Bad Karma

September 22nd, 2009

For those of you using BloGTK 2.0 on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic, you’ve probably noticed a few problems with crashes. Like, a lot of crashes.

From what I’ve been able to tell, BloGTK will crash when more than two windows have been opened. Why, I’ve no idea. My guess is that there’s some garbage collection problems that are causing problems. Whether that’s due to something in BloGTK itself or the underlying Python libraries isn’t known yet. Given that BloGTK works just fine on Jaunty, my guess is that there’s a bug with one of the libraries.

A bug report has already been added to the Launchpad project. If anyone has a better idea of where the problem may be, please post the information either in the bug report or on this blog.

I apologize for the problem, and hopefully the bug will be fixed as Karmic heads towards formal release.

UPDATE: It appears that the crash is related to the WebKit bindings. Investigation into this bug is continuing.

UPDATE – Sept 24: Some more digging has revealed that the crash happens when one editor window is closed and then another is opened. There is a bug report filed with the pywebkitgtk package that seems to deal with a similar issue, if not the same one. I will continue to see if there’s anything I can do with the BloGTK codebase to prevent the crashes.

I apologize for the problems, and hopefully this issue will be resolved before Karmic is formally released next month.

UPDATE: Nov. 5: Still testing this crash on Karmic. I’m hoping to be able to either find a fix or a workaround shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Also, keep the bug reports coming—there are definitely outstanding issues that need to get fixed with the 2.0 codebase, and the more that get squashed, the better BloGTK 2.0 will be.

BloGTK 2.0 – IT’S ALIVE!

September 21st, 2009

At long last, BloGTK 2.0 is here and ready for download. BloGTK 2.0 is a major step up from prior versions, and features a completely new codebase and tons of modern features.

Getting BloGTK 2.0

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty

If you’re running Jaunty, using BloGTK 2.0 is a snap. You can install BloGTK 2.0 from my Personal Package Archive. Just follow the instructions under the “Read about installing” link to get going. Then, you may use Synaptic to install the new version.

BloGTK 2.0 will first uninstall previous versions of BloGTK before installing. Your individual configuration files will remain, however, and if you wish to downgrade, you’ll be able to. (Why you would want to is beyond me, though.) Unfortunately, your old configuration won’t transfer over, but BloGTK makes it much easier to get up and running than before.

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic

Packages for Karmic are now available in the BloGTK PPA. Be sure to select Ubuntu 9.10 in the drop-down box before entering the repository information.

Other Linux Distributions

If you’re running something other than Ubuntu, then you’ll need to install from source. To do that, go here to get the archive. Download the tar.gz file to a temporary folder and unpack it.

In the Terminal, go to the folder where BloGTK has been unpacked, and type:

sudo make install

BloGTK will then be installed.

BloGTK 2.0 has been very heavily tested, but it is possible that there are bugs, and there will be updates to deal with them. If you notice a bug with BloGTK, please file a bug report so those bugs can be squashed.

But most importantly, have fun using BloGTK 2.0!

BloGTK 2.0 Update

September 14th, 2009

Development on BloGTK 2.0 is continuing, with a formal release getting closer and closer. Here’s what’s been done lately:

  • The MetaWeblog API routines have been patched to allow for better compatibility with b2evolution.
  • Coding on offline editing has been started.
  • The beginnings of internationalization (i18n) support have been added. BloGTK 1.x was not build with internationalization in mind. BloGTK 2.0 will be much easier to translate into other languages.
  • The file structure for the app has changed for packaging. It is now possible to install BloGTK into the system. Packages for Ubuntu can now be built from the source.

However, there are a few things that need to be done:

  • There are several bugs with BloGTK in Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic”. For example, there are some visual bugs with the progress indicator in the settings dialog and the editor preview system tends to segfault.
  • Offline post editing support needs to be finished. BloGTK 2.0 will not have the most robust offline editing features, but I hope to improve on them in subsequent releases.
  • Adding full support for the old Blogger API as a fallback. (Although this may be left out—is there really a need for supporting this depricated API?)

The biggest task is ironing out the remaining bugs. BloGTK 1.x was somewhat flaky. BloGTK 2.0 should be much more stable. While it is inevitable that bugs will crop up, BloGTK 2.0 has been more heavily tested than its predecessor.

As always, the source code can be downloaded from Launchpad. Keep those bug reports coming, and with luck, there will be a release soon.

Don’t Forget To Upgrade

September 6th, 2009

There’s a lot of news about the recent security problems with old versions of WordPress. If you’re not keeping up to date with WordPress upgrades (the latest of this date is 2.8.4), you are putting yourself at risk.

For those who say that upgrading is a pain, it can be. But if you’re using a bunch of plugins that break with WordPress upgrades, then you’re opening yourself up to attack. Now is the time to ask yourself, do I really need that plugin? Or if you do, is there a newer version that’s better written? The new versions of WordPress make upgrading much easier, which reduces the pain in the future. And no matter how annoying an upgrade may be, rebuilding a site that’s been hacked into oblivion is much, much, much, much harder.

So, take the time to give your WordPress installs some love. It will save you a lot of pain and heartbreak in the end.

Development Update

September 1st, 2009

A few bits and pieces from the BloGTK front.

A new Ubuntu package for the old BloGTK 1.1 codebase has been released. This packages fixes a major bug with Python 2.6 and is recommended for all. For details, see the official release message. Thanks to Ralph Taylor for the fix.

Development on BloGTK 2.0 has lulled a little bit this summer, but is now picking back up. The focus right now is on squashing bugs rather than adding new features. Once the system is ready, the code will be moved on to the packaging phase – turning all the code from a bunch of code in one directory to something that can be installed and packaged.

Again, keep on filing bug reports and/or playing around with the source code for BloGTK. Already, there’s been one helpful contributor that’s helped with b2evolution compatibility. The more bug reports or patches, the better BloGTK will be.

BloGTK Needs Your Help!

August 13th, 2009

Development on BloGTK 2.0 is nearing public release, but before BloGTK 2.0 is ready for primetime, it needs testers to put it through its paces. So, if you are feeling adventurous and want to give BloGTK a spin on your distro and blog, here is how to do it.

Getting Started

First of all, you will need the following packages for your system:

  • bzr
  • python (2.6.2 recommended. BloGTK is not Python 3 compatible.)
  • python-gtk2
  • python-gnome2
  • python-gnome2-extras
  • python-feedparser
  • python-gdata
  • python-webkit

On Ubuntu, you can add them all by going into a Terminal window and executing the command:

sudo apt-get install bzr python-gtk2 python-gnome2
python-gnome2-extras python-feedparser python-gdata python-webkit

On other distributions, follow the instructions for your particular distribution. (For RedHat-based systems, you should be able to replace “apt-get install” with “yum install”. Some distributions may have slightly different names for these packages (such as “python-webkitgtk” instead of “python-webkit”)

Once you have the required packages, you’ll be able to start testing BloGTK.

Getting the Code

The next step is to get the code for BloGTK from launchpad. Go to the directory where you want the BloGTK code to be located. Next, you will use Bazaar to get the actual code. In your Terminal window, execute the following command:

bzr branch lp:blogtk

Bazaar will then download the BloGTK code to a “blogtk” directory.

Right now, BloGTK is run from its own directory. When the program is ready, it will be installed for all users. For right now, you can install the development version without disturbing any older version of BloGTK on your system.

Using BloGTK

Go to the newly-created “blogtk” directory in your Terminal and execute the following command:

bin/blogtk2

BloGTK should open up and prompt you to configure your first blog account. From the configuration screen you should be able to add as many blog accounts as you wish. From there, you should be able to play with BloGTK to your heart’s content.

How to Create a Helpful Bug Report

The goal, of course, is to get as many people testing BloGTK as possible, and for them to find and help squash as many bugs as possible. To do that, I need bug reports. You can either submit a bug report through Launchpad or leave a bug report right here on the blog. (I would prefer bugs to be put into Launchpad, but will settle for blog comments.) Here are the things you should include to make your bug report helpful:

  • Your Distribution (i.e. Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Arch, etc…)
  • What Version of Your Distro? (i.e. Fedora 11, Ubuntu 9.04, etc…)
  • What Blogging System? (i.e. WordPress 2.8, Movable Type 4, Blogger)
  • What Error Did You Get? To find out what errors may have occurred, look both at any printed message in the Terminal window and any messages in the status bar of the application. If there’s an error message in the Terminal, try copying it into the bug report.
  • What Were You Doing When You Got The Error? For instance, something like “I was editing a post on my Blogger blog in the editor, and then tried to insert a new blockquote by hitting the toolbar button, and then I got the error.” The more details, the better.

Again, the more bugs that can get squashed, the better. Also, if there’s a feature you want added in a future version, feel free to bring that up as well. However, at this point the focus of development will be on getting rid of bugs and fixing code before adding something new.

A hearty thank you in advance to everyone who helps in testing BloGTK. This program has taken a long time to develop, and I hope that the wait will have been worth it. Each bug report will help make BloGTK better.

UPDATE: Added python-gnome2-extras to the list of required packages.

UPDATE: Changed instructions to reflect the change to the folder structure in the newest revisions.

BloGTK Development Update

August 9th, 2009

Since development on BloGTK 2.0 has restarted, there’s been a flurry of activity, which is pushing BloGTK towards a public beta release. There have been several fixes to the BloGTK backend, some new work on the interface, and some general tweaks along the way. For example, the current codebase now supports saving and opening posts to disk for offline editing. The new WebKit-powered preview system is working quite nicely, and was easy to implement.

However, there are some features that are likely to be left on the cutting-room floor (at least for the first release). For example, custom tags would be a nice feature, but isn’t something that is absolutely necessary for the first release. I would also like to have a much more refined offline blogging system in place. However, that will have to wait for a subsequent release,

It is likely that there will be a preliminary beta release in the near future. BloGTK 2.0 will be a quantum leap forward from the previous versions, with many new features and a much more convenient interface. Keep checking back here for more information leading up to the first public release of BloGTK 2.0.

BloGTK 2.0: A Video First Look

August 5th, 2009

To give you a look into the the future of BloGTK 2.0 and how it works, I’ve created this short screencast demonstrating how BloGTK works:

This screencast shows BloGTK 2.0′s new category selection system, some of it’s HTML tag insertion features, the new WebKit-powered preview system, and support for Blogger.

This is the first screencast that I’ve ever created, and not a bad effort for the first time out. As development continues, look for more screencasts showing even more of the application over time.

UPDATE: Apparently, YouTube was eating my screencasts, so I’ve uploaded this new copy.

BloGTK 2.0 – Now With 100% More WebKit!

August 5th, 2009

I’m proud to announce that BloGTK 2.0 will now be using WebKit as its rendering engine for HTML content. WebKit is an ultra-fast rendering engine used in Apple’s Safari browser as well as Google’s Chrome browser. With the very nice and easy-to-use pywebkitgtk bindings, adding WebKit to BloGTK took almost no time at all.

What does this mean for you? For one, WebKit is a much better HTML rendering library than the old GTK html viewer. It’s much faster, much nicer, and is generally easier to use.

The other possibility is adding WSIWYG editing to BloGTK. I’m not sure that will appear in 2.0, just so I can get 2.0 out the door quicker, but it’s something that is now possible to add and have it work right. It’s definitely part of the road map for the next release after 2.0.

Development is continuing on BloGTK 2.0, and the addition of WebKit makes BloGTK 2.0 are much better blog editing platform than before. It will open up a whole bunch of new avenues for working with HTML in the application. It’s the sort of thing that makes a humble app programmer very happy…

BloGTK 1.2 Enters Testing

August 4th, 2009

The latest release in the old BloGTK codebase is now being hosted on Launchpad. This release fixes many outstanding bugs from 1.1 and includes new code to bring it up to date with new versions of Python and PyGTK. This version will likely be the last update to the old BloGTK codebase, as 2.0 is back in development.

Some of the fixes include a modern file chooser for opening and saving files, and improved security for saved passwords.

BloGTK may be tested by getting the code from the BloGTK 1.2 page on Launchpad. Don’t forget to file bug reports for any bugs you see.

Hopefully, BloGTK will be finalized and available for packaging shortly.

UPDATE: Preliminary Ubuntu packages can be found here.