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Posts with keyword: ruby


Languages Have Power

Programming language choice matters. Languages have the power to push us out of familiar ways of working and into new ways of thinking. But using a language out of the mainstream takes real courage.
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Doing CPAN Installs Using Capistrano

I've been trying to use Capistrano for application deployment over the last few days, writing rules to do some common tasks, figuring out how it works, etc. One problem I ran into is that I have a private CPAN bundle that I use to ensure a machine has all the right Perl libraries when I deploy to it. The problem is that CPAN is often run interactively and so module writers often assume the user will be present. That means that it stops in the middle and asks questions about skipping tests, etc. I searched for a while to
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Scheme and Ruby

Duane Johnson pointed me to a very interesting discussion on Y Combinator about the differences between Scheme and Ruby. This is an excellent discussion--not a flame war--that I found enlightening. The summary, if you don't want to read the discussion thread: Ruby closures are more complex Macros, macros, macros... Can't say enough about macros. Every language besides Lisp and it's close relatives trade macros for complex syntax. Maybe that's a good trade-off, maybe not. Nevertheless, it is a trade-off. You can't have the full power of macros without simple (abstract) syntax that's exposed to the programmer. Now, that I've
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Barx: A Proxy Resolver for XRI

Victor Grey and Kermit Snelson have created an XRI proxy resolver in Ruby called Barx. In it's most simple form, a proxy resolver returns an XRDS document when given an XRI. From the spec: "Proxy resolvers enable applications even those that do not natively understand XRIs but can process HTTP URIs---to easily access the functions of an XRI resolver remotely." An example is xri.net. Barx implements the entire XRI resolution spec with the exception of SAML trusted resolution. According to Victor, "[t]he proxy resolver is a fast HTTP server based on Mongrel and Merb that can be run as
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Installing Rails on Fedora

I'm building a virtual machine (VMWare flavor) for use with Rails development. After installing Fedora, there were a few things I had to do to get everything ready. I thought I'd take a minute and document them in one play for the next poor soul. First, I don't know what I do wrong, but the GUI auto-update feature seems more trouble than it's worth. I like doing it manually. So the first thing to do is: sudo /usr/bin/yum -y update I've found that the Yum system can get corrupted and hang (I think I do this by force quitting
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Jeff Barczewski on MasterView

Jeff Barczewski is talking about MasterView, a template engine for Rails. MasterView is a Ruby gem that enables the creation of Ruby/Rails views in standards-compliant XHTML. The problem with Rails views, at least in Jeff's view, is that you can't use standard HTML WYSIWYG editing tools to create and modify them. MasterView is a Ruby template language, meaning that you can use it without Rails. Jeff showed a demo of how the tool works and how it compares to standard Rails. One advantage is the HTML and directives for a page are kept in one place instead of multiple
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Bayesian Networks in Ruby

Carl Youngblood is speaking on Bayesian networks in Ruby. He starts by pointing out that building complete logical systems by building rules is necessarily a futile task. The answer? A system that accounts for ignorance and degree of belief probabilistically. He quote Norvig: "Probability provides a way of summarizing the uncertainty that comes from our laziness and ignorance." After a brief tutorial on how probability can be used to overcome the weaknesses of predicate logic, Carl launches a discussion of Bayesian inference and networks. That took quite a while, but was a good tutorial on the problems. Carl is
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Ara Howard: Ruby Queue

Ara T Howard(click to enlarge) Ara T Howard, a research associate at The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, is speaking about Ruby Queue, a tool for distributing the workload to nodes in a Linux cluster. He wanted something lean and fast and considered the existing packages like openMosix too heavyweight. The queue doesn't do scheduling--the type of work his group does processes long jobs that use lots of nodes. He determined to build something extremely simple, an NFS mounted priority queue that nodes could pull jobs from as needed. NFS has lots of cruftiness, but the truth
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Mountain West Ruby Conference

Registration desk(click to enlarge) I'm at the Mountain West Ruby conference today. The venue is the Salt Lake Public Library, which haps a very nice auditorium. There's a good slate of speakers. I'm looking forward to getting some information about Ruby besides Rails. I'm hoping to get some of the audio from the conference for IT Conversations. There's some good talks here and I'm anxious to see what kind of response we'll get to Ruby content from IT Conversations listeners.
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Controlling Amazon's EC2 with Capistrano and Rake

Steve Spigarelli sent me a link to this description of how to control EC2 from rake, the Ruby build manager. The implementation uses Capistrano, a Ruby utility for executing multiple commands on remote server in parallel. This is very timely since I just posted the Technometria podcast with Doug Kaye and Jeff Barr on using Amazon's Web services (AWS) for large, sophisticated applications. This has been on my mind of late and its nice to see some specifics about doing it. The Niblets post gives some great detail on how to manage the instances. I just relistened to the
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Building Reservations System - Volunteers Needed

I've been asked by the Heber Valley Camp (HVC) to help them build a reservations system. HVC is an 8500 acre camp east of Heber Utah that is used by young women's groups from the LDS Church. The camp also allows family camping when it's not being used for it's primary purpose. Right now the camp has six separate camps that can accommodate around 350 people each. When it's complete that number could go to as high as 21 camps. As you can imagine, scheduling something like this isn't something you can do with a spreadsheet since the camp
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Chatting Up RubyForge

I put up the third installment of the newly launched Technometria Podcast at IT Conversations today. This week Scott, Matt, and I are talking to Tom Copeland about RubyForge. I like the discipline of doing the show regularly and I like the conversations we're having. I get something out of them every week--I hope you do to. Let me know what you think...
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Technometria Podcast Is Reborn

One of the things I've thought IT Conversations needed was a panel-style show that aired regularly. I like that style of show as a listener and hear occasionally from other people that they like them too. So, I started one. I just published the second installment of Technometria as a regular panel today. I published the first last week. The first show had Dave Rosenberg of MuleSource as a guest and has an open source focus. The second show had Ross Mayfield as a guest and we talked a lot about wikis, social software, and the Google/JotSpot deal, as
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Rails Demo

I put together a Rails Demo for my class that shows them how Rails could be used to do part of what they're doing in one assignment with J2EE. I plan to run through the entire demo Monday in class.
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Ruby and Unicode

Kevin Tew and Devlin Daley, two of my students went over to RubyCon last week. When I asked them how it was, they said the usual things people say about a conference, but they only mentioned one presenter by name: Tim Bray. Tim gave a talk on unicode, internationalization, and multilingual issues in Ruby. He has a post on his blog that talks about those same issues and includes some of the slides from his talk. This is one of those topics that makes most programmers eyes glaze over because it's not all that sexy and it's pretty hard
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Cardinal: Ruby on Parrot

At the next Provo Linux User's Group meeting on the 8th of November, Kevin Tew will be presenting Cardinal, a Ruby implementation on Parrot that he's working on.
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Matz Talk on Ruby Design Principles

Last week, Matz, the chief designer and creator of the Ruby programming language stopped by BYU on his way to RubyCon. I was fortunate to go to lunch with him and capture the colloquium talk he gave. I've posted his talk on IT Conversations. I'm still working on getting slides to post. Update: Slides from Matz's talk are available.
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Using OpenID and Liking IT

Norman Walsh is using OpenID in his photodata.org application and liking it. He has Ruby code (not Rails) that you can swipe if you like.
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Emacs and Ruby

Jao at Programming Musings linked my my post on tools with a nice article on using powerful editors. Jao's post included a link to a screencast on using emacs and ruby by Marshall Vandegrift. I've been using emacs for 20 years, but I learned a lot of useful little tricks. Vandegrift has a post giving links to the various packages he uses in the screencast. Here's the ones I found interesting. One of the things I've always liked about TextMate is its signature directory listing on the left hand side and the ease with which that allows you to
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Rails, Streamlined, and DabbleDB

I've been playing a little with Rails over the last week. This is the first time I really tried to build something I cared about in Rails as opposed to just running someone else's scripted tutorial. I'm having fun and I continue to be impressed with its power. I've reversed roles in this endeavor--one of my grad students, Devlin Daley, has become the teacher and is kindly answering my questions so I don't end up stuck in too many places. Today he showed me a couple of screencasts of data-drive application builders that left me slack-jawed. The first was
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Matz Speaking at BYU

This Wednesday at 3pm (note the time change), Yukihiro Matsumoto, aka Matz, the creator of Ruby will be giving the colloquium in 1170 TMCB. The colloquium is open to anyone who's interested in attending. I suggest getting there early.
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Rails and Ajax for Page Application Development (ETech 2006 Tutorial)

I'm in David Heinemeier Hansson's tutorial on Beneath-the-Page Application Development with Rails. His Rails tutorial from last summer remains one of my most viewed blog entries. He starts out noting that AJAX is the most important innovation for the Web in years. But JavaScripting the DOM still sucks...a lot. JavaScripting the DOM is incompatible with how regular programmers think about programming. Part of the problem is the sorry state of browser. One line of change can lead to hours of regressions because of browser incompatibilities. Then there's the browser underworld (all the old, out of date browsers that are
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ETech Tutorials

I'm at ETech, just waiting for the the first tutorial to begin. I'm signed up for two today. This morning I'm going to A (Re-)Introduction to JavaScript taught be Simon Willison. This afternoon, I'm going to Beneath-the-Page Application Development with Rails with David Heinemeier Hansson. His Rails tutorial from last summer remains one of my most viewed blog entries. I'll post notes, so follow along.
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BYU RUG Report

I wasn't able to go the BYU Ruby User's Group meeting last week, but Lee Jensen went and filed this report: I went to the BYU RUG Meeting last night in Provo. The guest speaker was Eric Hodel part of the Robot Coop makers of the 43(things,people,places) social sites. He explained some of the interesting projects that he's been working on and has done in Ruby. He's currently working on a project called Ruby2c or MetaRuby which seeks to make an parser which will implement a subset of Ruby that can be output to the C language and then
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Eric Hodel at BYU RUG

The BYU Ruby User's Group is meeting tonight at 7pm in 120 TMCB. The guest speaker is Eric Hodel from Seattle Washington.
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Ruby on Rails and OS X

Devlin Daley gave a presentation in our 601R class on Rails so that we could discuss frameworks and the choices Rails had made. While he was talking, I poked around a little since I wanted to get Rails going on my Powerbook and found this great little tutorial on getting Rails working on Mac OS X (Tiger). The tutorial walks you through setting Rails up with SQLite and creating a simple application. I only ran into two problems with the tutorial as written. First, when you load the Ruby Gem for SQLite, it says to type: sudo gem install
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BYU Ruby User's Group Report

I went to the BYU Ruby User's Group meeting tonight. Devlin Daley (one of my grad students) gave a demonstration of Rails by building a movie database application. He did a good job. There were about a dozen people there. Again, I was impressed by the power of convention in contrast to configuration. We don't, in general, do a good enough job of thinking out defaults for our programs so that they work without configuration for what most people want to do.
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Monads in Ruby: Yum!

Just ran across an introduction to using monads in Ruby. If you're more of a Schemer, you might enjoy this introduction more.
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BYU Ruby User's Group Meeting

The BYU Ruby User's Group is having a meeting tomorrow (Wed, Nov 9th) in 120 TMCB at 7pm. They're going to walk through implementing an application (can you say "live demo?") in Rails 1.0. Come one, come all.
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