Publ: Development Blog

Goodbye peewee, hello PonyORM

Posted Wednesday, September 19 at 2:27 AM (6 months ago)

For a number of reasons, I have replaced the backing ORM. Previously I was using peewee, but now I’m using PonyORM. The primary reason for this is purely ideological; I do not want to use software which is maintained by someone with a track record of toxic behavior. peewee’s maintainer responds to issues and feature requests with shouting and dismissive snark; PonyORM’s maintainer responds with helpfulness and grace. I am a strong proponent of the latter.

PonyORM’s API is also significantly more Pythonic, and rather than abusing operator overloads for clever query building purposes, it abuses Python’s AST functionality to parse actual Python expressions into SQL queries. Seriously, look at this explanation of it and tell me that isn’t just amazing.

v0.2.2 released… and 0.2.2.1… and 0.2.3…

Posted Wednesday, September 12 at 1:27 AM (6 months ago)

Earlier today I pushed v0.2.2, which was a minor configuration fix for the markdown library to support table syntax.

Then I pushed v0.2.2.1 which was another configuration fix to fix that fix (oops).

Then in deploying updates I upgraded to Python 3.7, and promptly discovered that Publ doesn’t actually work on Python 3.7, so just now I fixed that, and released the fixes as v0.2.3.

v0.2.1 released

Posted Tuesday, August 21 at 11:48 PM (7 months ago)

Just a couple of minor fixes in this release:

Update to v0.2.0

Posted Friday, July 6 at 3:57 PM (8 months ago)

A few changes since v0.1.24:

• Updated code to use the current Flask cache-control API
• Only set cache-control for responses that don’t have a natural cache response
• Entry IDs and UUIDs are now semi-stably generated, in order to prevent (or at least reduce) problems like the last time

Publ itself is stable enough (and enough has changed since v0.1.0) that I felt that a minor version bump was a reasonable thing to do.

Anyway! While Publ has been running quite nicely on my website, I’d love to see more people actively using and developing it. This site in particular needs a lot of attention and probably reworking; my other top priorities are:

• A better installation/deployment guide
• Proper test coverage (rather than manual smoke tests)

The downside to running on Heroku

Posted Wednesday, June 27 at 8:01 PM (9 months ago)

So, sorry to anyone who was subscribed to the RSS feed for this and got spammed with v0.1.24 release announcements. I made a mistake and pushed a version of the entry that didn’t have a canonical ID assigned yet, and as a result, every time Heroku spun up, it assigned a new ID. This is something that’s happened before and I really ought to do something about it.

Three things come to mind:

1. Figuring out how to always make IDs get assigned in an idempotent manner (hard to do correctly)
2. Don’t run on Heroku so the assignments persist between executions (easy)
3. Add a pre-push hook to the repo that verifies that all entries alread have an assigned ID (???)

2 seems like the easiest approach for now, so that’s what I’ll probably do.

Verson 0.1.24 released

Posted Wednesday, June 27 at 7:55 PM (9 months ago)

New functionality:

• The image rendition cache now gets periodically purged; the default is to delete renditions which haven’t been used in the last week (this can be disabled)

Bug fixes:

• entry.title can now accept the no_smartquotes parameter, which is necessary in Atom feeds
• entry.card now uses the same Markdown extensions as entry.body

v0.1.23 updates, oh yeah this is beta now

Posted Wednesday, June 6 at 9:30 PM (9 months ago)

I neglected to mention that I set Publ to beta status in v0.1.22, which was a minor bugfix release, rather than moving to 0.2 like I previously stated. The changes for 0.1.22 were:

• Fixes to category Sort-Name
• Added support for regex path-alias hooks (this is configured on the Python/WSGI side, and has been working quite nicely over on beesbuzz.biz)
• Fixed a dumb bug in the cache-control headers

And then the changes for 0.1.23:

• Enable automatic smart-quote substitutions (this is the default setting, and can be overridden by passing no_smartquotes=True to entry.body/entry.more/entry.title)
• Improve the handling of last-modified times on entries (now there’s a Last-Modified header which only gets set when you want it to be)

My site templates

Posted Tuesday, June 5 at 1:51 PM (9 months ago)

I released some of my site templates; hopefully this will be helpful to others.

v0.1.21 - final(?) alpha release

Posted Thursday, May 31 at 9:00 AM (10 months ago)

This server is now running Publ v0.1.21, which I believe will be the final beta version; all of the release blockers have been taken care of. And as a bonus I also implemented the ability to include template fragments, which allows templates' content to change formatting based on the category of the formatted entries. This is particularly useful on Atom feeds, where you might want to have different entry formats for each category. I’m already using it on busybee, to provide full-content feeds in ways that make sense for the different site sections.

I will play with this for a few days and if I’m happy with it I’ll be releasing v0.2.0, which will be the first beta release. In the meantime I’ll also look into packaging up busybee’s templates for other people to use as a starting point, because I know that setting up a new site right now can be incredibly overwhelming!

v0.1.19: creeping ever closer to beta status

Posted Sunday, May 27 at 5:22 PM (10 months ago)

The amount of stuff I’m having to fix in Publ to support beesbuzz.biz is diminishing rapidly! Here’s what’s happened since 0.1.18:

• Improved the Path-Alias redirection logic; now it will do a 301 Permanently Moved for inbound Path-Aliased requests, and if a Path-Alias points to an entry with a Redirect-To it will redirect directly to that URL instead (and it will be a 302, same as the old Redirect-To behavior)
• Pagination can now be weekly; you can use entry.archive(paging='week'), and a ?date= view parameter ending in _w will provide a weekly view instead.
• Better default formatting for view.range, and an addition of a week format parameter there

In better news, v0.1.18

Posted Saturday, May 26 at 1:19 AM (10 months ago)

So aside from the Dreamhost issues, I would like to share what’s new in the latest version as part of my big “get my website online” push:

• PERFORMANCE: Improved the threading mechanisms around image renditions for better stability and performance
• BUGFIX: Made markup tagging work consistently between image types
• FEATURE: view.link() now allows overriding category
• FEATURE: You can now mark an entry with an Entry-Status of DELETED or GONE, which results in a 410 error instead of a 404 (be the envy of your web-developer nerd friends!)
• FEATURE: Error templates will automatically use the x00 error code as a potential fallback (e.g. error code 503 will also fall back to a template for 500)
• FEATURE: Entry titles can now have Markdown in them, and it usually works most of the time!
• BUGFIX: Now when running in debug mode you don’t end up with two watchdog threads
• FEATURE/QUALITY: Refactored the way error pages are handled, and now if you get a 404-type error on a page while the index is being asynchronously scanned, it’ll turn into a 503 with a Retry-After disposition in case it’s just something that hasn’t been indexed yet
• UX: View pagination URLs now all use id as the query parameter rather than a miasma of contextually-dependent start, last, or first which made no sense anyway

So much for Dreamhost

Posted Friday, May 25 at 9:42 PM (10 months ago)

One of the overarching reasons I decided to build Publ the way I did was in order to take advantage of Dreamhost’s support for Passenger WSGI. I was expecting that to be the primary means of hosting my main site (which is way too big for a Heroku instance) and given how smoothly things were working with this site on Dreamhost I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.

However, there was a huge monkey wrench thrown into things when I switched my site’s configuration over to Passenger; despite all of my configuration being exactly the same between publ.beesbuzz.biz and beesbuzz.biz, the rendition cache on beesbuzz.biz was getting its permissions set wrong, and there was some rather weird behavior with how it was making the temporary files to begin with.

In investigating this I attempted to upgrade my packages on publ.beesbuzz.biz, and all h*ck broke loose.

Lots of bug fixes, and more image features (v0.1.17)

Posted Tuesday, May 22 at 5:00 PM (10 months ago)

Oh, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted an update, hasn’t it? That’s because I’ve been very busy building the templates for my personal site! In doing so I’ve greatly improved the way that view refinements worked, fixed a few silly bugs with image search paths on templates, and also added an easier way to specify background images in CSS, via the image().get_css_background() method.

I’m really excited to be able to bring my first fully-realized Publ site to the public; I hope it gets other people interested in what a flexible publishing system allows them to do!

Posted Saturday, May 19 at 12:00 AM (10 months ago)

Today I added two new useful features:

I also implemented the better date sort mentioned previously.

These things are already making my new personal site look way better and easier to use! I feel like I’m almost ready to flip the switch.

Oh, and I also improved the getting started guide, including adding basic setup instructions for Linux and Windows. Not that I’ve gotten Publ to run on Windows, yet, but documenting how to get the environment set up is the first step, right?

Dates are hard

Posted Friday, May 18 at 12:00 PM (10 months ago)

There’s an old joke in programming, that the two hardest things to do are naming things, cache invalidation, and off-by-one errors. But this doesn’t pay sufficient respect to one of the other hardest things, namely handling date and time.

Asynchronous workers

Posted Tuesday, May 15 at 5:21 PM (10 months ago)

Today I got two major bits of functionality in: Publ will now asynchronously scan the content index (which speeds up startup and fixes some annoying race conditions with entry creation), and it also asynchronously generates image renditions (which makes pages not take forever to load on first render, and will also use multiple CPU cores if available). Seems to work well so far.

I was running into scaling problems with beesbuzz.biz (what with there being a couple thousand entries and some pages with hundreds of images on it) and this keeps it feeling pretty good.

So, this brings us up to version 0.1.14.

v0.1.13 released

Posted Sunday, May 13 at 11:14 PM (10 months ago)

• Rewrote the pagination logic to actually work across category-recursive views, and to support pagination where the sort order isn’t necessarily the same between renders
• Refactored images so that the template image() function has access to the tag writer

These changes were made as part of migrating beesbuzz.biz over to Publ, which I’ve made a lot of progress on now. It’s pretty nice getting my overall design proven out, and to shake out all the little bugs and misfeatures.

Hopefully soon I’ll have Publ in a state where I feel comfortable releasing it as beta.

v0.1.12 changes

Posted Saturday, May 12 at 12:35 PM (10 months ago)

I just released v0.1.12 which adds a couple of quick, minor-ish fixes to Unicode handling; in particular:

• UTF-8-containing headers no longer get MIME-mangled on first import
• I finally made the automatic slug text way better by switching to awesome-slugify

So, now it’s no longer US-English-centric, at least. Right now it just uses the defaults; at some point I’ll want to make it so that you can configure a site’s or entry’s language locale so that things work better on that end too.

Now with ∞% more OpenGraph support

Posted Thursday, May 10 at 7:06 PM (10 months ago)

I have now implemented the basic OpenGraph API to Publ, so now a template can generate an OpenGraph card with entry.card. So in theory when this entry gets autoposted to Twitter, this first paragraph should appear, as should the below image:

Anyway that’s what’s new in v0.1.11 (as well as a bunch of internal refactoring to support this addition).

• No longer nests a <div> for an image gallery inside of a containing <p> (which both fixes an HTML validation error and makes styling more controllable)
But there’s also a new feature, namely view.range, which you can read about over in the API docs.