how many users are currently on your site. If you look at the bottom of any page on codekoala.com, you will see a demonstration of what this project can be used for.

django-tracking also offers basic blacklisting capabilities. I had a chap who apparently setup a script to spam my blog with rubbish comments every 11 minutes recently. I devised a way to stop the comments from being posted, but I noticed from my logs that the script was still hitting my website consistently over the following days. As a result, I implemented the "Banned IP" feature in django-tracking, and any visitor (or script) accessing my site from that IP address receives an error page. Yay!

If you have "Big Brother"-like tendencies when it comes to your visitors, there is also a way for you to have a "live feed" of active users on your site. Works pretty well, if I do say so myself :)

For more information, hop on over to django-tracking's homepage. There you will also find installation instructions and details for configuration and usage.

Have fun!

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