I wrote my first blog post in a little while (ok, ok… 18 months) yesterday and when I tried to
generate the post, it failed. Silently failed, which is the worst kind of failure. I’m still not
sure why it was silent, but I eventually was able to force it to show me an error message:
/home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/pygments.rb-0.3.4/lib/pygments/popen.rb:354:in `rescue in get_header': Failed to get header. (MentosError)
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/pygments.rb-0.3.4/lib/pygments/popen.rb:335:in `get_header'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/pygments.rb-0.3.4/lib/pygments/popen.rb:232:in `block in mentos'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/1.9.1/timeout.rb:68:in `timeout'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/pygments.rb-0.3.4/lib/pygments/popen.rb:206:in `mentos'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/pygments.rb-0.3.4/lib/pygments/popen.rb:189:in `highlight'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/pygments_code.rb:24:in `pygments'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/pygments_code.rb:14:in `highlight'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/backtick_code_block.rb:37:in `block in render_code_block'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/backtick_code_block.rb:13:in `gsub'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/backtick_code_block.rb:13:in `render_code_block'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/octopress_filters.rb:12:in `pre_filter'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/octopress_filters.rb:28:in `pre_render'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/post_filters.rb:112:in `block in pre_render'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/post_filters.rb:111:in `each'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/post_filters.rb:111:in `pre_render'
from /home/vinod/dev/kurup.org/plugins/post_filters.rb:166:in `do_layout'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/jekyll-0.12.0/lib/jekyll/post.rb:195:in `render'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/jekyll-0.12.0/lib/jekyll/site.rb:200:in `block in render'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/jekyll-0.12.0/lib/jekyll/site.rb:199:in `each'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/jekyll-0.12.0/lib/jekyll/site.rb:199:in `render'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/jekyll-0.12.0/lib/jekyll/site.rb:41:in `process'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/jekyll-0.12.0/bin/jekyll:264:in `<top (required)>'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/bin/jekyll:23:in `load'
from /home/vinod/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p286/bin/jekyll:23:in `<main>'
Professor Google tells me that this happens when you try to
run the pygments.rb library in a Python 3 environment.
(pygments.rb is a Ruby wrapper around the Python Pygments library). The fix is to run the code in a
Python2 virtualenv. I guess the last time I updated my blog, Arch still had Python2 as the system
default. No, I don’t want to check how long ago that was.
It’s occasionally useful to be able to create a Django model class in your unit test suite. Let’s
say you’re building a library which creates an
which your users will want to subclass. There’s no need for your library to subclass it, but your
library should still test that you can create a subclass and test out its features. If you create
that model in your models.py file, then Django will think that it is a real part of your library and
load it whenever you (or your users) call syncdb. That’s bad.
The solution is to create it in a tests.py
file within your Django app. If it’s not in models.py, Django won’t load it during syncdb.
A problem with this solution is that I rarely use a single tests.py file. Instead we use multiple
test files collected in a tests package. If you try to create a model in tests/test_foo.py, then
this approach fails because Django tries to create the model in an application named tests, but
there is no such app in INSTALLED_APPS. The solution is to set app_label to the name of your app
in an inner Meta class.
A 22-month-old previously healthy girl was brought to the emergency
room in respiratory distress. She had been well until the day of
presentation. Shortly after disembarking from an airline flight, she
developed cough with one episode of emesis. En route to the emergency
room, her breathing became labored and she developed hives. She was
diagnosed as having an allergic reaction and treated aggressively with
IV methylprednisolone, IV diphenhydramine, inhaled albuterol, and
oxygen. Mechanical ventilation was not required and her symptoms
improved rapidly. She was monitored in the emergency room for an
extended period and discharged in stable condition with a prescription
for diphenhydramine and methylprednisolone solutions. No specific
allergen was identified. She was seen by a pediatric allergist where
she was found to have a 6 mm response to peanut on skin prick testing,
and a peanut-specific IgE level of 52 kU/L. She was diagnosed as
having severe peanut allergy and avoidance was strongly recommended.
Peanut allergy affects between 0.4 and 2.0% of children. Prevalence
has been increasing in recent years, but the reason for this increase
is not well understood. If reactions are identified immediately,
treatment is usually effective. Despite this, about 200 people die
each year from peanut reactions. Biphasic reactions, in which the
initial reaction subsides, but then recurs within a few hours, are
common. The second portion of a biphasic reaction is often less
treatable. Because of this risk, patients should be monitored for at
least 4 hours after a reaction. Patients who successfully treat their
own reactions with subcutaneous epinephrine should still seek medical
attention, again to monitor for biphasic reactions.
The gold standard for diagnosis is a double blind placebo controlled
food challenge (DBPCFC), but this is rarely done. A diagnosis can
usually be reliably made with clinical history, skin prick testing and
a peanut-specific IgE blood test (psIgE). A skin prick test involves
pricking the skin with a needle that is exposed to peanut extract and
measuring the allergic rash that develops. The psIgE blood test
measures the amount of antibody against peanut proteins. The higher it
is, the more allergic the patient is. A positive skin test or psIgE is
not sufficient for the diagnosis. Some type of reaction to peanuts is
required (either spontaneous, or via monitored food challenge).
Peanut allergy was previously felt to be permanent, but recent
evidence documents that 20% of children outgrow their allergy. More
than 60% of patients with an psIgE level of less than 5 passed a food
challenge. IgE levels correlate inversely with likelihood of
resolution, but this correlation is by no means perfect. Some patients
with undetectable psIgE levels will fail a challenge, while some
patients with very high psIgE levels will pass. One expert recommends
waiting until the age of 4 to consider a challenge, and to use a
cutoff psIgE level of less than 5 kU/L in most patients. Recurrence
of peanut allergy after resolution is rare, but is associated with the
lack of regular peanut intake after resolution of the allergy.
Controversy exists regarding risk factors for developing peanut
allergy. The AAP initially recommended that peanut not be introduced
early in a child’s life, but rescinded that advice given the lack of
evidence behind it. This leaves a void for parents as there is no
recommendation to withold or introduce peanuts to toddlers. It is also
not clear if maternal peanut intake during pregnancy or breast feeding
increases the risk of developing peanut allergy in children. Studies
have been conflicting, so more definitive studies are underway. No
evidence-based advice can be given one way or the other to pregnant or
breastfeeding women, but at the minimum, there is no good evidence to
support avoiding peanuts.
The mainstay of treatment is education. Parents should be taught not
only how to identify peanuts in foods, but to identify situations
which are high-risk for exposure to peanuts. Avoidance of buffets,
ice-cream parlors, and bakeries is recommended because the risk of
cross-contamination in those setting is high. Religious reading of
food labels is important. Patients who are allergic to peanuts are
often also allergic to tree nuts, despite the dissimilarity in those
food types. Highly refined peanut oil is usually NOT a risk, but
cold-pressed peanut oil is not safe.
Most importantly, an epi-pen should be carried at all times and extra
doses should be left at daycare facilities and schools. All caregivers
should be comfortable giving an epi-pen injection and this should be
provided at the first sign of a systemic allergic reaction. Waiting to
give diphenhydramine or other therapies a “chance to work” can be
dangerous. Follow a Food Allergy Action
Over 80% of people who died from allergic reactions were not given
appropriate instructions on how to prevent future reactions. Most
mortality occurs because of late treatment. If you take one thing away
from this long post, keep an epi-pen handy and use it liberally.
Trials are underway investigating various oral-based immunotherapies,
but none are strongly recommended at this point. Injection
immunotherapy has not been found to be useful.
So, the 22 month old above is Anika and she gave us the scare of our
life a couple years ago. The scary part now is that we never saw her
actually eat a peanut, so we’re especially vigilant now. Fortunately,
Anika seems to understand the importance of avoiding peanuts. When she
was diagnosed, I did some research but never documented my notes. She
recently had another allergist appointment, so I reviewed those notes
and any new data. I figured I should write up my notes so I wouldn’t
have to review this again from scratch every year. I didn’t intend it
to come out so ‘medical-speaky’, but there it is. Anika and Kavi are
sitting next to me as I write this and they want to give some
information to you, too.
“Always ask at the restaurant if things have peanuts and make foods
at home that do not have peanuts. Always check if there are peanuts in
every food you eat.”
“We might have to go to the doctor if we eat peanuts. If I eat
peanuts by accident, my teacher will give me a Happy-Pen (epi-pen).”
Sampson HA. Peanut Allergy. N Engl J Med, 2002;346;1294-8.
Fleischer DM, et. al. The natural progression of peanut allergy:
Resolution and the possibility of recurrence. J Allergy Clin
O’B Hourihane J. Peanut Allergy. Pediatr Clin N Am, 2011;58;445-57.
Rinaldi M, et. al. Peanut allergy diagnoses among children
residing in Olmstead County, Minnesota. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2012:130:945-50.
Burks AW. Early peanut consumption: postpone or promote? J Allergy
Clin Immunol. 2009:123:417-423.
medline feed URL
that I monitor which should show new studies or reviews related to
Pre-GTD task management systems recommended that you assign a priority
to each task. When looking at a list of tasks, you then choose the
ones with the highest priority. David Allen (author of GTD) includes
‘priority’ as one of the things that you should consider when you are
deciding what to do, but only after you have considered context, time
available, and energy available. Which makes sense. As Merlin Mann
says, it doesn’t matter if mowing your lawn is your highest priority
when you’re sitting in an airplane. Only if you’re in the right
context with the right amount of time and the right amount of energy,
should you consider which of the remaining available tasks is highest
The risk, though, is that there are so many little ‘easy’ tasks that I
could do instead of important, ‘hard’ tasks. I’m also really good at
convincing myself that I don’t have the energy available to do harder
tasks when I really should. So when I get back into GTD, I process all
the things hiding in the back of my brain which leads to the creation
of lots of simple tasks. Google this, buy that, throw away the other
thing. But the two things that I really want to be doing more are
writing and programming. Both of those take blocks of uninterrupted
time and effort, so I end up subconsciously shying away from them. I
actually feel better about it, too, because now I have all these other
tasks that I can do instead. So, I feel productive, even when ignoring
the more important things that I should be doing. I’m moving more
efficiently, but in the wrong direction.
I’ve avoided that a little bit this time by doing a little bit of
prioritization each night before I go to bed. I look through my todo
list and pick about 3-5 things that I want to get done the next day. I
tag those with the ‘today’ tag and then the next morning I look at
that list and start working on those things before doing anything
else. I’ve heard this
trick from a lot of
people before, so I don’t remember who I heard it from first.
So far it’s been effective for me. The problem always starts again
though when I go back on service, because then I can only really focus
on one thing and that is getting my work done at the hospital. We’ll
see if I can somehow figure out a way to get at least one non-work
thing done on each of those days.
Merlin Mann’s recent series of podcasts on GTD,
I’m getting back on the GTD wagon (for about the 100th time). I read
Getting Things Done in 2002 and have been
trying to implement it ever since. I’ve had periods where I followed
it religiously for a month at a time, but it’s never completely stuck.
From what I hear, this is normal and I accept it now. This won’t be
the last time that I restart GTD. Even when I’m not actively using
GTD, I think in GTD terms, thinking about next actions and projects
and ruthlessly placing projects on the backburner. I just have trouble
sticking with the entire GTD workflow, especially the ubiquitous
capture (I trust my brain too much) and the weekly reviews (they just
seem too painful). I’ve used every online and offline tool in the
book, too. Despite not doing so great with GTD, I’d say my life is an
So why try again? Each time I have gotten back on the bandwagon, I’ve
had a surge in productivity. I wrote more. I made some clear decisions
on issues that I had been procrastinating on. I wouldn’t be surprised
if each of my major life improvements over the past 10 years was
associated with a time where I got back on the GTD wagon. I can’t
prove that, because I don’t keep enough details, but I always feel
better and think clearer when I’m on GTD.
But, I’ve failed so many times… what kind of hubris makes me think
I’ll get it this time?
“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
Parenthood has taught this to me. Of course we don’t expect our kids
to learn each skill the first time they try. We expect that walking
and reading and writing and bike-riding will take time, multiple
efforts, and multiple failures. But eventually they will get it. Yet,
with each failure, kids get upset (to varying degrees). The answer at
that point is not to tell them to give up. Yet, that’s what I do to
myself. So, I’m going to treat myself like a kid and let myself fail,
understanding that each failure will get me closer to that one time
where I will succeed.
I think twitter and facebook stunt my writing. The more that I read
tweets, the more self-conscious I get when I write. Not that my
writing is all that original, but I still feel that it is something
that comes from me. I worry so much about presenting ideas of others
as my own without even remembering that I had seen the ideas before.
In the old days, the things that I read were long form. Books,
articles, maybe blog posts. They each left an impression on me, maybe
good, maybe bad, but I had a sense where they were coming from. When I
wrote I could reliably say where the inspiration for my idea had come
from. Now with twitter, I see all these ideas and thoughts, some of
which are interesting, but few of which leave a lasting impression on
me. So now I have this fear that the things that I am considering my
own ideas are actually the ideas of others, improperly attributed. Of
course, that’s silly. No idea is original, but it’s just serious
enough to stifle my writing. Because, as a writer, I am the
scaredy-cat of all scaredy-cats and any criticism of my writing bites
deep to the heart. I also know that this is something that I just need
to get over. You cannot express ideas without inviting criticism.
I also don’t just want to let criticism fall off me. I want to learn
from critics. But saying all that doesn’t necessarily make it any
easier. Even writing this post, I feel like a fraud. I’ve said that
I’m a writer a couple times up there, but what evidence do I have to
support that claim? Most of my blog posts are so simple or technical
or repetitive. Nothing that would strike me as an ‘original idea’.
This whole post makes it seem like I am more important or better than
I really am.
What is my point with all this? I want to be able to write. I know
that there are people out there who could benefit from things in my
brain (maybe not a lot). I know that there are people out there who
can help me (in ways that I can’t even expect). So, I want to write
and I want it to be freely flowing and I don’t want to force myself to
feel that what I am writing is useful or authoritative or perfect. I
apologize to you, Vinod, my biggest critic. I know that you are
cringing inside because you’re thinking that anyone who reads this
will think that you are so full of yourself for even considering
yourself a writer. But, this is my first step in letting my guard down
to get this blog flowing. Because I do believe that writing is healthy
and will make me a better person.
In addition to committing to blogging more frequently, I’m also going
to try a twitter hiatus for a week and see what happens.
Now that we have 3 kids, I’m always internally comparing one to the
other. Sure that’s not healthy and will probably breed resentment in
them during their teenage years, but what’s a bad parent to do?
I need an app that takes 2 kids’ birthdays and then shows me what day
it was when the older kid was the age that the younger kid is now.
Wow, that’s a confusing sentence. In simpler terms, if I have a
3-year-old and a 1-year-old, then the app would show me the day that
the 3-year-old was 1.
Then, I want the app to take that date and go through all of my
personal files (photos, notes, twitter stream, facebook stream, etc.)
and show me what was happening in our life around that day.
In short, it would show a snapshot of what our life was like when the
older kid was the age that the younger kid is now. I’d call it
WhenIWasYourAge or something catchy like that.
Seems simple enough to build, but I don’t see myself getting to it
anytime soon. Smart people say to set your ideas free and if they love
you they’ll come back. (Wait, I think I’m mixing metaphors here).
I’m not the handiest guy in the world, so I’m pretty proud that I was
able to fix a flat tire on Kavi’s 12” bicycle.
DISCLAIMER: I have almost no idea what I’m doing. Follow my
instructions at your peril.
I’ve fixed flats before, but it’s been a long time. Fixing it on such
a tiny bike was a lot harder than I thought. The manual makes it seem
so simple. “Remove the wheel, take the tube out, patch the tube and
then replace the tube and tire.” Right… I got stuck at step 1.
Removing the wheel isn’t straightforward. Most of the videos available
online focus on adult-sized bikes which have quick-release tires. You
pull a release lever back and then pull the tire off. Kids bikes have
bolts instead of quick-release levers. You have to loosen the bolts,
but you don’t have to take the bolts completely off. You also have to
take off the plastic chain guard that prevents kids from rubbing their
legs against the chain. Finally, there’s this little metal piece that
attaches the wheel to the frame. I think it’s there for the
pedal-brake to work. In any case, you have to take that off. Once the
wheel is loosened, you have to unhook the wheel from the chain. This
is also easier in big bikes which have multiple gears, making it
possible to place the chain in a position to easily get it off the
wheel. In a kid’s bike, it’s harder. Once I loosened the bolts on both
sides of the wheel, I pushed the wheel a little forward, which
loosened the chain and made it easy to release from the chain.
The next difficulty was getting the tube out of the tire. All the
videos make this seem so easy. Place a tire lever in the tire to pull
it over the rim. Put another tire lever in and slide it around the rim
to get the rest of the tire out. Kavi’s tires are so tight that this
was impossible. I could get the first tire lever in, but when I put
the second tire lever in, it was completely immovable. There was no
way that I was going to be able to slide it anywhere. I finally found
a website where they recommended using a third tire lever. Put the
first two in a few inches apart. Then put the third one in another
inch away from the second one. Finally remove the middle one and move
it an inch past the third one. In this way, I was able to get the tire
I then got the tube out and found the leak. I placed a patch on it,
but when I reinflated the tire, the leaking air just pushed it’s way
through the patch. I tried roughing up the area with the roughing
tool, but that didn’t help. Finally, I resorted to the layman’s
favorite tool: duct tape. I placed the patch, then wrapped it with
duct tape. It’s held together for a few months now.
Hopefully Kavi will graduate to the next size bike before my handiwork
breaks down. On another note, Kavi was easily able to pick up the
basics of riding a bike by following the
I took off the training wheels and the pedals, which allowed him to
get the feeling of balancing the bike without having to keep his feet
on the pedals. Once he got that part, it was relatively easy for him
to balance with the pedals on. He also proved to be a much tougher kid
than I was. Everytime he fell, he got right back on.
Today, I listened to
Mark Aufflick’s interview where
he talks eloquently about starting your own business. I love the
perspective he had on his first business and how shutting it down gave
him the necessary (though painful) experience to make his current
business work. He also talked about the importance of computing
history especially given the availability of interesting subjects. He
ended with great advice on the importance of professionalism.
Paraphrased: “Make sure your team is the most professional side of any
I know Mark and
Mark from the
OpenACS glory days and it’s great to hear how
well they’re doing. Computing history was a prominent part of both
talks. I think this is important. Old ideas are always new again. Some
of the ideas that these pioneers had were only limited by the
horsepower we had to work with at the time. Now thanks to Moore’s law,
those limitations are gone, so we should re-investigate those ideas.
Or maybe we’re all just getting old and like to talk about the
good-old-days. :-) It’s nice to see that they both mentioned the
OpenACS period of their programming lives as important. It certainly
was for me. It was also great to hear Mark Aufflick’s voice for the
first time, even though I feel like he’s been a friend for many years.
As evidenced by the numerous blog posts documenting how to set this
up, it’s not straightforward. I recommend starting from scratch to
make sure everything is set up properly. Once you have it working,
then you can customize it. Make sure to start these commands in your
Create an empty .emacs.d directory and a subdirectory named with your
username. My username is vinod, so we’ll create a directory
structure called .emacs.d/vinod/. The emacs-starter-kit tells emacs
to automatically load any elisp files from that special directory, so
you’ll always have a place to drop custom elisp files.
vinod:~$ mkdir -p ~/.emacs.d/$USER
Create a file named .emacs.d/init.el with the following contents:
(require'package)(add-to-list'package-archives'("marmalade"."http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/"))(add-to-list'package-archives'("melpa"."http://melpa.milkbox.net/packages/"))(package-initialize)(when(not package-archive-contents)(package-refresh-contents))(defvarmy-packages'(starter-kitstarter-kit-bindingsstarter-kit-jsautopairyasnippetauto-completefuzzy)"A list of packages to ensure are installed at launch.")(dolist(pmy-packages)(when(not (package-installed-pp))(package-installp)));; autopair and yas in all modes(autopair-global-mode)(yas-global-mode1);; autocomplete(require'auto-complete-config)(setqac-dictionary-files(list (concatuser-emacs-directory".dict")))(ac-config-default);; hack to fix ac-sources after pycomplete.el breaks it(add-hook'python-mode-hook'(lambda ()(setqac-sources'(ac-source-pycompleteac-source-abbrevac-source-dictionaryac-source-words-in-same-mode-buffers))));; Set up python-mode(setqpy-install-directory(concatesk-user-dir"/python-mode.el-6.0.12/"))(add-to-list'load-pathpy-install-directory);; this will show method signatures while typing(setqpy-set-complete-keymap-pt)(require'python-mode);; activate the virtualenv where Pymacs is located(virtualenv-workon"default/")(defunload-pycomplete()"Load and initialize pycomplete."(interactive)(let* ((pyshell(py-choose-shell))(path(getenv"PYTHONPATH")))(setenv"PYTHONPATH"(concat(expand-file-namepy-install-directory)"completion"(if path(concatpath-separatorpath))))(if (py-install-directory-check)(progn(setenv"PYMACS_PYTHON"(if (string-match"IP"pyshell)"python"pyshell))(autoload'pymacs-apply"pymacs")(autoload'pymacs-call"pymacs")(autoload'pymacs-eval"pymacs")(autoload'pymacs-exec"pymacs")(autoload'pymacs-load"pymacs")(load (concatpy-install-directory"completion/pycomplete.el")nilt)(add-hook'python-mode-hook'py-complete-initialize))(error"`py-install-directory' not set, see INSTALL"))))(eval-after-load'pymacs'(load-pycomplete));; pyflakes flymake integration;; http://stackoverflow.com/a/1257306/347942(when(load "flymake"t)(defunflymake-pyflakes-init()(let* ((temp-file(flymake-init-create-temp-buffer-copy'flymake-create-temp-inplace))(local-file(file-relative-nametemp-file(file-name-directorybuffer-file-name))))(list "pycheckers"(list local-file))))(add-to-list'flymake-allowed-file-name-masks'("\\.py\\'"flymake-pyflakes-init)))(add-hook'python-mode-hook'flymake-mode);; menu bar is useful when getting started(menu-bar-mode)(setq-defaultdefault-tab-width4)
Step 3: Create a python virtualenv
We’ll keep all the python-side customization in a virtualenv named
default. It’s important that the name you choose is the same as the
name in the (virtualenv-workon) command in line 45 of Step 2.
vinod:~$ mkvirtualenv -p python2 default
After it does its thing, your shell prompt should change, indicating
that your new virtualenv is activated
Step 4: Install Pymacs
Pymacs is a really cool
piece of software that sets up a 2 way communication between Emacs and
Python, allowing you to control Emacs with python commands rather than
elisp commands. It requires a python piece (Pymacs.py) and an Emacs
piece (pymacs.el). Unfortunately, they’re not installable via pip
or package.el, but installation is easy enough.
(default)vinod:~$ mkdir src
(default)vinod:~/src$ cd src
(default)vinod:~/src$ git clone git://github.com/pinard/Pymacs.git
(default)vinod:~/src$ cd Pymacs
# check to make sure tests pass(default)vinod:~/src/Pymacs$ make check
# install it (Be sure you're inside your virtualenv!)(default)vinod:~/src/Pymacs$ make install
# install the emacs extension(default)vinod:~/src/Pymacs$ cp pymacs.el ~/.emacs.d/$USER/
Step 5: Install other python packages
These helper packages are easier to install:
(default)vinod:~$ pip install pyflakes pep8
The pyflakes and pep8 packages check your code as you type using
Emacs’ flymake mode. Now, deactivate your virtualenv.
Step 6: Install pycheckers
Flymake is the part of Emacs that checks your code for errors on the
fly. It calls a shell script called pycheckers, so you need to have
a script by that name in your shell’s PATH. Here’s mine
As I mentioned in my talk, there are multiple Python modes available,
but I recommend using the one named python-mode.el, which is developed
It does periodically get uploaded to
Marmalade, but the
auto-completion using pycomplete doesn’t work well on the version that
is there now (6.0.10), so I recommend that you manually download and
install the latest stable version (6.0.12). I’ll update this post once
a stable working version gets uploaded to
vinod:~$ cd ~/.emacs.d/$USERvinod:~/.emacs.d/vinod$ curl -L https://launchpad.net/python-mode/trunk/6.0.12/+download/python-mode.el-6.0.12.tar.gz | tar xz
Step 8: Test it all out
Launch emacs and open a python file named test.py. Type the following:
Wait at this point. You should see auto-completion of os.path.join
followed shortly by a yellow popup showing documentation of that method.
Hitting return should accept the completion. Then type ( and you
should see the method signature in the minibuffer.
Move the cursor over any letter in join. Hit ‘F1’. A window should
popup with the docstring for os.path.join. Hit ‘F2’. A new window
should be opened with the code for os.path.join. Hit ‘F3’. You’ll be
prompted to enter the name of any python command, and Emacs will show
you the docstring.
Type the string ‘blah’ and hit return. The string should be
highlighted in pink and if you mouseover it, the minibuffer will say
undefined name 'blah'. That’s flymake working for you.
Hit C-c C-c and the buffer should be sent to a Python interpreter and
you’ll be dropped in the REPL after the code has been loaded. Any
errors in the code will be reported.
If all of this works, then CONGRATULATIONS!!! If not, let me know and
I’ll see if I can help debug.
Step 9: Customize
All of this is customizable in hundreds of ways. Try M-x
customize-group RET python-mode RET to see how.
Step 10: How to create a new python project
Whenever you want to create a new Python project, you have do the
Create a new virtualenv
vinod:~$ mkvirtualenv newproject
Install pymacs into that virtualenv
(newproject)vinod:~$ cd ~/src/Pymacs
(newproject)vinod:~/src/Pymacs$ make install
For the most part, this won’t affect much, but if you move from a
Python2 project to a Python3 project, you may have problems. The
workaround is to call M-x pymacs-terminate-services, then M-x
virtualenv-workon to change your virtualenv, and then finally
M-x load-pycomplete to restart pymacs and pycomplete.
Latest stable version of python-mode.el isn’t on Melpa
I’d much prefer to just load python-mode using the built-in Emacs
Pymacs installation is harder than it needs to be
I wish Pymacs could be installed by a 2 step process
pip install Pymacs
M-x package-install RET pymacs RET
Which pycheckers to use?
My script uses pep8 and pyflakes. There are a lot of other options out
there and I do not know which is best. See
for more details.
Not using ropemacs any more
In my talk, I used ropemacs. In this setup, I have decided against it.
I was mostly using it for code-completion and documentation lookup,
but I like pycomplete.el better for those purposes. It’s included in
python-mode and it shows method signatures as you type. Ropemacs does
have other features such as project management (easily jumping to
files in the same project), and refactoring (changing variable names
throughout project). I haven’t used those, so I decided not to install
Project management not included
I haven’t yet decided which package to use for this. I’ll probably try
projectile, but there are many other options, some lightweight
(ropemacs, eproject, pony-mode) and some heavyweight (ecb, CEDET).
I gleaned knowledge from all of the following, in no particular order.
Thanks to @danpoirier and
@gregnewman for testing. I initially
recommended using the master branch of python-mode.el, but now I
recommend using the latest stable release (as of now) which is version
6.0.12 to avoid problems loading Pymacs. There’s a bug on 6.0.12 with
virtualenv-workon that requires you to put a trailing slash after
the name of your virtualenv, so I’ve updated the init.el file above
to account for those changes.