If you’re familiar with BrowserShots, and familiar with some of the limitations it has (no interactivity), you might be interested in the tool that my boss found today: BrowserStack. Not free, but essentially it opens up an in-browser VNC client to the selected browser, fully installed with all the dev tools you need. Cool stuff, and reasonable prices, if this is something you’ll need on an ongoing basis.
You can now checkout the release notes for Preview 1 of Ruby 2.0.0.
By now you have the knowledge to accomplish much with Rails. We will use that knowledge to build a website from scratch similar in functionality to http://reddit.com.
Learning a new programming language or system generally go faster if you have a specific goal in mind, and (in general) a typical “hello world” works great, until you decide you need user logins and permissions and suddenly things get a lot harder. This helps that a lot.
In the spirit of the Olympics, you can check out 10 Inspirational Olympic Moments over at Odee.
Many thanks to my buddy staticred for pointing me to the github repository xdissent/ievms which provides a set of pre-build Virtual Machines (VirtualBox) setup with IE6, 7, 8 and 9 for testing if you’re not running windows, or need to test multiple copies of Internet Explorer at the same time (not an easy feat on Windows).
Great resource to have in your back pocket!
Ziptastic is a simple API that allows people to ask which Country,State and City are associated with a Zip Code.
So if you are doing web form programming you can let the user enter the zip code first and auto-fill the country/state/city for them. Magic! Grab ziptastic on github.
Really interesting look on Why critics of Rails have it all wrong, regarding how some of the Ruby on Rails community feels that Rails 3 was a huge step backwards.
The idea that Rails 3 was a major step backward was recently reiterated by both Giles Bowkett and Matt Aimonetti. Both of them painted building ActionController::Metal applications as some sort of byzantine, impossible task which can only be accomplished by a Rails core member. Are people actually building lightweight Rails applications using the newfound modularity of Rails 3?
I haven’t actually looked deeply into Rails over the last year or so, but it definitely feels less accessible lately. NoSQL databases, CoffeeScript, etc are fine, but the “feel” of the current Rails is far from that original Blog in 15 minutes screencast.
Very cool collection of 15 Inspiring HTML5 Experiments showing off what the power of the new standard can do. Course, until IE6 can be killed dead, and all other users can be forced to upgrade to the latest and greatest of their respective browsers, it won't be as common as it should be for a while. Still, amazing to see what's possible in your browser!
Rails people who enjoy the windows version via RailsInstaller will be happy to see that the RailsInstaller for Windows 2.0.0 Preview Release has goodies like 1.9.2 and 3.1.0 rc support.
MezzoBlue links to a nice HTML 5 Boilerplate page that will give you a nice start when you're looking at a starting point for your next HTML5 project.
If you're into Ruby on Rails and are one of the 10 people in the world who aren't using TextMate, you might want to look at the new stuff in the JetBrains RubyMine 3.1 Early Access build.
From the release:
- Autopopup code completion -- no need to press keyboard hotkey to invoke the code completion. It autopops up instantly as you type and works for Ruby, JavaSctipt, HTML and other files. You may want to tweak it -- check IDE Settings | Editor | Code Completion section.
- GitHub integration -- you can open projects in IDE right from a remote repository, or share your project as a new GitHub repository right from the IDE. Read more in IntelliJ IDEA blog.
- Command line application ('mine') -- you can open files and projects in RubyMine from command line now! Just enable the script by running File | Create Command-line Launcher and you are good to command.
Just saw that Salesforce.com Bought Heroku For $212 Million In Cash. Wonder how this will affect their Ruby on Rails hosting and if Rails people will exit en-mass to The Next Great Thing(tm)?
A cool look through the Security Lessons Learned From The Diaspora Launch, as well as lots of good general Ruby on Rails security practices to follow.
The awesomeness of the Discussion with a Java switcher over at Merbist isn't about the Java/Ruby/etc world, but this image showing the hierarchy of what type of programmers consider themselves superior to. Also I think that Ruby (damn young kids!) should be lower than Perl programmers. Just sayin'.
The good news from the Ruby on Rails world today is that the Rails 3.0 Release candidate has been released. No major changes, but some serious performance improvements. Link has the full details.
Yea, I know it's old, but I'm only now finally getting around to watching the RailsConf 2010: David Heinemeier Hansson keynote, so if you're interested in hearing about Rails 3.0, check it out.
@dhh posted this morning this very cool video of a visualization of the Ruby on Rails repository from 2004 to 2009:
Rails 3.0: Second beta release is out the door and the last stop before the RC.
IBM Developerworks has a great article with An introduction to Rails 3.
Gregg Pollack has a nice set of presentation slides of his talk Rails 3 Beautiful Code, showing some of the new hotness of Ruby on Rails 3.0.
Ruby on Rails folks will probably be interested that RailsConf 2010 is now open for registration, and they have their list of speakers and sessions up.
My buddy Curtis wrote a good article on Why Rails Feels like a Developers Only Playground.
Yeah the guys I work with at the Fv.rb are joking, but otherwise it seems to be a mentality that goes through dev's heads. They can't design but don't want to take the bit of extra time to help someone get up to speed. Most designers are more than smart enough, and many are willing, to learn some new technologies if someone is willing to give them a helping hand.
I don't think that devs aren't willing to help someone learn, in fact, I think that the Rails (and indeed, programmers in general) are more than happy to help out.
However developers know how developers think, and helping out someone who knows how to program (sorry, but HTML and CSS isn't "programming") is a lot different than helping a non-developer. Speaking as someone who tried to help their drama major ex-girlfriend (not major drama ex-girlfriend, that came later) through a simple while loop to increment a variable, I can attest to you 100% that different people's brains work differently, and that creative people and programmer-type people sometimes have a huge chasm of grokking between them.
Rails doesn't feel like a designers playground because it's a web programming framework, designed by developers for developers, and if you ignore some of the cool CSS and HTML frameworks built in and around it, there's really not much there for designers doing designer work in rails. Maybe I'm just daft, but other than pointing to the directories where various templates are stored, and showing someone what loops look like and what to style, I'm not sure that rails has anything over any other framework design wise. IE: none.
Now designing a site is a completely different matter. You want a good, knows their shit designer like Curtis involved in your project from the start, and maybe that's what the rails community is missing, someone to help shape their programmatic designs based on good web design. This involves site setup, layout, page headers and meta-data, etc, but, IMHO, doesn't infringe much into the "programming" world.
There's also a new app on edge rails post up for people who want to give it a shot.
Grab Issue #5: Winter Jam for your free Rails fix.
As a web app programmer (some weeks) I find the forms in HTML5 and the improvements in it (ie: setting a input type of "datetime" and having it do the Right Thing excites me). Of course, for a lot of these fields, the support is only on one or two (or three) browsers. Some of the improvements are such that you just add an attribute, which is ignored by other browsers, so you can do some good things right now without having to worry about it having a negative affect on your current forms.
Excellent 8 part series on Creating a Web App from Scratch. Basically if you've ever had to do do this and found that you had no idea where to start, from the point of view of the designer or the programmer, this is a great resource to read and bookmark.
Ever get tired and pissed off or the google analytics holding up a web page loading? Now that they have Launched Asynchronous Tracking this might be a thing of the past. Folks, go forth and update thy page templates!
If you've ever been confused about some of the web service protocols and how they're different, you'll enjoy this Geek and Poke of Service Calling Made Easy defining the difference between REST and SOAP :)
Dropping support for IE6 is not an option because we committed to supporting the IE included with Windows for the lifespan of the product. We keep our commitments.
*cough* I call bullshit. Plays For Sure anyone? The argument seems to be that people (and organizations) should have the choice to upgrade or not, and if you, or some large corporation or organization decides that they don't want to deal with upgrading 100s or 1000s of computer's browsers, Microsoft is going to keep on supporting them. While I applaud them and their dedication and agree that if you're in a huge corporation you shouldn't be left out of security upgrades and whatnot that's needed by IE6, I think that the web as a whole should not support IE6. If you're forced to use IE6 at work that sucks to be you, if 10,000 users start complaining that digg.com isn't rendering properly, they'll either be told to install another browser to do their personal surfing, or it'll put pressure on IT to actually upgrade.
Besides, IE7 and IE8 is available on XP, and neither of them is the hole-ridden pile of fail that IE6 is. The only reason someone with XP has for keeping IE6 is that they aren't online to get the update, and if that's the case, they won't be surfing. I wonder if anyone has figured out the developer cost of IE6 and keeping websites compatible with it as well as modern standards-compliant browsers.
Remember how one of the promises of HTML5 is to allow video to play without having to use flash? Looks like YouTube, who you could say uses Flash video "a lot" is flirting with it. They have an HTML5 Demo page showing off their interface playing a video with no flash involved. Looks good, it's basically YouTube and the only reason you'd know it's not Flash is if you don't have the flash plugin installed or look at the source code.
Once again this is something you'll need a modern browser to see (IE users are left out again :( Hopefully an update sometime soon will include HTML5 in IE).
Speaking of IE..... I think even the most apologist of Microsoft lovers (you know who you are!) who haven't already stopped reading this post will agree that IE6 was a horrible browser and anyone using it should upgrade to at least IE7 and optimally IE8, if for no reason other than the safety of their browsing and the overall experience you get on the web with a modern browser. The IE6 No More campaign is a set of code to insert on your pages that will display a nice message telling them that their browser is outdated and giving them a list of alternatives to download.
The issue with this is twofold though. On one hand, I hate pages that dictate what I can see or not see based on my browser (IE only sites that look just fine on Firefox anyone?) or IP/location (hello hulu). I surf some sites in elinks from a terminal session and if all I got was a "hey, you need a real browser" when I went there I'd go ballistic.
Secondly the longer IE6 is around, the longer web designers need to support it using up their valuable time, putting in hacks, or writing sites to the lowest common denominator. The idea of standards are there so that you can write something once and know that it'll look and work the same on all the browsers that users visit your site with.
Since this is just a strip of code inserted, nothing prevents the user from seeing the rest of the site, so it might not be that bad to pepper it to a few of your sites.
Via Daring Fireball I found this very cool HTML5 Canvas and Audio Experiment which mashes up moving bubbles, audio, and twitter as the data stream. Works awesome in Firefox 3.5, Chrome, Safari 4,and any other modern browser that supports HTML5 and the <audio> element... IE users need not apply sadly.