Sunday, May 30, 2010

Eclipse IDE - Add Python

PyDev is a very good and popular Python IDE plug-in for Eclipse SDE. Adding it to Eclipse is straight forward: just follow "Quick Install" in the download page or detailed instructions from Installation section of PyDev manual.

I chose the installation via Update Manager:

Start Eclipse and set up Python Interpreters in menu Windows/Preferences:

by clicking "Auto Config" or "New..." button.

For testing create a new Pydev project from menu File/New/Project:

Write any simple code and run:

Python extension module Psyco can be installed in order to speed up debugging. It's a pity I could not make it work with Python 2.6 - it shows the warning that "psyco is not available...":

It works fine with Python 2.5:


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Eclipse IDE - Starting Up

Eclipse SDE (Software Development Environment) is a great foundation for different languages IDEs (Integrated Development Environment). Eclipse functionality can be extended with plug-ins and there are plenty of them available for different purposes. Many of plug-ings are free of charge, some other are under commercial licensing. My personal interests lie in the field of programming with C/C++ and Python and corresponding plug-ins come for free.

Since Eclipse is written in Java, Java Runtime Environment (JRE) should be installed on the computer: get it from Installation of Eclipse is straight forward. It's easier to download the closest pre-configured package and unarchive it wherever you want. In my case it is "Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers". Eclipse Galileo Documentation (HTML Help Center) from Documentation page has all instructions for installation and tutorials to get started. For Windows I chose MinGW installation path:
  1. Download and run the MinGW setup program, MinGW-5.1.3.exe.

  2. Select download and install the MinGW base tools and the g++ compiler. You may select the Current or Candidate version of these tools. You may also install any of the other available compilers as well.

    Do not install the MinGW Make feature as the MSYS version of make from step 5 is a more complete implementation of make.

  3. The MinGW setup program currently does not install the gdb debugger. To install the debugger, download the file from the following location: gdb-6.6.tar.bz2

  4. Extract the contents of the file gdb-6.6.tar.bz2 to the same location where you installed MinGW.

  5. If you want to use Makefile projects, download and run the setup program from the following location: MSYS-1.0.10.exe. MSYS provides an implementation of Make and related command line tools. This is not required for other types of projects with the MinGW toolchain, which use CDT's internal build tools to perform the build.
It's simple to check how it runs by following "Creating a simple application" tutorial from Eclipse Galileo Documentation "C/C++ Development User Guide / Getting Started"
I had to put full path to dbg.exe debugger to make it working:

Follow the next "Creating a Makefile project" tutorial to check how Makefile approach works:

Here are some settings to get Makefile and Debug working:


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Free Screen Recorders for Windows

If picture is worth a thousand words then video might be worth a million… In many cases, for instance, in order to explain how to use a program, it's easier and faster to make a video record than describe that step by step.

This is the short list of screen recorders I found useful.
  1. CamStudio from is a simple in use program, open source, comes with efficient lossless codec, can record sound from microphone or audio signal going to speakers. It can generate AVI and SWI files using different codecs. It is also possible to prepare and add annotations during recording but the way it works is not very convenient from my point of view. In any case this is five-star screen recorder program and, not surprising, it's very popular for making tutorials: check Youtube for CamStudio.

  2. "Free Screen Recorder" from is a twin brother of CamStudio, all windows and options are the same; only view of the main window has different icons. Just for the record NBXSoft offers a bunch of free tools related to video, audio, CD/DVD. I would keep "Free Flv to AVI Converter" and "Free Create-Burn ISO Image" in mind for the future.

  3. Wink from is a very good program for recording from computer screen. It saves records in Macromedia Flash SWF format. With default settings recorded audio from microphone sounds a little broken, intermittent, but it probably can be improved by adjusting some parameters. Wink 's strong advantages are a possibility to add annotations to frames after recording and relatively small size of SWF file.

  4. SCREEN2EXE from has very high compression ratio, easy to add annotations after recording and to eliminate unchanged frames automatically. Recorded audio is clean. The only limitation of the free of charge version is that it saves files only in self-playing EXE format; SWF and AVI are allowed in $49 SCREEN2SWF version only. I find EXE format sufficient for making video notes for myself.

From output file size point of view SCREEN2EXE is the outstanding winner - on a rough try it creates files 10 times smaller than Wink and about 100 times smaller than CamStudio with CamStudio Lossless Codec v1.4 and optimum settings proposed by other people. Some people suggest DivX codec for a better result, but I doubt it would create a 100 times smaller file.

Wink seems to be the best for making interactive presentations not just with annotations but also with buttons "Back", "Next" and "Go to". It also has a potential to improve output file size to get closer to SCREEN2EXE. It seems that the latter is using much lower frame rate but it collects all the frames where mouse click happened and compensates not smooth cursor movement by graphical enhancing it at click moments.

CamStudio is good for real time video when necessary to capture a process of drawing, for example. Simplicity of the program is a very strong advantage too. After all, size of files becomes less critical if you don't store them at your personal computer. Record files can be uploaded to Youtube where files are limited by 2 GB or 10 minutes: