Category Archives: Web

Have fun RESTing!

Cheesy post titles aside…

I just discovered the very simple but incredibly useful RESTClient at: http://code.google.com/p/rest-client/ .

It’s a simple Java GUI app for testing out one’s REST services. You can choose your: URL, HTTP method, add any custom headers, add a body for PUT/POST, set auth info, SSL info, and do simple scripting.

This is an incredibly useful tool, AND a far cry better than doing it all on the command line with curl.

Thanks @subwiz (the project owner)!

Updating RubyGems on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

I’m just posting a simple tip today.

I was wanting to play around with the very cool SASS meta-language using Compass. The language and tool are implemented in Ruby, which is pre-installed on OS X, but as I discovered, I needed a newer version of RubyGems.

I had already known I needed to update Gems, so I was doing the following:

$ sudo gem update

Eventually I got errors like this:

Updating installed gems...
Bulk updating Gem source index for: http://gems.rubyforge.org
Bulk updating Gem source index for: http://gems.github.com/
Attempting remote update of RedCloth
ERROR:  Error installing RedCloth:
    RedCloth requires RubyGems version >= 1.2
Attempting remote update of capistrano
ERROR:  Error installing capistrano:
    capistrano requires RubyGems version >= 1.2
Attempting remote update of net-sftp
ERROR:  Error installing net-sftp:
    net-sftp requires RubyGems version >= 1.2
Attempting remote update of net-ssh
ERROR:  Error installing net-ssh:
    net-ssh requires RubyGems version >= 1.2
Gems updated: RedCloth, capistrano, net-sftp, net-ssh

Turns out, to update RubyGems, one must update the gem system!

So, the next correct command to run is:

$ sudo gem update --system

This updated my RubyGems to version 1.3.1 and allowed me to move forward in playing with Ruby.

Foxmarks: Bookmark Synchronization Heaven

Long have I searched for the magic bullet solution to my bookmark synchronization woes.  I’ve wanted a simple plugin that would synchronize my bookmarks between multiple installations of Firefox and Safari, thus making it simple to access said bookmarks from any computer, or between the two commonly used browsers on my Mac.  I’ve looked at many options, but always the solution only allows me to sync one browser or the other, leaving me looking for some secondary sync tool to get between Firefox and Safari on my Mac itself, not via network or a proper sync.

I’d almost given up on finding a solution, then, a few months ago I started using Delicious. It was cool because there were plugins for Safari, Firefox, and IE, and of course, it’s by default a web based bookmarking system. Its cool, I like it, but I just didn’t use it much. The plugins integrate it into the browser by giving you ANOTHER bookmarks menu, not by integrating with the browsers’ bookmark system.

Before ever using Safari or Delicious, my Firefox bookmark sync tool of choice was Foxmarks. It provided a web interface for remote access to my bookmarks, plus a nice sync interface for all my Firefox installations. I was randomly poking around today and discovered that Foxmarks now works with Safari and IE! I was excited and wasted no time installing Foxmarks for Safari. So far, it works great!

For the most part, it works just as you’d expect, bookmarks sync between all my Safari(Mac only, for now, I think) and Firefox(Mac, Linux, and Windows) installations without hassle. I’ve yet to try out the Internet Explorer functionality, but I’m guessing it works pretty well. I just don’t use IE enough to care.

One caveat to be aware of: both Firefox and Safari use some browser specific URL syntax to access internal functionality for recent bookmarks, etc. That stuff will only work on the browser where it was created, Safari on Safari, Firefox on Firefox, etc. For me, that’s a non issue, I rarely use those features. I have tested and confirmed that javascript bookmarklets (like for Tinyurl and Cornify) do seem to work after syncing. Those are about the only reason I use on the bookmark menubar.

WordPressMU Plugin Commander

I’m solidly impressed with the WPMU Plugin Commander. One thing that seemed odd to me about WPMU was that I either enable users to have plugin control, or NO ONE (not even the site admin) has the ability to enabled/disable plugins (without a lot of hacking).

This plugin provides a control panel where I can globally enable/disable plugins, set plugins to be auto-enabled for new blogs, and give users the ability to enable/disable only selected plugins.

The perfect scenario is, I want to auto-anable Akismet for my users, so they get spam filtering on comments. Also, I want them to have the ability to try out other various plugins, but don’t want them able to turn off Aksimet.

I’ll echo the sentiments of others I read when discovering Plugin Commander, “this functionality should be in WPMU core!”

Firefox 3 rc2 Is Out!

Since moving to the Mac, I’ve tried to use Safari almost exclusively. I definitely like it, and it’s got some great tools, but I usually found myself running back to Firefox 2 whenever I had to really do work on a website because I really like some the power Firefox extensions give me. A couple of the things NOT too like about Firefox 2 was the heavy memory usage, the crashing, and the lack of native Mac OS X widgets.

I’ve been playing with Firefox 3 betas off and on, but yesterday I noticed Firefox 3 release candidate 2 is out! This is likely going to be the last pre-release until the official launch, it has fixed a lot of bugs, and it solves some of my nagging issues. Memory usage is better, crashing less frequent, and we now have native widgets! Of course, I use Firefox for work, so to use FF3 I need my extentions which haven’t all been available till now:

Yesterday I mentioned this to my co-worker who expressed concern about being able to test in Firefox 2. We already have this issue with IE6/IE7 and there’s no good solution for that but to have an extra copy of Windows with only IE6 installed. (yes, you can try weird hacks like this, but they don’t always seem to work)

Well, with Firefox (old and new) there’s this snazzy profile manager tool, which lets you choose what profile you want to use.

First, if you want to have multiple copies of Firefox installed, just name them differently. When you download Firefox the app is named “Firefox” I’m planning to use Firefox 3 as my standard now, so I’ve left it named that renamed my old Firefox to “Firefox2”. Shocking, isn’t it.

Now, from Terminal, I can run the following:

$ /Applications/Firefox2.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -ProfileManager

You should see something like this:

Firefox Profile Manager

By default, you’ll probably only have the “default” profile, but you can create a profile dedicated to testing in FF2 which should prevent it from screwing with my FF3 profile (as I’ve noticed can happen). Another side effect is that this lets you run multiple copies (of the different versions) of Firefox at once. Also, un-check the “Don’t ask at startup” box, and you won’t have to run the secondary browsers from the command-line to ensure you get the profile you intended.

For the record, I’ve tested the same thing on Windows XP. While you can install multiple copies/versions of Firefox and use the different profiles the same way, you cannot run both copies at the same time. At least I couldn’t make it work.

Plainview: presentations ala web

I just stumbled onto the coolest little app for Mac. Plainview is a web browser based on WebKit (also the guts of the Safari browser). What’s unique is it’s intended to NOT have chrome (the name for all tose fancy navigation bars, address text boxes, menus etc). It’s slim… so slim the chrome is non-existent. This is a full-screen mode web browser, intended to utilize the full screen real estate for presentations! Essentially, instead of having to take screenshots of websites and put them into power point or something, you can just demo the site. It’s awesome… and i’m not even explaining it as well as they did… but I am tired. 🙂

I hope that in the near future I can use this for more than playing around.

Investigating OpenID

Aaron (one of my co-workers), recently posted a link about OpenID. I’ve given OpenID only cursory glances over the last year, but the Coding Horror link in Aaron’s post had a comment to this Google Video where Simon Willison gives a Google Tech Talk on The Implications of OpenID. The video is nearly a year old, but to date, it’s done more to convince me to get on the OpenID bandwagon than anything else.