Conifer Productions

From ideas to apps. From mobile to global.

LCD-like banners in Python

Back in 1998 or so, I wrote a CD player application for Microsoft Windows in Borland Delphi. It was for a magazine tutorial article, and I wanted a cool LCD-like display to show track elapsed and remaining time. There was a good one available for Delphi, called LCDLabel, written by Peter Czidlina (if you’re reading this, thanks once more for your cooperation). I’ve been thinking about doing a modern version of the LCD display component for several times over the years, and I even got pretty far with one for OS X in 2010, but then abandoned it because of other projects. Read more →

Learning Clojure

About one year ago I wrote a multi-part tutorial on Clojure programming, describing how I wrote a small utility called ucdump (available on GitHub). Here are links to all the parts: Part 1: The Clojure REPL Part 2: Definitions Part 3: Higher-order functions Part 4: Logic Part 5: Project However, Carin Meier’s Living Clojure is excellent in many ways. Get it from O’Reilly (we’re an affiliate): My little tutorial started with part zero, in which I lamented how functional programming is made to appear unlearnable by mere mortals, and it kind of snowballed from there. Read more →

Functional programming without feeling stupid, part 5: Project

In the last four installments of Functional programming without feeling stupid I’ve slowly built up a small utility called ucdump with Clojure. Experimentiing and developing with the Clojure REPL is fun, but now it’s time to give some structure to the utility. I’ll package it up as a Leiningen project and create a standalone JAR for executing with the Java runtime.

Creating a new project with Leiningen

You can use Leiningen to create a skeleton project quickly. In my project’s root directory, I’ll say:

lein new app ucdump

Leiningen will respond with:

Generating a project called ucdump based on the 'app' template.

The result is a directory called ucdump, which contains:

.gitignore   README.md    project.clj  src/
LICENSE      doc/         resources/   test/

For now I’m are most interested in the project file, project.clj, which is actually a Clojure source file, and the src directory, which is intended for the app’s actual source files.

Leiningen creates a directory called src/ucdump and seeds it with a core.clj file, but that’s not what actually what I want, for two reasons:

  • I want ucdump to be a good Clojure citizen, so I’m going to put it in a namespace

    called com.coniferproductions.ucdump.

  • My Git repository for ucdump also contains the original Python version of the application, which is in <project-root>/python, and I want the Clojure version to live in <<em>project-root</em>>/clojure.

Read more →

Functional programming without feeling stupid, part 1: The Clojure REPL

In my recent post Functional Programming Without Feeling Stupid I took a quick look at how functional programming can be a little off-putting for the non-initiated. I promised to provide some examples of my own first steps with FP, and now I would like to present some to you.

Advocates of functional programming often refer to increased programmer productivity. At least some of that can be attributed to the REPL, or the Read-Evaluate-Print Loop. We are basically talking about an environment which accepts and parses any code you type in, and gives you a place to experiment and see results quickly. Before interpreted or semi-interpreted languages like Python, Java and JavaScript became mainstream, the typical repeating cycle in software development was Compile-Link-Execute, and debugging meant observing special output on the console. In the 1990s integrated debuggers with watches and breakpoints became the norm, but long before that Lisp-like languages already had a REPL, and Python also acquired one.

If you are thinking about getting intimate with Clojure, you will need to get to know the REPL. It is your playground, and will always be, even if you later start packaging and organizing your code.

Clojure depends on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and is actually distributed as a normal JAR file (Java ARchive), like most Java libraries are. You can start Clojure from the JAR, but you will save yourself some trouble and prepare for the future if you install Leiningen, the dependency management tool for Clojure. It is simple to install and run, and I will assume that you will follow the instructions on the Leiningen web site sooner or later. Now would be a good time.

When you’re done with the installation, you only need to say

lein repl

to start a Clojure REPL. I’m using OS X, so what I describe here was done from Terminal. You don’t need to create a project with Leiningen if you just want to play around in the REPL.

Of course, if you don’t have Java installed, you need to get it first. Refer to the Java web site of Oracle for details as necessary. Furthermore, some of the things I will describe require Java version 7 or later.

Read more →

Hearts and HipStyles

It’s Valentine’s Day, and HipStyles for iPhone is free for today only! HipStyles Valentine’s Day Special To celebrate and spread the love, we have reduced the price for exactly 100 per cent. This is your chance to save big! It’s available on the App Store, so download it and tell your friends and loved ones what we already know, and you soon will: that HipStyles is the ultimate companion app for Hipstamatic users. Read more →