Noel Rappin Writes Here


June 23, 2011: Distributed Magic Control

Git, Harry Potter, JQueryNoel RappinComment

1. Today's News: Github for Mac

Odds are you heard this one already, but the fine folks at GitHub announced a Mac desktop client. It differs from, say, GitX in that it attempts to be a front end to your entire GitHub account rather than one particular repo.

I haven't used it a ton yet, but a couple of quick impressions:

  • I think we can now definitively say that Tweetie and Loren Brichter is to the current set of Mac applications what Delicious Library was to the batch a few years ago -- the source of a widely used design aesthetic.

  • It's got a nice set of branching features, the one thing I'm really missing is a way to browse the actual current state of the files in the repo, though I guess you can always go to GitHub itself for that information. It feels a bit feature-light overall.

  • I'm guessing the main users of this initially will be team members who aren't commonly on the command line, but who need current code, like designers. (Though I do use GitX a fair amount to visualize history, and might use this in its place for some things). The merge tools are interesting, I'll probably try them once to see what they are like.

2. JavaScript Gripes

If you think the main problem with this blog is that I don't link to enough cranky rants about JavaScript, here's one by Fredrik Holmström, of the IronJS project. The strong claim is this:

my point of view after having developed IronJS is that there are a couple of critical problems with JavaScript that prevents it from ever being a viable alternative as development platform for server application development.

I suspect the gripes themeselves will be broadly familiar to JavaScript fans -- lack of namespace support, crazy language design choices, lots of run times. It's nicely ranted, though points off for using the comparison between JavaScript: The Definitive Guide and JavaScript: The Good Parts, that's kind of hacky.

3. jQuery Mobile Goes Beta

jQuery mobile came to my attention via Obtiva apprentice Carl Thuringer. It's a cross-platform framework intended to simplify web applications targeted at mobile browsers using HTML 5 and JavaScript. It looks really nice, and they just announced beta 1

4. Pottermore

Also nearly breaking news about another RailsRx obsession, ebooks. According to multiple sources, J. K. Rowling's new Pottermore site will be the curated official fan site she's always wanted. Also, Rowling will apparently self-publish cross-platform ebooks of the Potter series.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons, not least of which is that it's another blow to the long-standing model where publishers and labels used bestsellers to subsidize everybody else. As far as I can tell, nobody has mentioned what she's going to price the books at, but it seems like her overhead costs per-book at this point are rather low. I doubt she will, but it'd be interesting if she tried to break the current price structure by hitting a $4.99 point. I suspect she's more likely to do a middle ground of $9.99.

5. Soccer Stats

And, as a longtime baseball stat nut, this article about new statistics taking over soccer was interesting. One big flaw in the new soccer stats is obviously that it's nearly impossible for the casual watcher to track the stats, since they are measuring things like how much distance each player runs at top speed and the like. Still, I like the look at how you even begin to measure a complicated system like this, and how you determine what's important to look at.

June 21, 2010: Double Double Splat Splat

Database, Hudson, JQuery, Less, Matz, Passenger, Rails, Rails 3, rvmNoel Rappin2 Comments
Link post today. Turns out I built up more links than I thought.

Book Status

Somehow I wound up writing and editing the Rcov chapter, which, among other things, is the first time I've had to wrestle with RSpec 2 vs. RSpec 1 behavior, when writing about how RSpec and Rcov get along. Now I need to figure out how to write about that more coherently. Actually, I need to decide if I'm going to acknowledge RSpec 1 at all.

The book is still on sale, of course. I've gotten nice feedback so far, but not much of it, I'd love to hear from you. And if you like the book, and wanted to tell your friends, or the Internet at large, that'd be great, tool. (Oh, look, I'm turning into that guy...)


Rebecca Murphey has written "JQuery Fundamentals" a new Creative Commons book on JQuery. Looks useful, though I'd also love it if an epub version was made available. I bet I'll be referring here a bunch, though.

Looks like there will be a JavaScript native implementation of LessCS. Interesting. I'm still wondering how the Less/Sass thing plays out.

The previous two links are via Larkware's Daily Shots.

Here's a big chunk of code from Brian Cardarella that allows you to do user-selected subdomains using the Rails 3 router.

Via Everyday Rails, here's, which generates a Rails template for you, after you select some parameters. Pretty neat. I'd imagine it'll grow more parameters over time.

I think the lesson of this article by Patrick McKenzie about human names is that no matter how far you go in creating a database schema, there's always somebody who will go farther.

The Phusion team continues to tease about the impending awesomeness of Passenger 3.

Thoughtbot, in the person of Nick Quarantino, has a crazy detailed post on using Hudson for continuous integration with RVM. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this could be made easier.

I don't read the Japanese, but supposedly Matz is blogging about possible Ruby 2.0 features. If I'm interpreting this correctly, it looks like Python-style double-splats are in play, which I'd like. ("Python Style Double Splats" is the name of my new Eric Idle cover band. Sorry.)

May 28, 2010: Friday Friday Friday

Chicago Ruby, JQuery, Metaprogramming, Obtiva, Plugins, Rails, Rails 3, RubyNoel RappinComment
Short today, but preparing some longer, more rant-y bits for the future...

Book status

Not much forward motion for the next few days, as I have a lot of other stuff to do, including preparing for Chicago Ruby on June 1 and doing a bit of touch-up on Obtiva's 4-Day Ruby on Rails/TDD boot camp. All fun, but time consuming.

Some Links

A quick tutorial by Peter Cooper on setting up JQuery in Rails 3.

This isn't the first time I've seen something like this, but this article by Alan Skorkin on Ruby Procs and Lambdas is well done and it's worth refreshing from time to time.

We always say that Ruby methods can't have spaces in them, but technically that's a lie, as shown in Joon You's screencast.

Rails Dispatch this week is by José Valim. It's kind of rambling, but a very interesting look at plugins that mess with Rails 3 features like Responders and Generator.