Archive for November, 2007

National Novel Writing Month is Over

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So it’s the end of November, and the final count is 53,708 words. I’ve submitted it to the nano site and got a nifty little image to display:


Official NaNoWriMo 2007 Winner

It’s sorta funny because I finished early- I had a week left when I stopped writing, and I probably could have hit 60k if I had more plot. Maybe when the revision process starts I’ll get some ideas for back stories and such that I can weasel in there.

Test Post from KBlogger

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Trying a new tool… lets see how this works…

50,300 Little Wins in NaNoWriMo

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At 11:50pm on the 21st of November, I completed the NaNoWriMo challenge, writing 50,300 words for my book, Sinblade. I’m not done yet- I still have another 5-10k words to go before I’ll consider the rough draft complete. Here’s my ideal lifecycle for the book:

  • Rough Draft: First complete version of the story.
  • First Draft: First revised version I send out for people to read. Continuity and plot are checked.
  • Second Draft: All first draft changes are merged. English is checked. Plot is evened out. Facts are checked.
  • Third Draft: Spell-checking, punctuation, and formatting.
  • Fourth Draft: Repeat of third draft with different audience.
  • Final Draft: What’s sent to Lulu.com for printing.

My goal is to get the Rough Draft done by December 1st, and that seems a easily reachable goal. Next is to get the First Draft (the first copy to leave the house) out the door for editing and revising by the end of December. I’m not sure how reasonable a goal that will be- I have some catching up to do on my neglected Ruma project. As for the rest of the draft, there are no hard and fast rules- I suspect I’ll be lucky to get to the second draft, let alone the third or fourth.

The end goal is to self-publish through Lulu.com, a print-on-demand book service. This means you’ll be able to buy an actual paperback copy of my book! How cool is that?

Seeing as how it’s now 40 minutes into Thanksgiving, I think I should send out some thanks to those that have helped me:

  • Jackie: for bearing with me through another time-consuming project. Hopefully this one will make money.
  • Ian: for mostly behaving when I was trying to write.
  • VP: for encouraging me to compete in NaNoWriMo with his books, Shining Star and Pulling Strings
  • yojimbo, dev_null, mylo, my coworkers, and everyone else who offered to help me: I’ll be taking you up on your offers to help revise 🙂

Thanks again everyone for the support! Wish me luck!

Update: Don’t take this post as an example of my writing- it was 1am.

Introduction to Subversion

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I was planning on simply republishing my previous svn article, but realized that it sucked compared to what I know now.

Prerequisites

I’ll presume you have the following things.
– a Linux machine
– subversion already installed

Terminology to Know

There are a few terms that get mangled if you’re coming from other types of source control. This is just to clear things up.
Repository: the central storage place on the subversion server where your data is kept.
Checked-out copy: Unlike VSS, saying something is checked out does not imply that the file is locked. Also referred to as a local copy; but bear in mind that it doesn’t contain *all* of the data of the actual Repository.
commit: save the changes you made locally to the repository.

Mental Hurdles

All of the files stored in a subversion repository are stored in a meta-filesystem. Much like an ISO image sitting on your desktop is not simply a folder full of files, a subversion repository is not directly accessible when you open it. Instead, you’ll see the guts of the repository- DB files, hooks, locks, etc. Don’t go digging through there to manually change your files- it’ll break things.

Another important one is the meta-filesystem. The “inside” of your repository is just a big filesystem. Much like /bin and /home exist on a linux machine by convention, there are certain base-level directories you should create for convention’s sake. The first thing you should do with a new repository is create three new base level directories: /tags, /trunk and /branches. Your main development will take place in /trunk. Don’t worry about the other two at the moment.

When I refer to the root of the repository, I’ll often refer to it as / or root. This *IS NOT* your server’s root directory or the physical location of the repository- it’s the part of the meta-filesystem where /trunk, /tags and /branches reside.

Step 1: Creating the Repository

Creating a repository is fairly simple. Anyone can create a repository where ever they have write access. All they must do is run

$ svnadmin create ~/project1/

This should create an empty repository. This will demonstrate what I’m talking about when I say that your repository is a meta-filesystem:

morgajel@unicron ~ $ svn ls file:////home/morgajel/project1
morgajel@unicron ~ $ ls /home/morgajel/project1
conf dav db format hooks locks README.txt
morgajel@unicron ~ $ svn mkdir file:////home/morgajel/project1/trunk -m 'creating trunk'

Committed revision 1.
morgajel@unicron ~ $ svn ls file:////home/morgajel/project1
trunk/
morgajel@unicron ~ $ ls /home/morgajel/project1
conf dav db format hooks locks README.txt

Here you can see the repository was empty, then we created a directory called trunk (using a commit message to describe the change we made), then showing that the directory was in fact created. Do the same thing for /tags and /branches.

We now have a working repository!

Checking out the Repository

Creating a repository is fine, but using it would be much more… useful. Next you should check out a copy of your project. Under normal conditions you’ll only be checking out the /trunk, but you mileage may vary in different situations. Since this is on our local machine, we can use the file:// protocol. Other protocols exist, like http:// (webdav), svn:// (svnserve), and svn+ssh:// (svn over ssh), but you don’t have to worry about them right now.


morgajel@unicron ~ $ svn co file:////home/morgajel/project1/trunk my_project1
Checked out revision 3.

This should check out the empty /trunk directory to a local folder called my_project1. The only thing in this directory is a hidden .svn directory which holds the guts of your local copy repository info. It’s similar in function to the CVS directory in CVS. Unfortunately a nearly-empty directory isn’t much use, so let’s add some content.

Adding Content

So let’s add some content.

morgajel@unicron ~ $ cd my_project1/
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ mkdir -p lib bin share/docs
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ touch configure Makefile share/docs/README lib/foo.pm bin/widget.pl
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn status
? configure
? share
? lib
? bin
? Makefile

Here I created a bunch of directories and created some empty files. When I ran svn status, svn told me that there were 5 things it wasn’t versioning. Let’s add them.

morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn add configure share lib bin Makefile
A configure
A share
A share/docs
A share/docs/README
A lib
A lib/foo.pm
A bin
A bin/widget.pl
A Makefile
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn status
A configure
A share
A share/docs
A share/docs/README
A lib
A lib/foo.pm
A bin
A bin/widget.pl
A Makefile

As you can see, it recursed down into share, bin and lib and added all the goodies inside of each directory. You can also see svn status shows these as well. Keep in mind they’re just slated to be added to the repository- they’re not added yet. Let’s go ahead and commit them.


morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn commit -m "a bunch of empty files and directories"
Adding Makefile
Adding bin
Adding bin/widget.pl
Adding configure
Adding lib
Adding lib/foo.pm
Adding share
Adding share/docs
Adding share/docs/README
Transmitting file data .....
Committed revision 4.

Modifying Data

So suppose you’d like to modify these files, you you decide to move the README to the root of your local copy (~/my_project1/):


morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn mv share/docs/README README
A README
D share/docs/README
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn stat
D share/docs/README
M bin/widget.pl
A + README

Notice that I used svn mv to move files rather than regular old mv- That’s to make sure svn is aware of the move and keeps the file history associated with the new file. You can also see bin/widget.pl now include some new info as well, and displays an M[odified] next to it. The + next to README shows that it copied the history over from it’s previous position. So what happens if we move a file without svn mv?

morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ mv configure config
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn status
? config
! configure
D share/docs/README
M bin/widget.pl
A + README
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ mv config configure

You can see that svn panics(!) that configure has gone missing, and sees this new file called config that it’s currently not revisioning. It doesn’t know that they’re the same file.

Commit Messages

You’ve seen me use the -m flag a couple of times now- I’m using it to keep things flowing. If you don’t use it, you’re prompted in your favorite $EDITOR to create a commit statement, which includes the list of modified files. Using the -m flag is useful if you’re scripting commits (I use this when dumping and committing a nightly config file from our load-balancer).

Most of the time however, you’ll use your Editor. Make sure to keep your commit messages sweet and to the point- other’s will see them.


morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn commit
[vim shows up, I enter the following text]
Small changes to demonstrate movements
- moved the README
- added shebang to widget.pl
[save and exit vim]
"svn-commit.tmp" 8L, 190C written
Adding README
Sending bin/widget.pl
Deleting share/docs/README
Transmitting file data .
Committed revision 5.
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn update
At revision 5.
morgajel@unicron ~/my_project1 $ svn log
------------------------------------------------------------------------
r5 | morgajel | 2007-11-20 15:55:21 -0500 (Tue, 20 Nov 2007) | 4 lines

Small changes to demonstrate movements
- moved the README
- added shebang to widget.pl

------------------------------------------------------------------------
r4 | morgajel | 2007-11-20 14:17:04 -0500 (Tue, 20 Nov 2007) | 1 line

a bunch of empty files and directories
------------------------------------------------------------------------
r1 | morgajel | 2007-11-20 13:35:28 -0500 (Tue, 20 Nov 2007) | 1 line

creating trunk
------------------------------------------------------------------------

You’ll notice that revisions 2 and 3 aren’t listed- if you’ll remember correctly, they were used to commit the /tags and /branches directories. svn log only reports changes that affect the current target (in this case, ~/my_project1 which is a local copy of /trunk).

There’s a couple more tips and tricks I could go on about- if there’s any interest in this post maybe I’ll write some more about more advanced topics.

National Novel Writing Month

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November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. Basically there’s a month-long open contest to try and write a novel that’s 50,000+ words. My friend VP has written two books like that, Shining Star and Pulling Strings (both are good, go buy them). This year I thought I’d give it a try- I have a couple of stories kicking around in the back of my head that I’d like to write some day, and I figured this would be the perfect chance to stop putting it off.
The contest started yesterday, and I managed to get off to a great start with 4000 words on the dot- you can check my progress here.

ok, now back to the important writing.

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