Berlin, Delft, and more

I’ve spent the last two weeks in Berlin, Germany, working on two projects: an ecommerce web application and a Facebook app.

The former is actually an ongoing project, involving many interesting technologies, such as working with the eBay API, extending the Django admin interface, geocoding (and reverse geocoding), CMS, domain and subdomain management, etc. The other project is a small app that works based on the users’ locaiton.

As a result of these two weeks, Sproud Ventures UG (the company that sponsored the event) will open-source a python package for doing geological lookups and other useful things in web applications. The package contains a raw WSGI middleware for doing IP-based, keyword-based and coordinate-based lookups. Other handy features include Django template tags and a template context processor. I’ll write about it in details when it gets released (that is, when I find some time to improve test coverage and review the documentation.)

During my stay I tested a few toolkits and learned some new techniques. Here are the highlightn, including some CSS and JavaScript tricks:

  • LESS, a very neat tool for writing structured, object-like CSS. Lets you define your template colours in a separate library, import it and use in other styles, use variables, basic arithmetic, and then compiles everything into a valid, nicely-formatted CSS file. I’ll definitely use it in my future projects.
  • The JavaSctipt Revealing Module Pattern can too be very handy. I’ve written lots and lots of hacky JavaScript snippets in the past, so now I’m trying to force myself to write more organized code.
  • Always use twod.wsgi when working with Django. Makes life much easier.
  • Use even more third party tools. There’s so many great libraryes out there. There are a lot of crappy ones too, but some of them can be improved. +1 for publicly forking projects on GitHub and BitBucket.
  • Use YAML, even more.

Next stop, Delft, The Netherlands. New week, new project, new experiences and friends.

Hermina and I In the Antwerp zoo.