DAT Stuff

Random thoughts and observations from DAT

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Chess Visualization

While searching the archives of the Processing forums, I discovered Thinking Machine 4.  I especially like what it does when it is not thinking about a move, just showing the squares that are influenced by pieces on the board.

Several weeks ago, I started creating a similar visualization, but the complexity quickly became too much for me to deal with in my spare time.  This will inspire me to take a fresh look at the problem.

SharePoint Workflow Hack

Before I describe what I did, let me point out that this might not be the best way (or even a sane way) to solve this problem. Regardless, it worked for me and I wanted to record it for posterity.

I have a SharePoint list (named “MLD” for short) that has two lookup columns, as shown here. Each one has a supporting list that the users maintain.

ProjectLookup ReleaseLookup

Originally, there was no connection between Release Lookup and Project Lookup, but I realized that Projects are tied to a Release (i.e. Everything in Project X will be in the same release).  To support that, I added a Release column to the Projects list.  I now had Release being set in two places, and maintaining the same information in two places is just asking for trouble. However, I didn’t want to remove Release from my MLD list, because I still want the ability to sort & filter by Release. What I needed was a workflow that would set the Release on MLD list items based on the Project that was chosen for that item.

I fired up SharePoint Designer (version 2007, which is the latest version compatible with my SharePoint site), and created a new workflow that would run any time an MLD item was created or updated. First, I created a variable to hold the ID of the selected project:


The next step was to store the Project ID from the current item in that variable, then look up the Release for that project in the Project Lookup list and assign that Release to the current MLD item.

DesignWorkflow DefineWorkflowLookup

Java hosting

Most of my sites are running on dreamhost. They’re pretty good for sites running Python, Ruby, or PHP, but they don’t support server-side Java.

Over the years, I have searched for Java application hosting to fill that void. I was mostly looking for a place to explore and try new things, so I wasn’t willing to pay much. The inexpensive ones I found usually had very low RAM, and sometimes shared JVMs between users. To get a private JVM capable of running a decent app server usually cost more per month than I was willing to spend, and often required a dedicated server or VPS, which was more of a time commitment than I wanted. Eventually, I stopped looking.

At some point Google came along with their App Engine. It allowed part of what I was seeking, but came with its own limitations.

Today I discovered OpenShift, though it appears to have been started two years ago (May 2011). In additioon to Java, it supports a handful of other languages, as well as an assortment of frameworks and databases. It has a free version that is limited, but even the free version appears to support JBoss and MySQL!

Thinking about PowerShell

I am looking for a way to migrate documents from one SharePoint site to another, and create items in a separate SharePoint list. I found a blog post that looked promising, so I fired up PowerShell to poke around.

I quickly found that my version of PowerShell (v1.0 on Windows XP) didn’t have the Get-SPWeb cmdlet that seemed to be the first step toward my goal, so I went in search of a newer version. I found another blog post that provided a link to the 2.0 download, but it also recommended articles by the Scripting Wife that I want to check out.

I installed 2.0, but I still don’t see the Get-SPWeb cmdlet I need…

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