Top 3 Projects Developed with ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl
by Liliya Apostolova

Liliya Apostolova, May 13, 2010

Last month we asked, "Are you using ActivePerl, ActivePython or ActiveTcl to build something cool and curious?" and we got submissions for some very interesting projects.

We are pleased to present the following winners and describe their projects:

  • The first prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate and it goes to Ron for his NYT crossword puzzle system called Putz.

Over the last six years, Raz has been developing a system to help him create sophisticated NYT-style crossword puzzles. It supports a database of puzzle tableaus as well as a clue database. The central interface is a command line, but it has GUI interfaces for key functionalities where they can facilitate dynamic interaction; the main one is the word fill lookup. The system is called Putz and uses ActiveTcl to power it. The system is still evolving, although it is, by now, quite functional.

You can find a description and try out some sample puzzles (in PDF and AcrossLite formats) at

Awesome work Ron!

  • Our second prize is a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate and it goes to Shawn for his project BioDiverse.

Biodiverse is a tool for the spatial analysis of diversity using indices based on taxonomic, phylogenetic and matrix-based (e.g. genetic distance) relationships, as well as related environmental and temporal variations. Biodiverse supports four processes:

1. Linked visualisation of data distributions in geographic, taxonomic, phylogenetic and matrix spaces

2. Spatial moving window analyses including richness, endemism, phylogenetic diversity and beta diversity

3. Spatially constrained agglomerative cluster analyses

4. Randomisations for hypothesis testing

Biodiverse is open-source and developed using ActivePerl. The executable distribution is created using ActiveState’s Perl DevKit. It can be used both through a graphical user interface (GUI) and through user written scripts. While there are tool to do many of these analyses, there is no other tool that combines this number with an interactive visualisation environment. This tool can be enjoyed by Biodiversity researchers around the globe and can be found at

Way to go Shawn!

  • Our third prize is a choice of an e-book (One copy of Programming Perl, Python in a Nutshell or Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk). This prize goes to Paul who created a Trial Transcript Converter.

Paul uses ActivePerl to process trial transcripts into a more legible form and mine them for data which is moved to a MySQL database. The trail transcripts are also processed into MySQL files so that they may be searched using MySQL. The trials processed are for The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is a United Nations court of law dealing with war crimes that took place during the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990’s.Anybody can use Paul’s converter since the processed text is published to the Internet. The database is accessible from the Internet using PHP at

Good job Paul!

What about you? Are you using ActivePerl, ActivePython or ActiveTcl to build something cool? Let us know by filling out this survey!

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Category: awards
About the Author: RSS

Liliya Apostolova is ActiveState's marketing communications manager. Her specialty is progressive product marketing and communications for hi-tech companies. She earned her B.Comm degree from the University of British Columbia with a major in marketing and a certificate from Pragmatic Marketing.