No Freaking Way

There is just no freaking way such a simple programming task takes so much time!! Remember the hijri automation thingie?. Well, turns out I have not thought it thoroughly enough…


I have no idea how many days is the default for each lunar month!! It could be either 29 or 30. That should also ideally be given from the MCEngine side… Hence, throw everything on ObjC instead of python:

// fetch the website...
NSURL *url = [NSURL URLWithString:@""];
NSString *newspaper = [NSString stringWithContentsOfURL:url encoding:NSUTF8StringEncoding error:nil];
// Stupidest string checking EVER!!
NSRange range = [newspaper rangeOfString:@"<div class=\"date\">"];
newspaper = [newspaper substringWithRange:(NSRange){NSMaxRange(range), 30}];
// figure our the weekday offset...
NSArray *en_weekdays = @[@"Sunday", @"Monday", @"Tuesday", @"Wednesday", @"Thursday", @"Friday", @"Saturday"];
NSInteger daWeekday = -1;
NSInteger daDate = 0;
for (NSString *weekday in en_weekdays)
    NSRange range = [newspaper rangeOfString:weekday];
    if (range.location != NSNotFound)
        daWeekday = [en_weekdays indexOfObject:weekday];
        daDate = [[newspaper substringWithRange:(NSRange){NSMaxRange(range)+@", ".length, 2}] integerValue];

// Assertions
if (daWeekday == -1 || !daDate)

// don't ask
[[HRAppManager sharedManager] initializeApplication];

MCDate *date = [[MCDate alloc] initWithNSDate:[NSDate date]];

// ONLY ONCE, calculate the weekday offset
NSInteger taWeekday = [en_weekdays indexOfObject:[date stringifyWeekday]];
NSInteger wdiff = daWeekday - taWeekday;
if (wdiff && labs(wdiff) > 3)
    wdiff = wdiff + (wdiff > 3 ? -7 : 7);

NSInteger offset = 0;
while (true)
    // while true, update the offset, and see if we attained awesome
    MCDate *date = [[MCDate alloc] initWithNSDate:[NSDate date]];
    NSInteger taDate = [[date hijriDate] day]+1 + wdiff;
    // if attained awesome, YAY!
    if (taDate == daDate)

    NSInteger soffset = daDate - taDate;
    if (labs(offset) > 15)
        soffset = (soffset > 15 ? -1 : 1);

    offset += soffset;
    [[MCSettingsManager generalSettings] setHijriOffset:offset];
// shouldn't happen...
if (labs(offset) > 2)
// spit it out
printf("%ld", offset);

I will leave the details for the reader to figure out as an exercise!


Then, we use python to get the offset, and access the server through FTP and update the things:

# coding=utf-8

import subprocess as sp
import ftplib
import re

# This is the ObjC app working with MCEngine
process = sp.Popen(["./HijriReference"], stdout=sp.PIPE)
output, whatever = process.communicate()

global offset
global new_file

# callback for retrieving the file we want to update
def callback(line):

    global new_file
    # update the hijri offset...
    if "hijriOffset" in line:
        # replace the number with a new one
        line = re.sub(r"\d", offset, line)
    # write to the new_file

if process.returncode == 0:

    global offset
    global new_file

    offset = output
    new_file = open("temp.json", "w")
    # connect to FTP, read the file, edit it...
    ftp = ftplib.FTP('DOMAIN', user='USER', passwd="PASS")
    ftp.retrlines("RETR file.json", callback=callback)
    # ... Push it back up
    with open("temp.json") as newj:
        ftp.storlines("STOR file.json", newj)
    # DONE
    print "updated offset:", offset

    print "Error with the freaking website :/", process.returncode, output

Finally, of course, we have the shortcut! Remember the post about how my blog pipeline is setup? Remember those convenient commands? Well, one coming up for the kpt update script!

$ kpt_update_hijri 
updated offset: 1



This took longer than ever necessary… And I don’t feel like explaining, so I just dumped the whole code!! :D Note though, the above code could go into an infinite loop, can you figure out when?