Awasu
Monday 6th July 2015 9:14 AM [Awasu News,Tutorial]

A while back, I posted a tutorial that showed how easy it is to extend Awasu through the use of plugins and channel hooks, and continuing on from that, here’s another series that shows how you can control your Awasu via its API.

Whether you just want to find out what state your channels or reports are in, or if you want to programmatically create, update and delete them, the Python and PHP libraries available make it a breeze.

Have a play with them, hope you find them useful and, as always, feel free to ask questions in the forums.

Wednesday 22nd April 2015 12:49 AM [Awasu News]

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 :jig:

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 [1]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.

And not only can Awasu bring in this amount of information at high-speed, it can also do something with it all, whether it be forward the information onto a database, or send out emails, or generate reports.

Drop us a line if you’d like to know more…

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1. For example, some of our clients are running tens of thousands of channels.
Tuesday 7th April 2015 2:05 AM [Awasu News,Tutorial]

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 :roll:

Still some life left in this old dog, methinks… :jig:

Wednesday 25th March 2015 12:32 PM [Awasu News]

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 [1]If you’re not sick of me droning on about this by now, you will be soon :roll: , 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:

Google

Twitter

Wikipedia

Email accounts

Web pages
(via scraping)

Pinterest

There is also one channel hook:

Save incoming content in an external database
(currently MySQL or SQL Server, Postgres coming soon)

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 [2]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 [3]Currently on my to-do list: LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, GitHub, CrunchBase, Vine, Instagram, Spotify , Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox, Instapaper, FourSquare, Yelp. Sigh… :whip: . Let me know if there’s anything you’d like support for… [4]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…

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1. If you’re not sick of me droning on about this by now, you will be soon :roll:
2. This will be released soon, to make it easier for you to write your own extensions.
3. Currently on my to-do list: LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, GitHub, CrunchBase, Vine, Instagram, Spotify , Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox, Instapaper, FourSquare, Yelp. Sigh… :whip:
4. 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…
Thursday 19th March 2015 9:21 AM [Awasu News]

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 release [1]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 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 :jig: 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.

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1. 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.
Saturday 28th February 2015 9:09 AM [Tutorial]

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.

Monday 1st December 2014 8:27 AM [Tutorial]

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 :neutral: ), and large-scale applications written in C++ or Java. I remember trying to print out the manual for 1.5.2[1]IIRC, this was the iconic version of Python, much like 3.1 was for Windows for a long time. way back in the late-90’s[2]Yes 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 :shock:

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 :clap:

Hopefully, I’ll be able to follow this series up with another one, that explains how to go the other way – extending Python with your own custom features. Just give me a couple of years… :roll:

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1. IIRC, this was the iconic version of Python, much like 3.1 was for Windows for a long time.
2. Yes kids, we often used printed manuals, back in the day :-O
Saturday 29th November 2014 5:51 AM [Awasu News]

Awasu 3.0.2.alpha3 has just been released here.

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.

Saturday 20th September 2014 7:35 AM [Awasu News]

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! :wink:

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.

Hopefully, you’ll never see that last one :roll:

Monday 16th June 2014 7:56 AM [General]

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 :(

That night 8 years ago, I accidentally watched the game in a pub full of Aussies, and while there will be no chance of that happening again this time, June 24th could be interesting, since Japan plays Colombia, and I will be in Colombia… :bigshock: