Braindump: WxWidgets, Version Control, and Firefox Bookmarks

WxWidgets GUI Programming

I’ve been thinking about creating an application using the WxWidgets GUI API.  I’ve read a lot about it, and many seem to really enjoy the results of the applications they’ve created with it.

For my own purposes, I’ve been looking for the ideal GUI API that would allow me to quickly create cross-platform desktop applications for Windows and Linux platforms (Mac would be a bonus).  I’ve looked at QT, GTK, and MingGW.. but I’ve been turned off because they don’t seem to have strong Perl and/or Python bindings (although Perl strong with Tk, I’ve heard).

I’ve tried a small test Python program with WxWidgets (GTK version), and was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of the code.  I think I’m going try some other tests, this time using Perl, as I want to note the differences in complexity between Perl and Python code.  Currently, Perl is my canvas of choice ((Being that I see programming as an art, more than anything else)).



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Source Code Management

I did another run through of modern Source Code Management (or SCM, Version Control) systems, and found friends and co-workers are once again suggesting that I switch from CVS to Git.  I admit, I’m using CVS and I should have switched to something, anything, a long time ago.. but I’m quite stubborn.  Also once again, I’ve been reading that Git isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  Even though it has all these nice fancy wonderful features, it still seems to be a major pain in the ass to work with.  Now Bazaar on the other hand, which is supported by Canonical Ltd (of Ubuntu fame) seems to be totally developed around helping you manage your source code without getting in your way all the time.  It seems to have everything I could want (coming from a CVS background), and it seems to provide all these features with a very tight and easy to use interface.  My major problem/issue/concern right now is… why aren’t more people using it?



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Staying in Control of Bookmarks with Foxmarks

My wife had a bit of an issue with Firefox that had been plaguing us for quite some time.  It all started when I set up a VMware virtual machine for her, so that she could use it to surf the web without worrying about trojans and viruses attacking her documents, while still being able to do her important stuff on her physical computer.

This was all well and good, however we ran into a problem – she wanted her Firefox bookmarks to stay in sync between the VM, and the Desktop.  No problem!  I worked some magic and got both instances of Firefox to use the same profile via a network share.  Easy.. or so I thought.  It turns out that if Firefox (2.0 at least, not sure about 3.0) is running on one computer with one profile, you cannot use another instance of Firefox on another computer with the same profile.  The second instance will fail with an error that “Another instance of Firefox is currently running..”.  I found that odd, because in fact, another instance of Firefox wasn’t currently running, at least on that computer.  Ah well, for a short time we lived with the idea that she could only be running one instance of Firefox at a time.  No biggy.

Yes biggy!  When streaming music or video from Firefox in the VM, the performance is crap!  Therefore she would logically want to load the site with the streaming data (Youtube, for instance) on the local instance of Firefox – without having to close the Firefox instance down which is currently running on the virtual machine.

After a brief period of silent meditation and searching the web for “bookmark synchronization”, we happened upon Foxmarks, which is an awesome server-side bookmark synchronization service.

Foxmarks requires that you set up an account (like a GMail account), so that you can synchronize your bookmarks from one instance of Firefox to the server.  This is all well and good and reasonable.  What I was impressed to find, was that Foxmarks was a very well polished service/add-on to Firefox which has apparently been around a long time, and has very large user base.  If you’ve ever wondered how you can keep your bookmarks synchronized between one computer and another, or between home and the office, Foxmarks may be just what you were looking for.


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