Something Else I InventedΒΆ

date:2007-08-25 11:58:43
category:Open Source Projects

Recently , I found out that my HTML parser was only a mere shadow Beautiful Soup .  I invented what is – essentially – a similar core structure.  I didn’t carry it to the same level of completion.  From what little research I’ve done, my invention predates Beautiful Soup.

It’s one of those “collective unconscious” or “synchronicity” things – good ideas floating around, captured by people with different abilities.  I built a little thing that accomplished what I wanted.  At about the same time, someone else built something more complete and slightly cooler.

[If you try to read about collective unconscious and synchronicity, you find one of my favorite poems, “The Second Coming” as the Wikipedia redirect for Spiritus Mundi .  Proof, if any was needed, that smart people are uncomfortable with coincidence.  Many people feel compelled to explain coincidence; they either create a philosophy or a conspiracy theory.]

A client of mine is using iBatis , which was new to me.  Up until Monday, it had been little more than a name, on the mental shelf next to Hibernate , TopLink , JDO , Torque and OJB .  After reading the introduction to the tutorial, I realized that I had  already invented this.  At about the same time.

Arrrggh!

My version of iBatis didn’t manage the JDBC connection, but it did everything else that the basic SQLMap portion of iBatis does.  I didn’t have as cool a DAO implemetation, but I had all kinds of parameter substitution and type conversion.

Back in 1981, I invented the spreadsheet.  Well, it was a batch COBOL program that did ETL processing (in a way), had flexible calculations, and had a great financial-reporting algorithm for handling rounding correctly.  Okay, it didn’t run on an Apple II, and didn’t change the world like VisiCalc did.

That does it.  Next good idea I have, I am going to open a SourceForce project right away.  If there is a collective unconscious, I just need to tap into it first.  If it’s a conspiracy, they were out to get me anyway.

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