Archive for March, 2012

Install Django on Arvixe

March 31, 2012

Recently I had to spend a few good hours trying to figure out how to install Django on a shared host at Arvixe. I thought I’d document it for others and for my future reference, as I’m sure I’ll forget all this and don’t want to have to re-discover it.

It’s all done in a shell, so if you don’t have shell, you have to request it.

Step 1: Get python 2.7

mkdir temp
cd temp
tar -xzf Python-2.7.2.tgz

Step 2: Compile and install Python

cd Python-2.7.2
make altinstall prefix=~ exec-prefix=~
cd ~/bin
ln -s python2.7 python

Add an alias to your .bashrc
vi .bashrc
add this line: alias python=’~/bin/python’

Login again, and check by running python -V
You should see: Python 2.7.2

Step 3: Install Django

Get DjangoX.X.tar.gz in temp
tar -xzf DjangoX.X.tar.gz
python install

At this point you can check it was installed correctly:
import django

Step 4: Install setuptools (dependency of MySQLdb at step 5)

Download setuptools-0.6c11-py2.7.egg from
Install with:
sh setuptools-0.6c11-py2.7.egg

Step 5: Install MySQLdb (mysql-python)

Download it MySQL-python-1.2.3.tar.gz from
tar -xzf MySQL-python-1.2.3.tar.gz
cd MySQL-python-1.2.3
python build
python install

Step 6: Create a MySQL via the arvixe cpanel

This will be something like: _

Change the in django:
‘ENGINE’: ‘django.db.backends.mysql’
‘NAME’: _ (e.g. ‘mikep_mysqldb’)
‘USER’: your_arvixe_user,
‘PASSWORD’: your_arvixe_password,
‘HOST’: ”,
‘PORT’: ”

Step 7: Setup the cgi script

I’ve used this cgi script:
Place it in ~/public_html/cgi-bin

cd ~/public_html/cgi-bin

There are 3 lines you have to change:
1: #!/home//bin/python <- this is the new python you've just installed
95: sys.path.append("/home//djangorepo”)
96: os.environ[‘DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE’] = ‘djangoapp.settings’

The above assumes that you have installed your django site in djangorepo and your django app is called djangoapp.
In other words, you have something like this:
/home//djangorepo/djangoapp (in this you have,, etc.)

This script needs to be executable! If you don’t have, you’ll get HTTP 500 and you can’t see the Apache error log, so you’ll be stuck.

chmod 755 ~/public_html/cgi-bin/django.cgi

Step 8: Add the .htaccess

Place a file call .htaccess in ~/public_html

AddHandler cgi-script .cgi
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^/(cgi-bin.*)$ /$1 [QSA,L,PT]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /cgi-bin/django.cgi/$1 [QSA,L]

That’s it! Point your browser to your url and enjoy!

Javascript OOP

March 18, 2012

Javascript does not have classes. It’s not an easy concept to grasp if you’re coming from OOP languages like Java, C++, C#, etc. Javascript works with objects.

var obj = {};

That’s an object.

Objects can be manipulated at any time, you can add properties, or functions (methods). = “Object1”;
obj.method = function() { alert(; }

Objects can also be created with the new operator, which is something that might ring a few bells for the Java, C++, etc. developers:

var person = new Person(“Alice”);

Person is a function like the following:

var Person = function(name) { = name;
this.showName = function() { alert(; }

We can create as many persons as we’d like with the method above. One drawback is that the function showName is created every time, even if it doesn’t change. Enter prototype.

Prototype is just an object that every javascript object gets a reference to. If a name (property, method) cannot be resolved in the object, the prototype is also searched. So to avoid the previously mentioned drawback, we can re-write Person like this:

var Person = function(name) { = name;

Person.prototype.showName = function() { alert(; }

You can add any methods like that and they all get inherited by every instance of Person you create with the new operator.

I’m back

March 4, 2012

I haven’t wrriten in more than a year. I’ve been very busy in my new job. I’m mostly working in Python now and doing a bit of Java. On the side, I’m working on a website, a pet project which I’m writing in django with jquery on the client side. I’m planning it as a one page javascript app. The first thing that puzzled me when starting with jquery was this weird $ sign everywhere. What is it?

I was used to $ prepending variable names from shell programming.

I was also used to $ from regular expressions

I was also remembering $ from that sign we’re all chasing up in this rat race.

In turns out there’s no mystery at all. $ is just another function – javascript allows functions names to start with $, _ or letters, but no numbers. So $ is a special function, also known as jquery. $ makes it more succint, especially if you’re trying to minimize the size of your javascript scripts.