Circulation FeedFlare – now available on Google App Engine!

Four score and many days ago, I created a FeedFlare that displayed a feed’s circulation (i.e. subscriber count) and offered it up to the world. I wrote it in Rails and ran it my hosting account, but the traffic became such that I had to shut it down.

Fast forward to earlier this year: Google announces the release of App Engine, a service that allows you to host your own web apps on Google’s world-class server infrastructure. There is much rejoicing, and wheels start to turn in my head.

In the past few days, I freed up some time to dive into Python and rewrite this flare to run on Google App Engine. I hadn’t really used Python or Django, but this was a fun opportunity to learn something new and build something people could actually use. (What a concept!)

The installation/usage instructions are posted on Google Code, so you can sneak a peek at the source as well. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like when all is said and done:

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Sample output

It was a fun little project and App Engine is great, especially with the Mac launcher tool. I’m all inspired to keep going now.

Please drop me a line if you have any questions about how to use it…I’d love to know if this helps anyone out.

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Converting HTML files for a wiki? Here’s a script

I can’t be the only person who has had these thoughts:

Wow, this intranet is so 1998 I may as well be listening to rap-metal. It’s a random collection of static HTML pages…no one knows what’s out there and none if it is searchable.

My favorite solution to this quandary is a wiki. For the un-familiar, a wiki is essentially simple web site that can be easily added to or changed by anyone who visits the site. Each page usually has an Edit this page link (or somesuch) on it which takes you to a screen where you can type in some new info (or fix what’s there).

For added fun, most wikis support a way of adding formatting to the text you contribute. I prefer one called Textile, but Markdown is an excellent choice as well. But let’s pretend you’re having this thought:

This wiki stuff sounds super, and this Textile thingy looks neat, but we have a lot of worthwhile info in our random collection of static HTML pages…is there an easy way to get that stuff converted onto a wiki?

The answer is: “sorta.” Keep in mind that the syntax used in wikis (i.e. Textile, Markdown, etc.) is not HTML, so basic copy/paste is a no-go. However, you’d think that if there was a way to convert a given HTML page into Textile or Markdown that would get you most of the way there.

Luckily, I found a script that does this pretty well. This script is written in Python and runs on the command line, so you’ll have to be pretty geeky to make use of it. I actually extracted this script from this Mac OS X Service.

You may notices it converts the text to more of a Markdown format. What I’ve done is simply use Instiki as my wiki software of choice, which can be set up to support both Textile and Markdown.

Good luck with your wiki projects.