Thursday, February 19, 2009

Plater Released!

I released Plater 0.1 today.

Plater is a Python package that contains common LIMS classes that can be used to build a custom LIMS application.

Instead of starting your LIMS application from scratch, use the Plater package to represent common LIMS domain models, and piece them together in whatever configuration your application requires.

Take a look at the Plater project page for details on how to download/install/use Plater.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


You can find many blog posts comparing AJAX data transfer formats JSON and XML to AMF3, but they all seem to miss what I see as the 3 biggest advantages to AMF3.

1: AMF3 supports references for objects, strings, and class definitions. If you're encoding an object graph that contains references to the same object over and over, or even the same object type over and over, AMF3 will be significantly smaller over the wire, and once you get the data you won't need to do any manually reconciling of objects that are really the same thing.

2: AMF3 can decode typed objects that have methods, derived properties, and a static class definition. That saves time because you have to do less post-parsing processing of the data. It also makes development a lot quicker, especially if you're using an ORM on the server side. You can send objects retrieved from the database straight over to the client, the user can modify the objects with the GUI, and the objects can be sent straight back to the server to save changes. Your server-side AMF encoder/decoder library and ORM library take can care of all the CRUD grunt work, so all you have to do is figure out a decent data model and how to represent it in the client GUI. I use Python and PyAMF on the server side, which even has support for lazy-loading attributes of objects persisted with the SQLAlchemy ORM.

3: You can implement the IExternalizable interface on any AS3 class to fully customize the object encoding/decoding process. If you're brave and need optimization for large data sets, you can even write and read directly to/from the AMF3 byte stream and use your own custom encoding scheme suited for your data type