Category Archives: Coding

WPMorris Plugin First Test





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Quickly Start a Django Project

There are many things I like to do when starting a django project. I started to compile those in a script I’m using. The gist is linked below.

New Django

# Author: Abdallah Deeb 
# Requirements: python, pip, virtualenv, virutalenvwrapper, git
# Edit the following 2 lines
if [ -n "$2" ]
if [ -n "$1" ]

source `which` 

echo "Starting a new Django project: $PROJECTNAME"
# Make a virtualenv
mkvirtualenv $PROJECTNAME

# Install latest django and start the project/app
pip install django startproject $PROJECTNAME

# conf is much nicer than projname
replace $PROJECTNAME conf -- conf/ conf/ conf/
chmod +x

# Initialize and use git
git init
git add .
git commit -a -m 'initial commit'

and the raw gist download

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Django on Codio

Codio is awesome. Coolio would have been a better name, but I guess that’s taken!

It’s free, but don’t let that fool you. What you get is a beautifully simple yet powerful IDE in your browser. It works great even on my tablet, so I can edit/update/deploy even on the road (or on the couch half asleep, and here’s where git comes in handy!). It supports github out of the box. And has a cool terminal with SSH and everything. Yay!

Now if that was not awesome enough, these guys went out of their way and added an even cooler feature:

Every project gets its own Box: an instantly available server-side development environment with full terminal access.

So you get to do it all without leaving their site. I wanted to try playing with a pet project I’m working on using django. It was pretty easy to get it all setup (especially that the code was on github, but you could as simply upload the code).

Here’s a step by step tutorial to get django up and running on codio.

Open a terminal:
Tools > Terminal

I’m using MySQL, so:

parts install mysql
parts mysql start
mysqladmin -u root password StrongPassword
mysql -u root -pStrongPassword
mysq> create database dbname;
mysql> grant all privileges on dbname.* to 'dbuser'@'localhost' identified by 'dbpasswd';
mysql> flush privileges;
mysql> \q

Also make sure to install python using the ‘parts’ command:

parts install python2

(see the related issue on

Create the requirements.txt file if you don’t have that already. Hint: run ‘pip freeze > requirements.txt’ to save those. So in requirements.txt:


Run the following in the terminal:
parts install pip
pip install -r requirements.txt

Upload the django project, or import it from GitHub then:
python syncdb
python runserver

I still need to get it running through apache. I’ll get on that later tonight.

parts install apache2_mod_wsgi # also installs apache2 and apr_util
============ apache2 ============                  
To start the Apache server:
  $ parts start apache2 
To stop the Apache server:
  $ parts stop apache2    
Apache config is located at:
  $ /home/codio/.parts/etc/apache2/httpd.conf                                               
Default document root is located at:  
  $ /home/codio/workspace 
============ apache2_mod_wsgi ============                
If Apache2 httpd is already running, you will need to restart it: 
  $ parts restart apache2
Default configuration for wsgi is:  
  WSGIScriptAlias / /home/codio/workspace                                                  
  You can change default in /home/codio/.parts/etc/apache2/config/wsgi.conf file

So I changed the file in /home/codio/.parts/etc/apache2/config/wsgi.conf to:

LoadModule wsgi_module  /home/codio/.parts/packages/apache2_mod_wsgi/3.4/
WSGIScriptAlias / /home/codio/workspace/conf/ # <-- this is where I put my file               
WSGIPythonPath /home/codio/workspace                         
Order deny,allow                                           
Require all granted                                       

Then start apache, and visit your site at
parts start apache2

You will probably see a ‘500 Internal Server Error’ message. So tail the apache ErrorLog file in the terminal to see what went wrong:
tail -f /home/codio/.parts/var/apache2/log/error_log

Here’s what I see (and I haven’t figured the fix yet):

[] mod_wsgi (pid=912): Target WSGI script '/home/codio/workspace/conf/' cannot be loaded as Python module.                                                                  
[] mod_wsgi (pid=912): Exception occurred processing WSGI script '/home/codio/workspace/conf/'.                                                                             
[] Traceback (most recent call last):                                                  
[]   File "/home/codio/workspace/conf/", line 5, in                     
[]     from django.core.wsgi import get_wsgi_application                               
[]   File "/home/codio/.parts/packages/python2/2.7.6/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/core/", line 1, in                                                          
[]     from django.core.handlers.wsgi import WSGIHandler                               
[]   File "/home/codio/.parts/packages/python2/2.7.6/lib/python2.7/site-packages/django/core/handlers/", line 6, in                                                 
[]     from io import BytesIO                                                          
[]   File "/home/codio/.parts/packages/python2/2.7.6/lib/python2.7/", line 51, in                                                                                     
[]     import _io                                                                      
[] ImportError: /home/codio/.parts/packages/python2/2.7.6/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/ undefined symbol: PyUnicodeUCS2_Replace 

to be continued…
… issue fixed by installing python using the ‘parts’ command above

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Email Tracking

Most email clients can request a return receipt. One way to set this up in Thunderbird for example is to go to “Preferences > Advanced > General > Return Receipts …” and check the “When sending messages, always request a return receipt”

The problem with this approach is that when the person you’re emailing has set his email client to reject that request (or does that manually every time), you will not get a receipt back. And honestly speaking there is no way to force that. Now there are some services out there that promise to track your mail when that’s read, and those rely on embedding a transparent gif that will call home when the message is opened. I tried a few of these services: the free ones did not deliver (or seemed too shady for my taste) and the paid ones did not look too good either. So I cooked up a quick solution that I can use when needed (like when I’m tracking my brother on his honeymoon trip *evil grin*)

The code is below, pretty self explanatory. You will need a transparent gif/png. That’s easy too 😉

Edit: Looks like some services are not so bad. Checkout bananatag and YesWare Email Tracking

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RimuDNS python module

I wrote previously about building dns zone files mostly by querying DNS and saving the results to a file.

The method is not perfect, and it will not be possible to get all the records. In fact, you could get all the records incorporated in the result file if you already have a list and feed it to your code.

I wrote a python module to manage DNS records using the RimuHosting DNS API. The code is hosted at GitHub.

I also added a guessing feature.

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Django-TimelineJS Pluggable App

I like VeriteCo’s TimelineJS. It’s elegant, easy to use and very useful. I don’t like editing Google a google spreadsheet every time I want to update the timeline although it might be easier for some people. So, I wrote a small pluggable app for django to embed a timeline in django templates.

The code is loosely based on the code for the WordPress plugin. And I’ll try to copy over more code and fixes from that soon.

For now, it’s a working app with an admin backend to enter the timeline information and events, and to edit the options. It’s also a custom template tag that you can use to embed the timeline in your own templates.

Should be easy enough to use it.

pip install django-timelinejs

then include it in your INSTALLED_APPS and ./ syncdb

Drop me a note if you find a bug or want some help. You can use the issues in GitHub for that.

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Building DNS Zone Files

The only way to get a full listing of a DNS zone is to use AXFR to request a zone transfer. But that’s usually locked and not available. So building the zone file for a domain is basically guesswork or manual labour at best.

For some background information check out these questions on SO
Here’s a script I wrote to try and automate that as much as possible. Still in beta. Suggestions welcome.

Note: I use DNSPython

Next on my list is using the RimuHosting/Zonomi API to create/import the DNS zone.

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NatGeo Wallpaper Downloader & Desktop Changer for Gnome Shell

I saw a couple of National Geographic wallpapers and those are pretty nice. I did not find an API on their site to download those on a regular basis, but it seemd pretty simple to just download them.

I just uploaded my code as a gist per (the gist code should be more up to date than the following code)
And I added the script in my crontab:

@daily	/home/abdallah/Code/scripts/

Let me know if you have any notes/comments/changes
Here’s the code

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