Work on the next release of Awasu has been well underway for a while now, as the optimizing juggernaut plows onwards and upwards Part of doing this kind of work is to do before-and-after performance tests, to see how much better the new version is running, and I figured that since I was doing it already, I might as well do some tests on Awasu Server as well.
I’ve always known that Awasu Server runs much faster and more smoothly than the desktop version, but this is the first time I’ve collected hard data on how it performs, and the results are, well, impressive
You can check out the full report here, but to the right is the money shot: Awasu Server updates around 67% more channels per hour than Awasu Pro.
If that’s not insanely awesome, I don’t know what is
Awasu Server is in private beta, but if you have lots of channels For example, some of our clients are running tens of thousands of channels., if you want to monitor huge amounts of information, then this is definitely the way to go.
As promised, the tutorial on writing Awasu plugin channels and channel hooks is now up here.
Part 1 talks about how to get set up with the new awasu_tools library, and how to generate a basic feed, then Part 2 shows how to convert a basic script into something that can be called by Awasu.
Part 3 explores some more of the features offered by the awasu_tools library, while Part 4 rounds things off by explaining how to compile your extension, ready for distribution.
Writing Awasu extensions has always been relatively easy, but there was a bit of a learning curve, mostly spent looking at the samples supplied with Awasu. Hopefully, this tutorial will make things a bit easier, and the new awasu_tools library really makes things a breeze
As an aside, I’ve been programming computers for around 30 years (professionally for 25), yet publishing my first bit of code on PyPI and GitHub somehow makes me suddenly feel like a Real Programmer
Now that you’ve all had a bit of time to have a play with the 3.0.2 release, it’s time to explain in a bit more detail about one of its new cool features.
One of Awasu’s strongest features has always been its extensibility If you’re not sick of me droning on about this by now, you will be soon , and the 3.0.2 release builds on this by adding support for a bunch of new plugin channels, that can retrieve content from a variety of sources:
These are all currently still in private beta, but if you’d like to take them for a spin, drop me a line and let me know:
What version of Awasu you’re running.
Which extensions you’re interested in.
and I’ll let you know when they’re ready.
You should be running Awasu Professional Edition v3.0.2, although support for them will be back-ported to v3.0 shortly.
Part of the work in building these was putting together a framework This will be released soon, to make it easier for you to write your own extensions. that will let me easily churn them out, so you can expect a slew of new ones in the coming year Currently on my to-do list: LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, GitHub, CrunchBase, Vine, Instagram, Spotify , Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox, Instapaper, FourSquare, Yelp. Sigh… . Let me know if there’s anything you’d like support for… And yes, I know everyone will want one for Facebook, and I actually had one working, but Facebook changed their API and broke things , so I’m going to have to revisit this one. Double-sigh…
It’s been a bit longer between releases than I normally like, but there’s been a lot of work done on this 3.0.2 releaseI’ve also been remarkably busy building systems built around Awasu. As examples, one client is using a battery of web scraping and custom-built plugins to monitor web sites they’re interested in, while another is using their system to monitor many thousands of sites, downloading the content to an external database, with a custom search engine and alert system built on top. Drop us a line if you’re interested in having something built for yourself. , so I hope it’ll have been worth the wait
This release builds on the work done in 3.0.1, making Awasu run better, faster and more efficiently. I’ve been adding these optimizations incrementally, so the effects were less noticeable, but running this new version side-by-side the old one, the difference is very apparent This will be an on-going process throughout the current release cycle, but of course, there will be a whole bunch of new features as well.
In this release, on top of the many, many optimizations, we also have:
Numerous UI improvements.
A new email engine, that lets you use third-party services like Gmail and Hotmail.
Improvements in the search engine, to give better results.
User tools now have access to all of a feed’s metadata, making it easier to export content out, or integrate Awasu into another service.
Support for a new range of plugin channels and hooks.
This last one is a biggie, and I’ll be making an announcement about this shortly, but in the meantime, get yourself set up with Awasu 3.0.2 and see what you think.
I’ve also been remarkably busy building systems built around Awasu. As examples, one client is using a battery of web scraping and custom-built plugins to monitor web sites they’re interested in, while another is using their system to monitor many thousands of sites, downloading the content to an external database, with a custom search engine and alert system built on top. Drop us a line if you’re interested in having something built for yourself.
So, one of our long-time users has been asking about how RSS tracks authors, which reminded me that I’ve been meaning to talk about this insanely cool feature of Awasu that I’m sure not many people know about.
RSS feed items typically come with metadata associated with them, like who the author was, what time they were published, etc. There are also non-standard things like licensing details, geocodes, information about who’s commented or linked to the blog post. Not only is Awasu able to slurp up all this yummy data, it doesn’t even have to be a standard type of metadata. You can even embed your own custom metadata in a feed and Awasu will be able to extract it – awesome if you’re working in an enterprise environment.
One of the things you can do with this metadata is include it in the item pane, the list of feed items that appears in the top (by default) of a channel’s window. Here’s a screenshot of a channel I have using the <foreshadowing> new and improved plugin that monitors email accounts </foreshadowing>, with the email’s sender and timestamp in the item pane.
Setting this up is pretty easy:
Open the channel’s Properties dialog and on the first tab (Channel), click on the Item pane button.
Click on the green plus icon, to add a new column.
Enter the metadata value you want to show in the column. The most commonly-used ones are provided in the droplist, but you can enter anything you want.
Then enter the name of the column.
And ta da! Awasu will now show the relevant metadata in the item pane.
This is a pretty nice feature, and Awasu is not limited to just showing these values in the item pane, they can be included in the browser pane as well, which means they will show up in reports, or emails. Post in the forums if you need a hand sending any of this stuff up.
Those of you who know me know that I’m a big fan of Python. It’s a really powerful and flexible scripting language that sits nicely in that space between shell scripts that have gotten too big (i.e. more than 10 lines ), and large-scale applications written in C++ or Java. I remember trying to print out the manual for 1.5.2IIRC, this was the iconic version of Python, much like 3.1 was for Windows for a long time. way back in the late-90’sYes kids, we often used printed manuals, back in the day :-O, and I’d already been using it for a few years then, so I guess that means I’ve been using it for nearly 20 years now
Awasu has had an embedded Python interpreter for some time, and one of the things that has been lurking in the murky depths of my to-do list for many years now is a write-up on how to actually do this, since the documentation is not particularly great. Inexplicably, I found myself with a bit of time recently and have finally managed to cross this one off my list
This is a spit-and-polish release, fixing up numerous small things. In particular, there seems to be a trend amongst publishers to include massive images in their feeds, which is incredibly annoying since they take up 2 or 3 times the available screen space, so Awasu now resizes these down to a more sensible size.
Awasu also now gathers a lot of information about its own operation, although this is for Awasu Server only, for performance monitoring. As always, let us know if you’re interested in beta-testing a high-performance, service-based version of Awasu.
It’s been a hectic few months, mostly building Awasu-based systems for clients, but the next release of our favorite feed reader is here!
Continuing on from the first alpha release, there’s been a lot of optimization work done and Awasu really flies. And there’s more to come in the next alpha!
Other major changes include a replacement of the email engine, which works much better now (in particular, you can send emails through GMail, Hotmail and other third-party services) and a better crash handler that can automatically send crash reports.
Almost 8 years ago to the day, I wrote about watching Japan play Australia in a World Cup group match, where they held a one goal lead for most of the match, only to concede 3 goals in the last 8 minutes.
Yesterday, Japan played their first group match again the Ivory Coast and while I wasn’t able to watch the first half, I caught most of the second, and things seemed to be going well, with Japan having scored early in the game.
I was stuck at a bus station and was literally getting onto the bus when the Ivory Coast scored an equalizer. Nevertheless, I went to sleep on the bus assuring myself that it would end in a 1-1 draw, so I was somewhat miffed to find out this morning that we had, yet again, given away flurry of goals and thrown away the match
Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.
In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.
He then goes on to explain how he sent Bill an email:
[I] thanked him for all his great work and the influence he’d had on me. And never expected to get a reply.
And what do you know, he wrote back.
Let me tell you. Just getting an email from Bill Watterson is one of the most mind-blowing, surreal experiences I have ever had. Bill Watterson really exists? And he sends email? And he’s communicating with me?
But he was. And he had a great sense of humor about the strip I had done, and was very funny, and oh yeah…
…He had a comic strip idea he wanted to run by me.
Turns out, the idea was to guest-draw a few panels in Pearls Before Swine, that ran earlier this month:
The comments people posted for each strip are kinda funny, now that we know what’s really going on And check out the full story on Stephan’s blog. Meeting your heroes can sometimes be a disappointing experience, but it sounds like this one definitely wasn’t.
I’ve written before about how much I like C&H (seriously, who doesn’t?), so the thought that Bill has surfaced and is wielding a pen again is pretty awesome news!
Set my hair on fire, I surely would! Not that there’s much left, I’d hardly miss it…
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