Last night I did a trivial yet surprisingly satisfying hardware hack, of the kind that can only be accomplished when the brain is in holiday mode. Our son has that very simple airplane toy, which turned out to become one of his most loved ones, enough to have deserved wheel repairs before. He’s also reportedly a fan of all kinds of light-emitting or reflecting objects (including the sun, and specially the moon). So the idea sparkled: how easily can that airplane get a blinking led?
With an attiny85, a CR2032 battery, a LED, and half an hour of soldering work, this was the result:
A new release of the mgo MongoDB driver for Go is out, packed with contributions and features. But before jumping into the change list, there’s a note in the release of MongoDB 2.7.7 a few days ago that is worth celebrating:
– The MongoDB tools have been completely re-written in Go
– Moved to a new repository: https://github.com/mongodb/mongo-tools
– Have their own JIRA project: https://jira.mongodb.org/browse/TOOLS
So far this is part of an unstable release of the MongoDB server, but it implies that if the experiment works out every MongoDB server release will be carrying client tools developed in Go and leveraging the mgo driver. This extends the collaboration with MongoDB Inc. (mgo is already in use in the MMS product), and some of the features in release r2014.10.12 were made to support that work.
The specific changes available in this release are presented below. These changes do not introduce compatibility issues, and most of them are new features.
The qml package is right now one of the best choices for creating graphic applications under the Go language. Part of the reason why this is true comes from the convenience of QML, a high-level domain-specific language that allows describing visual components, events, animations, and content in general in a succinct and pleasing way. The integration of such a language with Go means having both a good mechanism for describing visual content, and a good platform for doing general development under, which can range from simple data manipulation to involved OpenGL content rendering.
On the practical side, one of the implications of using such a language partnership is that every Go qml application will have some sort of resource content to deal with, carrying the QML logic. Such content may be loaded either from files on disk, or from strings in memory. Loading from a file means the content may be organized in multiple files that directly reference each other without changing the Go application, and may be updated and tested without rebuilding. Loading from a string in memory means the content needs to be self-contained, but results in a standalone binary (linking aside – still depends on Qt libraries).
There were a few long standing issues in the yaml.v1 package which were being postponed so that they could be done at once in a single incompatible change, and the time has come: yaml.v2 is now available.
Besides these incompatible changes, other compatible fixes and improvements were performed in that push, and those were also applied to the existing yaml.v1 package so that dependent applications benefit immediately and without modifications.
The subtopics below outline exactly what changed, and how to adapt existent code when necessary.
As detailed in the preliminary release of qml.v1 for Go a couple of weeks ago, my next task was to finish the improvements in its OpenGL API. Good progress has happened since then, and the new API is mostly done and available for experimentation. At the same time, there’s still work to do on polishing edges and on documenting the extensive API. This blog post aims to present the improvements made, their internal design, and also to invite help for finishing the pending details.
Before diving into the new, let’s first have a quick look at how a Go application using OpenGL might look like with qml.v0. This is an excerpt from the old painting example:
After a few weeks of slow progress on the qml package for Go, action is starting again.
The first important change is the release of the new v1 API, which is motivated by conversations and debugging sessions we’ve had at GopherCon back in April. The problem being solved is that Mac OS requires its graphic activities to be held in the first thread in the running process, and that’s incompatible with the API provided by the qml package in v0.
In practice, code in v0 looked like this:
This is a special release of mgo, the Go driver for MongoDB. Besides the several new features, this release marks the change of the Go package import path to gopkg.in, after years using the current one based on a static file that lives at labix.org. Note that the package API is still not changing in any backwards incompatible way, though, so it is safe to replace in-use import paths right away. Instead, the change is being done for a few other reasons:
Yesterday at GopherCon I had the chance to sit together with Dave Cheney and Jamu Kakar to judge the entries received for the Go QML Contest. The result was already announced today, live at the second day of GopherCon, including a short demo on stage of the three most relevant entries received. This blog post provides more details for the winner and also for a few of these additional entries.
As part of the on going work on Ubuntu Touch phones, I was invited to contribute a Go package to interface with ubuntuoneauth, a C++ and Qt library that authenticates against Ubuntu One using the system account made available by the phone owner. The details of that library and its use case are not interesting for most people right now, but the work to interface with it is a good example to talk about because, besides the result (uoneauth) being an external and independent Go package that extends the qml package, ubuntuoneauth is not a QML library, but rather a plain Qt library. Some of the callbacks use even traditional C++ types that do not inherit from QObject and have no Qt metadata, so offering that functionality from Go nicely takes a bit more work.
What follows are some of the highlights of that integration logic, to serve as a reference for similar extensions in the future. Note that if your interest is in creating QML applications with Go, none of this is necessary and the documentation is a better place to start.
UPDATE: The contest result is out.
A couple of weeks ago a probe message was sent to a few places questioning whether there would be enough interest on a development contest involving Go QML applications. Since the result was quite positive, we’re moving the idea forward!
This blog post provides further information on how to participate. If you have any other questions not covered here, or want technical help with your application, please get in touch via the mailing list or twitter.