EXIF is so 2002, we need new standards

Exchangeable Image File Format, or EXIF as we popularly know it, is a specification for file formats of images, video, audio etc. files. The images and video that we see around us and click on our digital cameras or mobile phones contain EXIF tags that specify various information about the shooting conditions of the image, geolocation etc.

Unfortunately, the latest specifications, EXIF 2.2, were defined with almost no extensibility in mind. Common frustrations, from an open data lover or a community mappers’ point of view, are that it is not possible to (a) associate geolocation with each frame of a video, (b) associate accelerometer/gyroscope readings with the images/videos, (c) capture timezone information along with the timestamps, (d) associate additional data such as temperature, digital compass, wifi, cell tower data with images/videos. The whole list is far more than these few, but these are most glaring shortcomings from my point of view.

It is the collective responsibility of all online services like WIkimedia Commons, Flickr, Pinterest, Picasa, Facebook, Youtube etc. as well as camera and phone manufacturers to push for and collectively formulate a new version of the standard, so as to make sure the future generations don’t miss out on the conditions under which we shot, what we shot..

Popularising Python and PyGTK

Here are a couple of great links I found so as to get a C coder to learn and use Python.

  1. All-in-One win32 Python installer: Why a win32 python installer? Well, if you’re a regular Windows user and a casual developer, this is your chance to start with Python and PyGTK, which is bundled with this installer package.
  2. The Python Challenge: This is a puzzle contest whereupon you learn the Python language as you keep crossing the levels. Great way to learn Python right from the start.

[Regarding my promise to write about my approaches to autocompletion feature in next post, I will make that post sometime later.]

Screencast of Initial Work

Past week has been hard work and lots of discussion on approaches with Sebastien, Johannes and Massimo. Here’s a preview of my initial work at implementing auto completion (code completion) and auto indentation for Python in Anjuta.

OGG video for download
YouTube video link

There’s quite some work needed to clean things up, adding new features. Though, all in all, the basic project functionality is now in place. I shall post all the technical details, pros-cons of approaches, new approaches etc. in my next post.

Auto Indentation for Python

Here’s my preliminary idea for the auto indentation for Python in Anjuta.
[code lang=”c”]
/* When a new line character is inserted (user pressed Return after a line),
* the following pseudo code could be executed. Here currentline is
* the line number of the present line (after which the new line is
* supposed to begin.
* Assumption: Ignoring multilines for now.

if (there is a colon at the end of currentline)
line_indent = get_indentation (currentline) + INDENT_SIZE;
line = currentline;
while (line is a blank or spaces-only line)
line_indent = get_indentation (line);
return line_indent;
I am thinking of coding this approach, testing and improving. I know this is too naive, but I just want to start with something. The multilines and other special cases that follow thereafter would provide for further tweaking. This whole project seems like a nice TopCoder Marathon Match, where the first submission is always a naive solution, and things improve over successive submissions. Would be nice to follow the “commit early, commit often” theory during this GSoC 🙂

GSoC 2009: Python support for Anjuta

GSoC Banner

Google Summer of Code 2009 Banner

My task this summer for my Google Summer of Code (2009) project for the GNOME organisation would be to work on adding Python support to the great Anjuta IDE. Anjuta has been thus far excellent in its area of specialisation, i.e. C/C++ projects. Now with my initiative and the great people working at Anjuta, viz. Johannes Schmidt, Sebastien Granjoux etc., Anjuta shall be on its way to become a full fledged Python IDE, one that GNOME users would use for their Python based projects.

Key features of having such a support are:

  • Template and Building of Python Projects (already seems to be in place, haven’t tested thoroughly)
  • Auto indent
  • Auto completion (or known as code completion)
  • Syntax highlighting (already in place)
  • Python debugging

So, all in all, this shall be very exciting to work on and I take Wingware’s WingIDE for Python as a role model for now. Of course, I’d want Anjuta to be even better than WingIDE, so I will make all possible efforts.

My present task seems to be getting a firm understanding of the Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) of the Python package, that will help me implement the auto completion feature. Auto indent shall be just simple parsing of indent spaces, might not pose much of a challenge. When all seems set and ready, debugging could be implemented/tested thoroughly.