Playing with Meteor Again

It’s been awhile. I’m looking at Meteor again after my first look about 2 or 3 years ago. It seems to have matured into a rather cool web framework. It’s USP is real time updates between server and clients. Anything entered into the server database, is reflected (almost) immediately on each of the clients. If a client makes changes, those are reflected immediately on the local, and are background updated to the server, and then out to the other clients. It’s really slick.

It uses (by default) a mongodb as backend, and minimongos on each client, which live in the browser memory and have a subset of the full database cached locally. These listen for updates from the server and push updates to the server form teh minimongo. The client only reads and acts on the minimongo.

I decided to pay proper attention this time instead of skimming, so I’ve bought the Discover Meteor Book by Tom Coleman and Sacha Greif.

I’ve also done some digging into the architecture of Meteor because I have always wondered about how much control and scalability I might be sacrificing for the “magic”. This page from The Meteor Cookbook helped a lot (thanks). I now understand that I can remove the mongodb from the meteor server itself and deploy and admin as I wish in production. I am still a little hazy on scaling the meteor app itself, but that is coming in later chapters!

All in all, I’m enjoying myself. The long winter evenings will just fly.

Installing Python, pyMongo, and Bottle on Windows

I had no problem installing all of the above on my Mac. On Windows, however, it was a bit of a pain. Thinking about it, it maybe that the mac install was Python 2.7, which everyone has been there and done that, whereas the Windows install was python 3.3, which may be a little later to the party.

Anyway, what I did:

  1. Install python 3.3 from Use the msi installer
  2. Install the pymongo using the msi from > Look down the bottom to find the windows installers. I suggest you don’t do an easy_install, it won’t compile properly and will either not work at all, or will have degraded performance.
  3. Install distribute. The instructions are here. I found it easiest to install from cygwin/git-bash using:
     $ curl -O
    $ python
  4. Install pip using easy_install supplied by distribute. NB: you must do this from the DOS command line (and, it appears, be in the Scripts folder):
     C:\> cd c:\Python33\Scripts\
    C:\> easy_install pip
  5. I also installed bottle at this point.
     C:\> pip install bottle

Many experienced python developers are recommending using virtualenv. It allows you have a virtual python install where you can pip install anything without blowing up your base python install by accident. You may have to use the performance retarded pymongo as Windows 7 (32-bit) doesn’t have the c libraries needed to build the necessary modules.

Hat tip to khattam for the distribute/easy_install usage.

GIT: Find commits for a specific file

git log --stat component/src/main/resources/META-INF/spring/context-osgi.xml

 Gets you a list of all the commits including that file.

git diff $commit_hash_old $commit_hash_current component/src/main/resources/META-INF/spring/context-osgi.xml

Shows you the diffs between the old file and the one you have now.

Cross ref: git blame might be more useful. Tells you which lines of a file were changed by whom:

git blame component/src/main/resources/META-INF/spring/context-osgi.xml

6d4e6fd3 (Dick Dastardly 2012-07-26 15:28:33 +0100 24)
6d4e6fd3 (Dick Dastardly 2012-07-26 15:28:33 +0100 25) /data/error/
c3cedfe7 (Dick Dastardly 2012-06-13 16:10:19 +0100 26)
6d713a0a (Muttley 2012-10-18 13:44:33 +0100 27)
3233b294 (Peter Perfect 2012-11-07 13:16:34 +0000 28) mappingPersistenceUnit
3233b294 (Peter Perfect 2012-11-07 13:16:34 +0000 29) HSQL
c3cedfe7 (Dick Dastardly 2012-06-13 16:10:19 +0100 30) org.apache.openjpa.jdbc.sql.HSQLDictionary
c3cedfe7 (Dick Dastardly 2012-06-13 16:10:19 +0100 31) org.hsqldb.jdbc.JDBCDriver
47e39616 (Dick Dastardly 2012-06-21 14:12:40 +0100 32) jdbc:hsqldb:data/resource/lookup.db
3233b294 (Peter Perfect 2012-11-07 13:16:34 +0000 35) 1

Mac OSX: Things To Do First If You’re a Developer

If you’re a developer moving to a Mac may I recommend, from my own experience, you do these three things before you try and do anything at all other than using iLife or M$ Office:

  1. Install XCode Tools. You’ll need your OSX install DVD, select Optional Installs/Xcode Tools, and run the XcodeTools.mpkg. Budget an hour for it to install, hope for 40 mins. Maybe better on the Intels.
  2. Install MacPorts. It makes life so much easier than trawling the web trying to understand the esoterica of Mac OSX standard installs of various things like mysql, sqlite, python and ruby. None of them work quite the way I expect them to, and the hacking to try and understand what’s different, and then how to fix it, is so time consuming I have bypassed them and use MacPorts. It looks like a shedload of other people do too.
  3. create a .bash_profile file in your home directory. Use this for aliases (.bashrc doesn’t work).

All I can think of right now.

Weather Check

If you have a linux OS the bash shell script below will tell you most recent temp, windspeed, direction, and rainfall at Everton, Sandy, and Biggleswade from local weather stations using weatherunderground. I crontab it, piping the results to mail -s ‘Current weather’


function checkComponent() {

       curl -s $aurl | tail -3 | tr '\n' ',' | awk -F, ' { print "NAME@ " (5/9)*($2-32) "C dp " (5/9)*($3-32) "C " $5 "@" $8 "mph " $92 "CurrentRain " $10 "in DailyRain " $13 "in\n" } ' | sed "s:NAME:${name}:" >> tempweather

checkComponent IENGLAND82 Everton
checkComponent IBEDSBIG1 Biggles
checkComponent I90580822 Sandy

cat tempweather
rm tempweather