My goal for today was to:

  1. Start the new kidsintown project, based on the django tutorial (mysite). Namely to turn all the poll models and views into events.
  2. Find a package that will help me with recurring events


Moving from mysite to kidsintown

  • It took me a lot of time to transition from the poll app to the events. The main issue was around urls and naming of views (that will be a reccuring theme…)
  • This didn’t take long to figure out, but I django yelled at me that I need to add the events app to the INSTALLED_APPS in my setting.py. But I didn’t have to do it with the django tutorial project… I still don’t understand what’s the different between the two projects.

Implementing django-recurrence

  • Implemented the django-reccuring package. I had an issue with getting it to work with my simple Event model, because I kept getting errors when trying to make a migration. Here’s how my model was looking like, according to the documentation:
from recurrence.fields import RecurrenceField

class Course(models.Model):
    title = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    recurrences = RecurrenceField()

I kept getting an error saying that I try to create a non-nullable field (recurrences) with a null value. After looking for code examples in github, I found one that worked:

class Event(models.Model):

    event_name = models.CharField(max_length=200)
    event_time = models.DateField()
    recurrence = RecurrenceField(blank=True, null=True)

    def __str__(self):
        return self.event_name
  • Documentation for packages in general, and that one in particular, isn’t good. There is now step-by-step tutorials, and you should figure out how the fragments of code integrating into your project. I found that looking for code examples in gitgub was helpful.
  • I had hard time implementing the form for creating recurrance in my templates. For example, in the documentation to the package, it is said that you should create a form like that:
from django import forms
from .models import Course

class EventForm(forms.ModelForm):
   class Meta:
      model = Event
      fields = ('event_name', 'recurrences',)

That didn’t work, and returned an error. After more github searches, I found that decleration that worked:

from django import forms
from .models import Event

class EventForm(forms.ModelForm):

    class Meta:
        model = Event
        exclude = []

Again, the documentation just show limited code examples, and I was left to figure some new concepts, such as forms. Fortunatly I found this great tutorial about creating forms a to z.

  • While the above tutorial was great, I still had issues – the redirect from the event creation to an event detail page after creation didn’t work. After many trails and errors, I found that the way I need to call a view accross the project is not only using it name, but also the app name, in the form of :.
  • Now to be honest, there is a section in the django tutorial that speaks into that previous point…


Preparing a pull request:

  1. Go to master and run

git pull origin master (to fetch all the recent changes from remote)

  1. Go to [branch-name] and run

git merge master (to merge the changes I did into your branch)

  1. now run

git push origin [branch-name] (to update remote with your branch after the merge with master)

Don’t be confuse 🙂 You are merging master into your branch to be synced with master, pull request (once approved) does the other way around.


How do I turn off the flymake, or alternativly find way to fix the warnings it shows me?

Here’s what I found about

  • Flymake to check format of the code, and make sure it adhears to python standards
  • Yapf is a package that reformat the code according to the standard.

To get Flymake to work, I needed to enable flymake-mode Then run C-c C-v to get the list of errors. I can go error by error and fix. But I can also do C-c C-r f to run auto refactoring. In this case Elpy is using the refactoring package (Yapf) to reformat the code.

At first I had an error, and although I had Yapf installed, Emacs kept telling me that it’s not. I found the solution in this issue: Elpy error: yapf not installed

I needed to restart the RPC process, by running M-x elpy-rpc-restart

Ok, with that out of the way, I need to get back to the code.

Accepting, merging and deploying a pull request

Checklist for merging a push request and deploying to heroku:
1. Accept the PR request
2. Merge PR request into master
3. Pull the version to my local:
~/path/to/project(master)$ git pull [remote] master

This will override my local with the current version in the remote (either GitHub or bitbucket).

  1. Push master to heroku:
    ~/path/to/project(master)$ git push heroku master


Back to working on the project. I want to add simple db support, so when I get a request from Alexa, I’ll check if the user is new or returned. If new – store the uuid in the db. If returning, give a returned user message.

Later I can also add context to the db, so I can manage contexts and states not only within session, but also accross sessions.

So, connecting to db – that’s something I did in the “My Clipboard” skill. I’ll go and look there how I did it.

Ok, I copied the set of functions from the clipboard app, but I now get an error when trying to call from Alexa – the entries table isn’t exsit… I remember that I had to do some manual creation of tables, but I don’t recall what exactly I needed to do.

Oh, I see what I’ve missed. I needed to create a schema.sql file, that defines the table I would like to create.

Here’s an article that is a good reference: Intro to Flask: Creating and Writing to Databases

And by the way, I’m moving to use Sublime for now… I spend too much time tinkering with Emacs, and not doing productive work… I will keep writing this in Emacs though, because it’s an org file.

Ok, back to Emacs. I guesse I’m more used to it than I thought…

I added the db support. I now want to check if a user is new or return. First time I see a user, I add the user to the db. Then I fetch from the db to check new or return. I had a problem with checking if I get a row from the db. Used this stack-overflow answer. The gist:

  • Excecute the query with count(*)
  • Grab the fetchone() with index 0
  • Test if I get 1 or 0. If 0, then there was no result from the query.
def launched():
    # check if the user is new or return
    db = get_db()    
    c = db.execute('select count(*) from users where user_id = ?',

    data = c.fetchone()[0]
    if data == 0:
        # new user - insert to db and play new user welcome
        db.execute('insert into users (user_id) values (?)',
        return question('Welcome to out brain! I will be your personal editor. To start, say headlines, sites, topics or categories')
        return question('Welcome back! What do topic are you interested in today?')

Many times I need to…

Many times I need to suggest times when I’m available. What I then need to do is go to my calendar, see what slots are available and manually get the dates and times and put it together in a reply. Very often I’m making a mistake, getting the date or the time wrong.

I want to be able to see my calendar, click on a certain time slot, and have it ready in my clipboard, so I can paste it wherever I want.

I would like to be able to do it in Python.

There’s a workflow in the workflows app, called “share availability”, that’s doing something similar. I might be able to use it as reference.


Yesterday I created the conversation flow to get topics. I need to add the recommendations from topic today, as well as to add the flows to sites and categories.

Oh, I had a problem to take a string that represent the user id in alexa, and convert it to a uuid, which I can then use with the outbrain endpoint. I searched, and didn’t find an answer yet. I’ll have to look into it later on.

I tried to implement the site’s flow. I spent most of the time of 2 pomodoros on getting Alexa to recognize and pass the name of a site or topic. I tried to use the AMZN:LITERAL type, assuming that alexa will recognize whatever the user said and pass it on to me. But it didn’t, and kept getting me into an infinit loop, recognizing only the GetTopic intent.

To over come this, I added two custom types:

  • ENTITY_TYPE – list the utterances for a type of recommendation (topic, site or category)
  • ENTITY_NAME – I added top sites and topics to that list, and added the slot with that type to the intent. This way I hope alexa will recognize the utterances better, and pass them along to the server, where I manage contexts and be able to tell if a user ment Yahoo site or Topic.