New Project: pyDimension

As I mentioned previously, I’ve always found PHP awkward to use but I’d always kind of put it into the whole “PHP is the worst web development language there is; apart from all the others” sort of a box.

I’d always been interested in Python, but I find it very difficult to learn something by following through a tutorial. I need to have a project to get stuck in to and the few ideas I have had were always a little over-ambitious.

Fresh from my win with my search system (and freshly deflated by The Essay), I decided to give Flask a go.


I am so impressed with how quickly I got to grips with Flask, Jinja2 and of course Python. In the last 4 days I’ve almost completely replicated my staticDimension blog publishing system in Python!

It’s still a long way from being shareable in full (I’m not even using it to write this yet, it’s still safely locked away in my testing environment) but I wanted to share a small bit of the problem I was up until midnight last night solving.

At the point I wrote this bit, I was feeling really pleased with myself that I’d managed to transition into a whole new language and was already writing simple, efficient, beautiful code. I needed to implement the code for generating the archive pages that make the post date directories browsable.

This is what I came up with:

def rebuild_archive_indexes():
    archiveYearDirs = glob("%s/[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]" % app.config['SITE_ROOT_DIR'])
    archiveFile ="%s/archive.html" % (app.config['SITE_ROOT_DIR']),
                                               encoding='utf-8', mode='w')

    archiveYears = []                          
    for y in archiveYearDirs:
        year = os.path.split(y)[1]
        archiveYears.append((year, year))

        for (path, dirs, files) in os.walk("%s/%s" % (app.config['SITE_ROOT_DIR'], year)):
            archiveIndex ="%s/index.html" % path, encoding='utf-8', mode='w')

            sPath = path[len(app.config['SITE_ROOT_DIR'])+1:]
            if not dirs:
                items = map(get_full_title, files)
                if '/' in sPath:
                    days = dirs
                    month = [sPath.split('/')[1] for x in range(len(days))]
                    yr = [year for x in range(len(days))]
                    items = map(day_name, days, month, yr)
                    items = map(month_name, dirs)

            archiveIndex.write(render_template("%s/archive.html" % app.config['SITE_TEMPLATE'],

    archiveFile.write(render_template("%s/archive.html" % app.config['SITE_TEMPLATE'],
    flash('Archive rebuilt')
    return redirect(url_for('control_panel'))

def month_name(monthNumber):
    months = ("January", "February", "March", 
                     "April", "May", "June", "July", 
                     "August", "September", "October", 
                     "November", "December")
    return (monthNumber, months[int(monthNumber)-1])

def day_name(dayNumber, month, year):
    d =, int(month), int(dayNumber))
    return (dayNumber, "%s, %s" % (d.strftime('%A'), dayNumber))

def get_full_title(f):
    return (f, f)

I’m pretty sure this would be classified as an abomination and get me kicked out of any Python clubs - month = [sPath.split('/')[1] for x in range(len(days))] to generate a list of the same values just so I can use map() on the days tuple to work out what day the 1st of May was in 2011. get_full_title() isn’t fully implemented yet and may well spawn a post of its own too - the lazy method means opening and reading every plaintext blog post (again) just to get the first line. I’m pretty sure I can do better than that.