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GNUe Traffic #26 For 26 Apr 2002

By Peter Sullivan

Alternative transport methods for TCP/IP compared - "i'm getting a carrier pigeon in four years!!" - "i had a pack of matches and some brush. I did." - "my poor semiphore operator is really tired when I download the new galeon"

Table Of Contents


Twenty-six is not a particularly significant number, except that (based on a weekly output) it represents six months' worth of Kernel Cousin GNUe. During this time, we have summarised 8,393k of irc log and an indeterminate quantity of mailing lists down to 911k of Kernel Cousins' XML source. Thanks go primarily to Zack Brown for setting all of this up, but also to everyone involved in the channel both for their support and for saying so many things worth summarising!

I would guess the two most significant events of the last six months have been the release of Forms and Designer 0.1, which provided a solid basis for building applications in two-tier mode, and the decision to abandon the first version of the Application Server and go for a complete re-write of this key componant of n-tier. The next big milestone, which is imminent, is the first official release of GNUe Reports (0.0.1).

For more information about the GNU Enterprise project, see their home page at This Cousin covers the three main mailing lists for the GNU Enterprise project, gnue, gnue-dev and gnue-announce. It also covers the #gnuenterprise IRC channel. A great deal of development discussion for this project goes on in IRC. You can find #gnuenterprise on, or you can review the logs.

1. Current status of GNUe

18 Apr 2002 (3 posts) Archive Link: "HOWTO Install"

Topics: Why GNUe?

People: Gerrit Van DykDerek NeighborsRob Adamson

Gerrit Van Dyk said he had "downloaded the CVS version and did a which ran fine." He asked what he should do next to create databases, and install and access packages. Derek Neighbors clarified that the packages existed "in design only" as of time of writing. "The tools however are created and installed and you should be able to run the samples to get an idea of what GNUe can do." For documentation, "On redhat i believe db2html, db2ps, db2rtf etc work." . Rob Adamson confirmed that the Debian equivalent was "docbook-utils."

2. GNUe Application Server version 2 - first commits

17 Apr 2002 Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Apr 2002"

Topics: Application Server

People: James ThompsonNeil TiffinDerek NeighborsReinhard Müller

Further to Issue #25, Section #1  (11 Apr 2002: GNUe Application Server documentation) , James Thompson (jamest_) noted "the appserver dir in CVS" and asked "think we'll have a demo by say monday?" Reinhard Müller (reinhard) said that was perfectly possible, as long as the demo didn't actually have to do anything useful! Later, Neil Tiffin (neilt) noted "hey, I saw some files going into cvs :)" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) suggested "its bait - the question is are you big enough to keep or do we have to be good anglers and throw you back and hope you enlarge over the spring so we can catch you next year ;)" . Neil suggested "throw me back - i'll be better next time" . Derek said "fwiw: i think reinhard is just throwing together some snippets to start 'exploring'/index.html'testing' and such" .

3. Providing translated error messages without over-using gettext

18 Apr 2002 Archive Link: "[IRC] 19 Apr 2002"

Topics: Common, Forms

People: James ThompsonDerek NeighborsJason Cater

Further to Issue #24, Section #13  (9 Apr 2002: i18n and translating error messages) , James Thompson (jamest) proposed "instead of putting gettext in each module couldn't we embed this in GBaseApp as a dictionary" . This approach would mean "at app startup gettext is called on every string required by the program - and the key:i18 string is stored in a dictionary - which we then reference from the code base - instead of doing the gettext call every time it's required in the code - function calls are expensive in python - dict lookups IIRC are not" .

Derek agreed - "i would say at that point could we do is specific to the langaguage called - so say in my gnue.conf or whereever we get it i have 'ru' selected - basically reads the 'default' and the 'ru' and merges them?" This would allow the application to use translated messages where they were available, but automatically fall back to English where no translation was available (e.g. for developer-level error messages).

To implement this, James suggested "create a common - import that into GBaseApp - have base app build global dict _translation - then when needed in module from gnue.common.GI18N import _translation or somethig like that" . Jason Cater (jcater) pointed out that "_ names are not exported - but I like the concept" .

4. Automatically generating applications from UML models

22 Apr 2002 (1 post) Archive Link: "Re: modeling tools for developping AND implementing"

Topics: Application Server

People: Pierre-Alain MillerDerek Neighbors

Pierre-Alain Miller asked about "business process modeling" and "modeling for desing and modeling for use" - he felt that process modelling for future tools and modelling to describe current processes were different activities. Derek Neighbors said that, in the long term, he would like GNUe to allow designers to "build a UML diagram and press some buttons and your 'objects/schemas' are updated on the fly." . He said "I still think it would relatively elementary to make a dia xml out put be transformed by xslt into our database schema format and someday directly into our class file definitions for the Application Server." However, this would take time to develop.

5. GNUe for plant nursery management

22 Apr 2002 - 23 Apr 2002 (3 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] GNUe Reports"

Topics: Why GNUe?, Application Server, Reports, Inventory, CRM

People: Patrick BakkerDerek Neighbors

Patrick Bakker said he might "be implementing a project for a greenhouse nursery to coordinate inventory management, accounting and customer management" . Derek Neighbors suggested "You might want to consider just using the GNU Enterprise Framework. It will make your life much easier. :)" . Patrick said "Perhaps the biggest concern my employers have is the maintainability of the software when I leave - they really want the security of having a support channel. My latest thought is to suggest making the software open source (perhaps utilizing GNUe) so that the software can have a longevity that outlasts me." Derek suppoted this approach - "If you wanted to release your applications under a GPL compatiable licensee that would surely be doable and you could help ensure perhaps others would adopt them giving them even more comfort." Unlike proprietary solutions, "they will have ALL the source so they can never be damaged by no support." Patrick said there was some concern that "that not all of the base tools are ready to give a convincing proof of the viability of this particular open source solution." Derek said "there are few people using GNUe in production" and volunteered to set up some demo sessions if that would be helpful. Patrick said the "Decision will not be made for some time yet but I will suggest it." He felt that "For the project I'm working on I need GEAS to be functionally and reliabily connecting to PostgreSQL and forms."

Patrick asked about various types of cross-tab report - Derek said "Cross tab reporting is do able and will be supported at some point. :)" . On sorting, Patrick noted "The ordering of items on a report is frequently requested to be tweaked and rarely in the same order. ie. "alphabetical but show this one first"." He asked how this could be done without having to export to another application such as Excel. Derek said that GNUe Reports would "support triggers and complex queries" which should cover this. Patrick supported the concept (as discussed in Issue #25, Section #22  (16 Apr 2002: Gnumeric and Excel output for GNUe Reports) ) of an export to spreadsheet that preserved formulas - "This is probably most critical for subtotals since they are frequently used with autofilter to provide a basic tool to explore the data with details." Derek agreed - "this will be one way we kick some tail over other reporting tools!" Patrick felt that "Absolute and relative positioning should both be allowed." Derek said "We plan to support both" as "the engine is highly flexible" .

6. Using GNU-RPC for GNUe Application Server

21 Apr 2002 Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Apr 2002"

Topics: Application Server, Common

People: Jan IschebeckJames ThompsonReinhard Müller

Jan Ischebeck (jan) asked "Is there an need of an RPC-status.txt ? Do we allready have an GNUE RPC proposal?" James Thompson (jamest) said "we have functoinal (limited) code" . Jan asked whether "you like to have added simple GNURPC support to your first implementation of the appserver?" Reinhard Müller said "i think it's more or less a "must have" for an appserver" . However, as of time of writing, the "the toy code is more or less empty function headers - but it will be a proof of concept if it's possible to write an appserver in python - and maybe it points out a few things we have to regard in the future development process of the appserver" . Jan agreed - "I hope that adding GNURPC to the "FIRST IMPLEMENTATION" of GEAS 2.0 will help both the appserver and GNURPC because both parts needs each other."

7. Nola - free alternative to GNUe Financials?

21 Apr 2002 Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Apr 2002"

Topics: Financials (Accounting)

People: Jason CaterDerek NeighborsDaniel Baumann

Jason Cater (jcater) asked "have you heard of Nola?" , which had now been released under the GNU Public License (GPL). He needed "a good accounting package - (free or otherwise)" . Derek Neighbors (derek) said he was normally suspicious of proprietary software vendors suddenly making software GPL. Jason said it might just be "that it's good, but the market has too many players - or only a few big players - so it's stuff ppl won't pay for - not saying that's the case here - but perfectly plausible" . Derek agreed, saying "i didnt investigate as the idea of web based accounting is just horrific to me" .

Jason said he was "still TRYING to get something together for my accounting department - they are willing to go free - as long as it works and does what we need" . He had considered just building a GNUe front-end to sql-ledger, but personally wasn't keen on it, having looked at the code. Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) asked "don't we have an accouting package design? - just no code to imeplement said design" . Jason said he planned "to use GNUe in a few years - but I need a working system by June" . Derek said "louis' spec is darn good for two tier - like within a month someone could probably whip up a decent system - based on that spec" .

Jason "downloaded and untarred nola" , and worried about the use of "copyrighted MS fonts" and the US Postal Service's licensed zipcode data. However, it did look to have a realistic schema, with "over 100 tables" . He thought "this nola might be exactly what I need as a basis" , even though personally "I still detest a web-based accounting package" . Derek said "actually if its good let me know - i will make screens :)" using GNUe Forms.

8. Handling unexpected exceptions

23 Apr 2002 (1 post) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] Policy for error messages"

Topics: Reports

People: Jan Ischebeck

Jan Ischebeck reported a problem when trying out GNUe Reports - whenever an error occoured for which there was no error message defined in the gnue.conf file, the system would report "The gnue.conf file appears to be missing" which was misleading. Given that "its difficult to care for all possible errors while writing the code" , especially where Input/Output devices were concerned, he suggested either "catch the Exception and write ... Error type ,,, msg" or just not catch the exception at all.







Sharon And Joy

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