Want to know what people want?

Well this doesn’t get you exactly there, but László Kozma has a Perl script and some analysis that points you to the top sentences on the Web that start with “How can I” using Google. Fascinating stuff.

Two comparisons of different programming languages worth reading

Normally these kinds of pieces are worthless, but these two recently stood out to me:

Dennis M. Ritchie: Five Little Languages and How They Grew: Talk at HOPL* March 19, 2002

Michael Tsai: Perl vs. Python vs. Ruby – distinguished for the thoughtful replies in the discussion thread.

NYTimes on using GeoDjango

Nice work NYTimes.

Open: Represent:

We built Represent with Django, the Python web framework. Although we do most of our work with Ruby on Rails, we chose Django for this project so we could use GeoDjango, an add-on that supports geometry fields and extends the ORM to allow spatial queries.

We started with maps from New York City’s Department of City Planning showing district boundaries for City Council, State Assembly, State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. We used the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library, a translator library for raster geospatial data formats, through GeoDjango’s LayerMapping class to populate a PostgreSQL database extended with the PostGIS spatial extension. The geometry relationship functions provided by PostGIS allow for quick, accurate lookups to determine which legislative districts contain your address.

Represent shows you your address in relation to each of the political districts that contain it. To draw the maps of your districts, we used GEOS, a C++ port of the Java Topology Suite, an API for modeling and manipulating 2-dimensional linear geometry, via GeoDjango’s GEOS API. GEOS allows for the conversion of a geometry to KML, which can then be consumed by Google Maps.

But to do all that, we need an address: yours, hopefully, if you live in New York City. To turn that address into coordinates, we built a geocoding service based on Geo-Coder-US, the perl library that powers geocoder.us.