GNUe Traffic #9 For 29�Dec�2001

By Peter Sullivan

"The things I've found that's cool about the KC-Gnue's is that I learned there alot more happening than I expected. =) " "yeah - theres always someone breaking something - it's what we do"

Table Of Contents

Introduction

This Cousin covers the three main mailing lists for the GNU Enterprise project, gnue, gnue-dev and gnue-announce. For more information about GNUe, see their home page at http://www.gnuenterprise.org (http://www.gnuenterprise.org) . Details of the mailing lists can be found at http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnue (http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnue) , http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnue-dev (http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnue-dev) , http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnue-announce (http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/gnue-announce) .

It also covers, on an intermittant basis (i.e. when I have time), the #gnuenterprise IRC channel. A great deal of development discussion is still going on in IRC. You can find #gnuenterprise on irc.openprojects.net:6667, or you can review the logs at http://www.gnuenterprise.org/irc-logs/ (http://www.gnuenterprise.org/irc-logs/) .

1. GNUe on Slashdot

18�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Dec 2001"

Topics: Financials (Accounting), Why GNUe?

People: Stuart Quimby,�Jason Cater,�James Thompson,�Derek Neighbors

Stuart Quimby (ToyMan) said "I assume you guys are tracking the /. (http://slashdot.org/askslashdot/01/12/17/1750227.shtml) thread on accounting software?" He had mentioned GNUe. The story had "lot's of pointers to sql ledger" . Jason Cater (jcater) asked " have we been slashdotted yet?" with extra traffic to the GNUe website. James Thompson (jamest) said " our traffic went up a bit :)" - to " 3-5 times normal but about 1/2 a release day traffic load" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said "i was tempted to email slash folks and give some more info, but figured we couldnt handle the load" .

Derek mentioned an article about Linux " in a trade mag (cant recall which one)" which said "a. businesses are waiting for 'shrink wrap applications' that just work, not tools to make something that work. Linux has lots of tools but no apps. - then two sentences later - b. because there are not shrink wrap applications small and medium size businesses cant get the software they need to tailor to their unique processes" , which he thought was self- contradiction. He said that he saw GNUe as having "vastly different audiences" from sql ledger. In particular, GNUe was not exclusively web-based, which made it more suitable for power users as opposed to occasional input.

He noted that GNU had " made sql-ledger a gnu project and will be trying to using it for their own accounting and will be putting up an ecommerce site" . GNU had said to him "that if we had something that they could use today they would and that they would upgrade to gnue" . He would write a GNUe equivalent over the holidays - "a straight rip, just to say THE TOOLS HERE WORK, you just have to be willing to USE them :)" . He added "Are we still infants (absolutely) - Are we still a long way from where we want to be (surely) - But do we have things that are VERY USEFUL right now TODAY (YES YES YES) " .

2. Credit Card Verification

18�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Dec 2001"

Topics: Financials (Accounting)

People: Derek Neighbors,�Bill Gribble

Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) " had met some folks (http://www.mainstreetsoftworks.com/) in san francisco that do credit card stuff and were willing to work really close with us" . They did Automated Clearing House and Electronic Funds transfer, and "if you did online ordering they could do your credit card verification as well" . Bill Gribble (grib) said he had found " all the clearing houses are super proprietary" . Derek said the daemon/server was still proprietary, but "they have xplatform client that is open source" . He added " if they are willing to LGPL the client and give us free access to do testing thats half the battle" - a win-win situation.

Bill said he might be interested, both for gnucash and some other projects he was working on. Derek said that Credit Card Verification System had previously "used phone, but they were in process of starting to offer internet version" . Bill said it "doesn't really matter about the client. I'm interested in their server pricing tho." Derek thought they might be flexible on this. But he pointed out that, as gnucash was GPL, "you have to worry a little about the client " licensing issues for decent integration.

3. 'On-the-fly' query filtering

18�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Dec 2001"

Topics: Forms

People: Stuart Quimby,�Derek Neighbors,�Jason Cater

Stuart Quimby (ToyMan) said " one of the things I REALLY like about access is the ability for users to filter content of a query 'on-the-fly'" and asked if GNUe could do this. Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said " you can go into ANY field and do a filter - and can do it on MULTIPLE fields " but you had to do it as an execute query. This was "very powerful, but not the most 'intuitive' " . He added "we plan on making some lookup dialogs for slightly more intuitive lookups on 'key fields'" . Stuart thought that " the ability to click on a field in a 'grid' view and say 'gimme just those' is very nice" . Derek said " um that feature doesnt exist" , but could be added. Stuart feared "oh, darn, you'll prolly have to charge me big $$$" . Jason Cater (jcater) counter-offered "I take donuts" .

4. Using Object Query Language in GNUe Application Server

18�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Dec 2001"

Topics: Application Server, Common

People: James Thompson,�Reinhard M�ller,�Derek Neighbors,�Phil Cole

James Thompson (jamest) queried " right now it seems that geas only lets me set the logic at the query object level - so a query can AND all the fields added. However the conditional system in common can nest all this." Reinhard said this was " part of idl rewrite" . James wondered how "you build up your queries into something (oql?) then parse that into sql" Reinhard explained " oql is just the name of the source file that does this " . He said " you tell me your favourite way to pass the conditions and i'll implement it" . James suggested "if there is a std OQL then that may be the way to go" . Reinhard said that there were three possibilities - OQL, SQL or " some tree structure" , but everything would need to be parsed into SQL eventually. James noted "you can see the conversion process in dbdrivers/_dbsig" . Although using OQL might maximise compatability with other Applications Servers, Reinhard felt this could be messy, in that GNUe Common would be converting a tree to OQL, then GNUe Application Server would convert the OQL back to a tree and then to SQL.

Derek Neighbors noted that " omg has standard for OQL [...] it cost 'money' to get the standard though ;)" . (See Issue�#5, Section�#2� (22�Nov�2001:�ODMG specificiation in GNUe Application Server) for more details.) Phil Cole (fil_c) href-ed to the "ODMG OQL User manual 5.0" at http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~cis550/oql.pdf (http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~cis550/oql.pdf) .

5. Wide forms in GNUe Designer

18�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Dec 2001"

Topics: Designer

People: Derek Neighbors,�Jason Cater

Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) reported problems in GNUe Designer displaying forms with more than " 40 characters" across. However, the form definition itself appeared fine. Jason Cater said " so it's not a wizard problem but a layout editor problem" ? He asked "does it still appear that the grid extends down further than the scrollbars allow?" and confirmed "this is a known problem - I haven't fully grokked scrollbars" .

6. Trees and Lists in GNUe Forms

18�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Dec 2001"

Topics: Forms

People: Ulrich Ech,�Reinhard M�ller,�Derek Neighbors,�Bill Gribble,�James Thompson

Ulrich Ech (jack-e) shared his " thoughts how to use gnue for our needs" . They would need to write their own "highly customized gui" using "gnue-common that should talk to geas .. " . Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said " maybe you might want to base your gui on the existing gnue forms" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) agreed, saying " it might be that the 'customization' you desire we agree should be there in which case it would be more practical for all to integrate that functionality into forms" . Ulrich said he needed "trees (maybe lists) in an easy way [...] i find that a complex account/network-management needs to give several possiblities to the user to find information" . Derek said GNUe could add "a tree widget to forms " , but wondered how to implement " the data aware side of it" .

Ulrich also said he had "not yet seen a list-widget .. (at least not in desinger) .." Bill Gribble (grib) wondered "how do you display query results?" . Ulrich said "i have done this with pydo but there i missed what geas can give: business-objects .." . Derek said "i can see a list fairly easily..." but added "the reason i think we have avoided trees and some of these other widgets is they are not 'portable' " to user interfaces like curses. Ulrich said he did "not really need html/curses interfaces for this project .." He thought trees would be quite complicated to do, "but people are used to them ..." James Thompson (jamest) said trees might be part of wider "navigation issues" . He thought "a tree navigator that would embed forms" might be a better way of approaching this.

7. Supporting mutliple languages in database drivers

20�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 20 Dec 2001"

Topics: Common

People: James Thompson,�Reinhard M�ller,�Bill Gribble,�Derek Neighbors

Further to Issue�#8, Section�#13� (19�Dec�2001:�Database drivers for python and C) , James Thompson (jamest) asked "did you have a chance to look at db API?" Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "i read through the .txt and decided that it must be incomplete so i must look at the source [...] for example i saw some introspection methods in the source but not in .txt" . James said "introspection is being fleshed out and isn't documented" .

James said he was "writing a set of higher level functions that reduce the amount of boilerplate code for each python call" for the interface to allow c to call python. However, he thought "this layer would be nicer if it was a generic langauge embedding wrapper" . He added " btw - i swore guile(?) was just such a library but it doesn't seem to be what I thought it was" . Bill Gribble (grib) said "guile started out with more of that as a goal " but had developed in different directions. Reinhard said "multiple language support would be a goal for geas but is way off imho" . He felt "it would be nice to have this generic wrapper but we shouldn't do it where we don't have to do it (mho) " . He confessed "i'm a big fan of the "unix way" of doing things" - having simple tools that can be combined where necessary to do more complex things.

Later, Derek Neighbors (derek) said " I'm interested in your multi language idea as its a requirement for gnurpc. I think there is HUGE value in making common available to more than just python/C. I'm not sure the code to do it belongs in the db driver, but if you are having ideas you might wish to jot them down :) " James explained "I'm talking about a generic wrapper to python that geas would use to assess the python objects - it makes the geas code cleaner. My thought was should I spend a little time to see if this generic wrapper API would work well if someone wanted to add another language" . He gave an example of how it might work.

8. GNUe Templates for Applications

20�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 20 Dec 2001"

People: Derek Neighbors

Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said " i am not a big fan of lets put in a hundred ways to do it and then toggle a crap load of flags to tell you how - i would rather see this done in templates of sorts" but it had not been decided how these would work as of writing. He explained "templates provide way of doing almost a diff against BASE modules to add or remove functionality - think of customizations that survive upgrades :) and that can be shared " .

9. Labels in GNUe Forms

20�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 20 Dec 2001"

Topics: Forms

People: Jason Cater,�Derek Neighbors,�James Thompson

Jason Cater suggested "of adding a type= "label" to the entry tag - like we have type="combo ", etc" Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) "would like that :)" - by default, labels should "be background color and non 3d and read only" . They could be made data-aware later. Jason didn't think it would take long to do, but wondered " should it be a 0.1.x series thing or 0.3.x series" . Derek said he was "thinking it might be worth bundling a release of sorts (even if only a tar/gz) one" for version 0.1.1, but he didn't want developers to have to do it. Jason and James Thompson felt there weren't enough patches to justify a release yet. Later, Jason reported "I implemented your 'style="label "' but need to test it :)"

10. GNUe Common Q&A

21�Dec�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Dec 2001"

Topics: Common, Application Server, Forms

People: Reinhard M�ller,�James Thompson,�Jason Cater

Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) had a series of questions about GNUe Common, now that it was intended to use this to provide database drivers for GNUe Application Server. He asked how he could "keep 2 resultsets" in memory at the same time, confirming it needed "2 DataObject instances and 2 ResultSet instances" . James Thompson (jamest) explained that "the datasources use the connection manager to pool connections" . Jason Cater (jcater) confirmed "there's ALWAYS a 1:1 mapping between DataObject and DataSource" , and James added "a 1:1 mapping between a dataSource and a backend table(or object)" . In which case, Reinhard asked, "why do we have two distinct classes for DataObject and DataSource?" Jason explained that "datasource is just a placeholder until a dataobject is loaded" - dataobjects were specific for each database provider (postgresql, Oracle, etc.). James said the intention was "that the app programmer never deals with a dataobject" directly. Reinhard said he had just been about to propose something like this!

Reinhard also asked "In which cases do we have more than one ResultSet for a single DataObject? " Jason said this was mainly for " master/detail relationships" , especially "in an interactive environment such as forms " . James pointed out "this is very handy in editing - as my users wanted to edit all the details for multiple masters" at once. Jason checked if "we requery detail sets if they have not changed?" James said he couldn't remember - "it'd really be nice to have a graphical breakdown of this puppy" .

Reinhard asked "does that system know about data types?" , that is, "does it check values when fields are set?" James said "they are all stored as strings" . Jason confirmed "typecasting is on the todo list" . James said this meant that, at the moment, "my form dies on a field that's tied to a date field in the db" . The available datatypes were listed in "common/src/GTypecast.py" but weren't complete. Reinhard pointed out that "geas/src/classdef/classdef.h contains a list of geas datatypes" and felt the GNUe Common datatypes should be the same. James said it would be simple to do this. Reinhard pointed out that this was important for " introspection and schema creation" , as "the datatype will be a parameter to functions" . James said that " introspection is a work in progress, but initial support is there for a few backends - it needs added to other backends as we find people with access and knowledge of how to do it" . Reinhard asked "is there a way to ask for the datatype of a given column name?" James said that wasn't possible as of the time of writing, but " we planned on providing that so that designer can preset forms options " , for instance, making integer fields accept numeric input only.

Reinhard said that, if GNUe Common was " to replace the dbdriver in geas we would need fully functional introspection and schema creation methods - at least for postgres" James agreed. Jason pointed out that "the schema introspection in postgresql is fairly complete" . Reinhard thought "schema creation methods" to create tables and add columns and so on were more important initially than type checking. Jason admitted "we don't have schema creation - of course, until we looked at having geas use our dbdrivers, they weren't necessary :)" Neither Jason nor James thought it would be hard to add this. James suggested starting with "a SQL92 compliant module for building the needed sql then let individual drivers extend this" .

11. A new user for Supply Chain and CRM?

21�Dec�2001�-�24�Dec�2001 (1 post) Archive Link: "GNUe Santaprise"

Topics: Why GNUe?, Supply Chain, Customer Relations

People: Jason Cater,�Derek Neighbors,�James Thompson,�Peter Sullivan

On IRC, (http://www.gnuenterprise.org/irc-logs/gnue-public.log.21Dec2001) Jason Cater (jcater) suggested "our sample app for next december should be a supply chain setup for santa's workshop - it'd be a great publicity stunt for GNUe" . Later, he told Derek Neighbors "we volunteered you to do it - and with the red clothing, you can be santa too :) " . Derek (dneighbo) said "as long as i dont have to wear the 'tight pant things' jamest was referring too, im cool with it :)" . James Thompson (jamest) said "nah, we got a deer suit and a red nose for you" .

In a similar vein, Peter Sullivan posted a spoof e-mail from a GNUe Consultant to "kris_kringle@santa.org " about some changes to Customer Relationship Management. This included disabling "all functionality relating to payment, sales invoices and credit control" but adding a field "for Child.Naughty_or_Nice. " . He pointed out the symbolism of " santa.org as the world's leading "free as in beer" organisation [...] supporting "free as in speech " software."

Sharon And Joy

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