E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.


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Bitbucket, Debian Linux, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, macOS, Markdown, Mercurial, Python, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, xmonad

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darcs on pair.com

Shared hosting is starting to feel pretty quaint in the face of cheap and easy virtualization, but I still have some clients who use it. While doing some maintenance work today on one client's Pair.com account, I started to twitch when I realized I was about to make some changes without using version control. I checked for Bazaar, Mercurial, and darcs command-line binaries; only darcs was installed, luckily a fairly recent version (1.0.8). Problem solved.

(I could have also created a local Subversion repo -- I discovered they have a recent version of svn as well.)

This little episode also reminded me that version control has become integral to my work and that it wasn't always so. I'm embarassed to even think about how many years I spent doing web development with nothing more sophisticated than local mirrors and manual backups. One of the deficiencies of my enjoyable but spotty CS studies in the late '80s was that version control wasn't even mentioned as a concept, let alone emphasized. Too bad -- there was this newfangled thing called RCS back then. Wheeze, gasp.

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

0 comments pending approval
Comment from Bryan , 9 weeks later

Thanks for pointing that out. They have a the current version of git installed to!

Comment from Paul , 23 weeks later

After working with darcs for a while I ended up installing Mercurial on the account -- darcs was periodically throwing permissions errors that I didn't have time to sort out. Knock on wood, no issues with Mercurial so far.

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