Archive for December, 2006|Monthly archive page


So far, anytime I’ve written a post about a Raven release on TheServerSide, I’ve hit the XML vs. DSL discussion. I usually haven’t replied to any of these comments as I believe a TSS thread isn’t the right place for such a debate (too much flame potential). But Steven F. Lott has written a pretty nice post about it. Don’t be an XMLholic.


No JRuby Upgrade For Me

Just when I had the integration of Raven with JRuby 0.9.1 finished, the good folks of JRuby released a new version! As I always like to be on the cutting edge (in this case bleeding, read on…) I’ve tried the upgrade.

A couple of things are definite improvement. First it could be an impression but the execution seems slightly faster. It’s still pretty slow but not as much as the previous version I think (I’m running on Java 5). Second they seem to have incorporated most of my past issues so I could remove a couple of nasty worarounds from my code. So far so good.

But then there’s a couple of disappointments as well. Anytime you use Ruby Gems the following message appears (twice):

<pre><code>tempfile.rb:54 warning: JRuby does not currently support defining finalizers<code><pre>

Not so nice. And the worst thing for Raven is that environment variables usage aren’t working anymore so I can’t get a value for the user home. This seems to be a known issue but that blocks me nonetheless as I can’t think of a good workaround. So no JRuby 0.9.2 for Raven, I’ll wait for the next version.

Trivia Tag

I’ve been tagged by Assaf Arkin. As the game goes, I’m supposed to give you 5 little-known facts and tag 5 other innocent victims (I feel like the tv game guy repeating the obvious rules every single day).

  1. Definitely boxer, no brief.
  2. I wax it carefully twice a week.That’s my surf board of course. Waves fascinate me, I could freeze my ass off (Nor-Cal) watching big waves breaking and a huge swell rushing toward the beach. But my wife enjoys the warmth of cloth stores much more.
  3. I’ve been playing bass guitar for 4 hours a day minimum every single day during 2 years. That was about 7 years ago. And no, I wasn’t really assiduous at school.
  4. I snore when I’m drunk (but hey, who doesn’t?).
  5. I have the memory span of a fish when it comes to anything that isn’t related to a computer. I’ve lost a lot of money because of it. The most classic example: draw money at an ATM, leave with the card but without the money. Lost maybe 4 or 5 watches (which explains why I don’t wear one anymore). I have to keep on sending e-mails to myself to remember things and I still forget. Drives my wife crazy sometimes.

And the innocent victims are going to be Antonio, Alexis, Rousette, Paul and kofno.

Pic by doc 18.

Beryl Trick

I won’t deny that I’m in a pretty severe computer geek condition. As such I’m running Beryl on Kubuntu. I’ve just found a way to workaround an annoyance that I had until now: everything was crashing (everything being X11 in that particular case) when I pressed ctrl+backspace. Which happens *really* often when typing.

So just execute this wherever you feel (command line, startup script, …):

xmodmap -e "keycode 22 = BackSpace Delete"

Btw I’ve just upgraded to 0.1.3. Really nice.

Book Writing

I’ve been offered to write a short book about Raven by APress. And have been writing for about 2 weeks now. I think it’s a great thing for Raven, the availability of extensible documentation and best practices as a book is a really important step for the maturity of every technology. Plus I get to work on my writing skills, which, as you might have noticed, isn’t a bad thing either.

The principal issue I had with this is that it would slow down development on Raven. But after giving it some thought, it also brings a really good chance to reflect on what I’ve done so far and to see what I could have done wrong. It can also show what are the obvious missing parts as the narrative of the book should make that obvious. Spending far more time thinking about code than writing code is in my opinion a prerequisite of good software, especially when you write in Ruby as it’s usually very tight code. So in the end I think it’s actually an argument for the book more than against it. And I’ve already pulled up a couple of cool additional thing (my writeup on JRuby should give you an idea about one of them) so I guess I’ve already proven myself wrong.

So far I’m pretty surprised by the writing experience. I thought it would become quickly a pain, requiring a lot of motivation but actually I’m enjoying it. I even wish I could get an unlimited amount of time to work on it and refine every sentence. But then I wish I could have an unlimited amount of time for pretty much everything.

So if you want to enjoy my prose in a more extensive way than these few lines, start saving some bucks every month. A couple less cigarets. Just a tall late instead of a venti at Starbucks. Skip a day of doughnut. Walk or bike to work if possible two days a week. See, I care both about your health and your wallet.

Photo by soobis.

A Window Manager in Your Browser

A friend of mine wrote a full window manager on top of the Google Web Toolkit: GWM. Really snazzy.

Holy **** Batman!

A Google guy has been running some searches on the code indexed by Google Code Search. I love that stuff.