Friday, July 28, 2006

Aptana - Javascript focused IDE

Aptana is a robust, JavaScript-focused IDE for building dynamic web applications. Highlights include the following features:
  • Code Assist on JavaScript, HTML, and CSS languages, including your own JavaScript functions
  • Outliner that gives a snapshot view of your JavaScript, HTML, and CSS code structure
  • Error and warning notification for your code
  • Support for Aptana UI customization and extensions
  • Cross-platform support
  • Free and open source. (Source available soon)

Why Blog?

I read this article recently and it renewed my desire to blog more regularly. It is a good write up on the reasons that people should write blogs and it counters all of the objections that people normally have about doing it.

Cleaning up your CSS

Two things related to cleaner CSS:

First, a great suggestion on how to better organize your CSS files. The idea is to use indentation in your CSS files to make it cleaner to look at and easier to find elements. Just like you would indent source code, you indent your CSS. Very good idea, and I can't believe I haven't thought of it!

Secondly, we all know there are times when CSS browser hacks are necessary. But they always make CSS files look so nasty. And it is often difficult to remember what each hack needs to be formatted like. Using the CSS Browser Selector JS library, it becomes easy to add browser hacks into your CSS files without making them messy or having to remember how to format them.

Choosing a web application framework

I really need to find a good web app framework. Something that doesn't force me to do lots of extra stuff, configuration, and so forth. Something that is easy and quick to get up to speed in and that I don't have to jump through hoops to get working. And, something that has strong AJAX support.

Well, I'm finding this holy grail is either hard to find, or doesn't yet exist. I haven't tried out any platforms yet, still just researching, so I could be wrong. But from the googling I've done, nobody seems to be able to agree on any given framework. They each have pluses and minuses. At the moment, I'm seriously considering changing to Ruby after years of Java.

I've built lots of custom DHTML widgets in the past, and it was refreshing to look through the ZK Demos. I just may use this toolkit in the future.

Following are several resources I found useful, in no particular order of preference:

OnJava - What Web Application Framework should you use?

Raible Designs - Response to OnJava article
Stripes - Java Web App Framework
Click - Examples of Click Framework

ThinWire - AJAX Framework
Try Ruby - Interactive Ruby Demo

TheServerSide - Discussion of AJAX products
ZK - AJAX Framework
Quick Tour of Ruby
Roundup of 30 AJAX tutorials

CrazyBob - Discussion of Google Web Toolkit (GWT) vs. JSF
AJAX Patterns
JBoss Seam - Web 2.0 Application Framework

What is going to replace Struts in an AJAX world?

I'll post more resources as I find them...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

FC5 software installers and updaters

My workbench mouse sucks bad, so bad that I don't even want to use it. I really need to remember to buy a new mouse sometime. As I configure new machines at my workbench, I've found it very frustrating to interact with the machines. So, in the meantime, I've started to use X Windows from my Windows XP machine to interact with the GUI apps on my FC5 systems. See a previous post about configuring XMing.

Anyway, I've found that the GUI software update program is called pup and the package explorer is called pirut. So instead of running them at the machine, I can open an xterm using XMing and then enter "pup &" or "pirut &" and work with the programs from my regular workstation.

XMing -- X Windows for Windows XP

Just installed and started to use XMing and XLaunch. Am able to connect to a single server, but can't seem to get it connecting to multiple servers at the same time. Will deal with it later. The following link proved useful for configuring XLaunch and getting PuTTY working with it:

Fedora Core 5 networking

Argh... I just wasted lots of time trying to figure out why a new FC5 installation was able to see the local network but not access anything past my router. As it turns out, all I needed to do was add the following to /etc/sysconfig/network and restart the network:


I have another FC5 machine here that wasn't having any problems and it didn't have this line in its network file. However, it had DHCP setup instead of a manual IP. Next time I'll know...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Purchased today

With all the domains such as and and so forth, I started looking for something that would interest me. I came up with since I can use it for all of the following:

Perhaps I'll make one of these the domain for my blog if I start actually blogging more often.

Caucho server problems

The caucho server went down last night. Argh. Couldn't access it remotely, so went to the colo. Still couldn't get onto it, and rebooting didn't help. Looked like the drives had failed or the SCSI controller was bad. Took the system back to my office to work on it.

After lots of testing of parts and swapping with another system configured exactly the same, I couldn't get anything to boot. Called SuperMicro for tech support and after further testing, they confirmed the problem was with the drives, not the SCSI controller, cable, or backplane.

Called Caucho and told them about the problem. Since both drives were bad, my assumption is that one drive failed a while ago and the other one continued to work since the server had mirrored drives. Then the 2nd drive failed last night. They didn't have any backup service on their server, and it sounded like they didn't do backups themselves. So I took the drives out of the system and shipped them for Monday delivery.