Publ: Development Blog

News and updates about Publ

Pushl 0.1.0 released

Posted Wednesday, October 10 at 10:41 PM (7 months ago)

I’ve gotten Pushl to the point that I’m confident in releasing it as a full alpha and having a cron job run it every 15 minutes. Whew.

I’ve also added some h-entry markup to the Publ site templates so that hopefully the notifications appear at least somewhat reasonably elsewhere.

I really need to redo these site templates now that I have a better idea of how they go together. Also the quickstart guide could be a lot better.

Pushl 0.0.1 released

Posted Monday, October 8 at 11:53 PM (7 months ago)

I finally got around to releasing a very rough prototype of Pushl to pypi. It only sends out WebSub notifications for now (does anyone even use those?), but I’ll work on actually implementing WebMention soon.

Also, recently someone pointed out to me fed.brid.gy which makes it easy to turn a static site into an ActivityPub source. At some point I’ll experiment with setting up Publ for this; it looks like it’s just a matter of adding a couple of additional route rules to Publ, so that will probably go into an advanced configuration guide if I ever get around to making such a thing. (Or it could actually be added to Publ directly but there isn’t much of a reason for that, IMO.)

Oops, v0.3.4 released

Posted Friday, October 5 at 1:28 AM (7 months ago)

Turns out I never actually tested the If-Modified-Since handler, because if I had I’d have seen the glaring exception it threw.

Oh well, that’s fixed now. I think.

v0.3.3 - now with ETag and Last-Modified

Posted Monday, October 1 at 11:16 PM (7 months ago)

I’ve started working on Pushl in earnest now, and one thing that was really bugging me about this is that anything which polls feeds and entries would really benefit from having client-side cache control working. Which was a big missing feature in Publ.

Well, I finally implemented it, and I’m pretty happy with how I did it.

The short version: for any given view it figures out (pessimistically) what’s the most recent file that would have affected the view (well, within reason; it only looks at the current template rather than any included templates, which is pretty difficult to do correctly) and uses that to generate an ETag (via metadata fingerprint) and a Last-Modified time (based either on the file modification time or the time the entry was actually published).

There’s probably a few corner cases this misses but in general this makes client-side caching of feeds and such work nicely.

Some thoughts on WebMention

Posted Saturday, September 29 at 9:00 PM (8 months ago)

So, for the last couple of days I’ve been playing with some of the IndieWeb concepts, in particular Webmention. Spurred on by a helpful thread with Kevin Marks, I took some time to actually do a rough implementation of outgoing Webmentions, and also did some of the work to set up the h-card and h-entry microformats on my main site.

As far as I can tell, it works great, but I’m also not going to actually merge this to master or push it to production. Read on to see why!

v0.3.2: a smol bugfix release

Posted Tuesday, September 25 at 2:55 PM (8 months ago)

I found a few more annoying bugs that were shaken out from the whole PonyORM transition, as well as a couple of bugs in the new shape functionality. There’s probably a few more of these bugs lurking in the codebase (I mean, in addition to the existing bugs I know about), but here’s what’s changed:

The shape of the float (v0.3.1)

Posted Thursday, September 20 at 10:58 PM (8 months ago)

Did you know that CSS3 has a style called shape-outline? It’s pretty neat, it makes it so that a floated object gets a shape based on the alpha channel of its specified image. But it’s kind of a pain to set up; in plain HTML it looks something like this:

<img src="/path/to/image.png" width="320" height="320"
    style="shape-outline:url('/path/to/image.png');float: left">

and if you want a different shape mask for your image than its own alpha channel, you have to do a bunch of stuff like making sure that the image sizes are the same and whatever.

v0.3.0 released

Posted Wednesday, September 19 at 12:46 PM (8 months ago)

Version 0.3.0 is now released, with the change from peewee to PonyORM.

As a result of this change you’ll have to do two things to your config file:

  1. The database configuration format has changed slightly
  2. Any existing databases have to be manually deleted/dropped/etc.; unfortunately PonyORM doesn’t provide a mechanism for deleting tables not under its control

Everything else should work identically as before.

Goodbye peewee, hello PonyORM

Posted Wednesday, September 19 at 2:27 AM (8 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 (8 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.

Update to v0.2.0

Posted Friday, July 6 at 3:57 PM (10 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 (11 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 (11 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 (a year 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)

v0.1.21 - final(?) alpha release

Posted Thursday, May 31 at 9:00 AM (a year 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 (a year 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 (a year 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 (a year 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.