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New ShowMeDo: Python and the Image Manipulation Library (PIL)

Jeff Rush adds another episode to the 5 Minutes with Python series:

“A slideshow overview of the features of the widely used 2-d image manipulation package for Python named ‘PIL’, providing for the viewing, copying, printing, filtering and transformation of images, including palette manipulation, pixel filtering and multipage animations.”

These ‘5 Minutes’ videos will appear on the [...]

SEO gains for all our tutorials

Continuing my previous two SEO posts, here I chart our continued climb up the Google rankings now that I’m actively working to improve our search-engine-friendliness. I show the current rank and the (last recorded rank).

The simple answer is that we’re now on the 2nd or 3rd page for many significant search terms, up from [...]

SEO – some gains overnight

A quick check over-night shows some interesting changes. My post talking about the ‘Python(145)’ tag now appears as the number 1 result for ‘python(145)’ – amusing!

More importantly, even just overnight we have gained a few places on some of our terms:

“learning python” rank: 473 (hadn’t recorded it before)
“programming python” rank: 82 (hadn’t recorded it [...]

ShowMeDo SEO

For a long time we have wondered why we didn’t see much search traffic – most of our 1,000 a day visitors come via hard-links. 65% of visitors come from referring sites, 21% via direct traffic and just 14% via search engines (source: Google Analytics).

I spoke with an SEO friend (Robin), it seems we’re [...]

5 Minutes with Python @ python.org

Jeff Rush has posted our new 5 Minutes with Python series at python.org under the new Audio/Visual Documentation section.

The A/V section also links to Ron Stephens’ excellent Python 411 podcast series, Python Best Tech Videos (showing several ShowMeDos) and Python videos at Google Video.

Currently Jeff links to:

First 5 Minutes with Python (by me)
Python and the [...]

Forum is Dead – long live the Google Group

It seems pretty obvious that the forum has never worked – in 16 months we had 179 posts by 103 users (and countless spambot sign-up attempts).

However, we hardly lack interested users. We have almost 2,000 users on our irregular-update mail list and around 1,000 visitors per day.

Clearly it is time to try a new [...]

Compiling ffmpeg on RedHat

Most of the instructions needed to compile ffmpeg on RedHat are here and here. This builds upon my previous post Compiling LAME on RedHat.

[Includes update below for libfaac/libfaad]

Following these I first tried:

./configure –disable-debug –disable-network –disable-ffserver –disable-ffplay –enable-libmp3lame –enable-gpl –enable-shared –log=log.txt

but I received the following error:

ffmpeg: error while loading shared libraries: libavformat.so.51: cannot open [...]

Compiling LAME on RedHat

LAME (also known as libmp3lame) is a GPL library for mp3 encoding and decoding. It is used by ffmpeg to generate the FLV files which we use in ShowMeDo.

The follow-on to this article is Compiling ffmpeg on RedHat.

Compiling LAME is fairly straight-forward if your environment is already configured, but that wasn’t as obvious as [...]

New site deployed

New additions:

A more dynamic front-page with summaries and RSS feeds for new videos, comments and votes.
Updated sidebars on the left (needs a hard-refresh of your cached CSS, used Ctrl-F5).

I also have a few more tutorial videos to publish this afternoon.

Embedding Python ShowMeDos in your own site

Now you can embed ShowMeDos in your own site with just a simple copy/paste of some HTML.

You just need to copy 10 lines of HTML onto your site and It’ll Just Work – instructions in the wiki, you can embed any of the public videos.

Pick one of our 113 Python tutorials and give it a [...]

We’ve switched to PayPal for Commercial Series

We have upgraded our payment system to use PayPal – now purchases result in instant ownership of the video series. This applies to our two commercial series:

Python Development on XP
Python 101 – easygui and csv

We have also standardised the price to $10 for each series. If you bought the series recently at a [...]

Simple easygui Yes/No Input (boolbox)

Simple Yes/No queries give us a simple way of asking the user for confirmation. Stephen Ferg’s easygui makes this easy with the ynbox. No other modules are needed, easygui is cross-platform. This follows-on from the enterbox and fileopenbox examples.

This code:
import easygui
result = easygui.ynbox(message = “Do you want to continue?”, title = “Continue?”)
# [...]

Author Horst Jens in Python Papers

Horst Jens’ three Python Kids are discussed in ‘Python for Kids’ in this month’s Python Papers.

The article covers PyDoc, EasyGUI, DrPython and RUR-PLE. Python Papers editor Tennessee Leeuwenburg has authored the piece in Volume 2 Issue 2 (html version)

Writes Tennessee Leeuwenburg:

“The use of Python in education is clearly a significant topic in its own [...]

Simple easygui File Dialogs

Did you know that you can have a file-open or -save dialog in just 2 lines of Python? Stephen Ferg’s excellent easygui module makes it possible. No other modules are needed, easygui is cross-platform. See also the enterbox example.

Two lines of code:

import easygui
fileNameAndPath = easygui.fileopenbox(title = “Choose your file”, argInitialFile = [...]

Request for Reviewers

We are looking for reviewers for our first two commercial ShowMeDo series. Both series are aimed at new Python coders and show everything needed to learn new Python skills.

One series shows how to write a complete application from scratch and the other shows three ways to develop code (PyDev, IDLE, text-editor) on Windows. [...]

Optimising Genshi Imports

We’ve just moved from Kid templates to Genshi (v0.4). Kyran’s first approach was to put all the helper div-functions into one of two separate (big) Genshi files to simplify the translation process.

We had several of these files, each about 10k in size, each imported into every main Genshi template.

This approach made it easy for [...]

Speed-testing Genshi pages for optimisation

To optimise some of our slower Genshi pages (e.g. this one) I needed a reliable way of extracting render-times from different sections of the templates. Python’s datetime module came to the rescue.

Below is a snippet of a Genshi template showing how I embedded calls to datetime and how I rendered the time-differences in the [...]

ShowMeDo RSS Feeds

We have just implemented the first round of RSS feeds for ShowMeDo (using the very simple TurboGears FeedController). This feature is about a year overdue…if only I’d known it was so straight-forward. Look for the big RSS icons in the site.

The latest-video feed is tag-based so to track the latest Python videos subscribe [...]

Discount for Python Newbies tutorial videos ending in 1 week

At the end of May I will end the discounted period for my Python Newbies (on XP) video series. The aim of the series is to distil 4 years of my knowledge about getting-started-with-Python to the viewer in a touch under 2 hours through 9 tutorial videos.

The series has been very well received and [...]

Python Newbies on XP – Testimonials

Our Python Newbies on XP series continues to sell well, I have copied some of the recent praise for the series below. The series is coming to the end of its discounted period and the price will rise at the end of May.

If you want to buy access to all 9 episodes (1 [...]

Pay-to-access praise for Python Newbies on XP

Chris found the 4th episode in my first pay-to-access series to be very useful – Python at the command line. The exercise that I describe in the video clearly was very useful too, great!

Good job Ian. I agree that in general that we’ll all be using some sort of IDE or more full featured [...]

New Feature: Video Downloads

Now you can download the FLV video files on each video page so you can watch them when you’re away from the Internet.

Look for the ‘LOGIN TO DOWNLOAD THE VIDEO (FLV)’ link under each video. To play the videos you need a recent version of the Video Lan Client, mplayer or QuickTime.

This is the [...]

New Feature: voting on videos

On Thursday we added a new feature – now you can vote on videos that you like. Look for this big ‘Thumbs Up’ sign on each video page:

Just click on the Thumbs Up to vote, this helps our authors gain public kudos and lets them know that their efforts are appreciated by you, the [...]

Get Going with Python 2: Python Development Environments (IDEs) part 2

Update (April 2009) – The Python Development Environments Learning Path covers all the following information and more.

[update - replaced link to older Wing screencast with newer 2-part Wing v3 Pro series]

Here I’ll talk about the IDE combinations I use and why…

Side note – are you learning Python?  We’ve started Club ShowMeDo which is aimed at [...]

Get Going with Python 2: Python Development Environments (IDEs) part 1

Welcome to the second part of my Get Going with Python series. In this two-part blog post I’ll try to help you choose a Development Environment.

Update (April 2009) – The Python Development Environments Learning Path covers all the following information and more.

Side note – are you learning Python? We’ve started Club ShowMeDo which is aimed [...]