Older blog entries for fxn (starting at number 506)

~1350 Rails core contributors

As part of the work I am doing for my opening keynote for the forthcoming Conferencia Rails 2008 I've written a script to approximate the number of people that has contibuted to Rails so far.

This is not a trivial count because when the Rails repo was under Subversion there were just some conventions to give credit to people in changelogs or commit messages. In addition people were given credit by their name, nickname, email, whatever. There were typos... it was all manual. Now under Git this is more systematic.

So the script tries to extract names from those places, and uses a hand-maintained mapping that normalizes names which has received a great deal of input from the Rails community.

After some days the figure has stabilized around 1350 people, which I think is really impressive and says a lot about the agility of Rails as an open-source project. This is the current listing.

shlomif, that'd be a warning due to an otherwise confusing response. That one is fine, and perhaps it would be better to get back a different page. When an email is involved for example I say it was sent and that people check their spam folder. No prob.

When I edit a task in Things there's no silly message saying "task successfully edited". The task view changes, it is there, it is obvious. You as a developer believe web apps have different user-interfaces, and in this particular aspect of the user interface I don't agree they have to be that different.

I don't mean you should write no warnings, I say you should choose which ones make sense. I feel people abuse and there's inertia to put "Product was successfully modified" gratuitiously.

Conferencia Rails 2008

The Conferencia Rails 2008 is taking shape. Yesterday the program was published with a great deal of good stuff.

Besides technical talks you'll see some case studies because this conference by tradition leaves room for explaining websites built in RoR, no matter whether they are commercial, so that people can share experiencie in everything that involves using Rails for a living.

Obie Fernández will close the conference with a keynote on Friday, and me myself will open the conference with a keynote on Thursday.

6 Oct 2008 (updated 6 Oct 2008 at 16:49 UTC) »

User was successfully created

Why so many webapps confirm to the user that some action was successfully done? Of course it was!

Look at your desktop applications, your editor does not bug you saying "File saved!" constantly, iCal is indeed almost completely silent. You warn the user when the disk has run out of space, right?

I think those messages come from the insecurity the developer feels about the amount of failure points between request and response. Perhaps some are just repeating the pattern seen elsewhere. But that's not the user's business, you warn when you fail.

Rails Guides

Rails Guides has started with great speed, I am amazed. There are several guides being written in parallel and more reviewers have joined the project.

There are two guides already published: Rails Routing from the Outside In, and Rails Database Migrations. I think this project is no doubt going to make a difference.

Semester at University of Barcelona

I gave today the first class of the semester at the University of Barcelona. The group is full. We gave an overview today and distributed people in two groups for exercices. This course will start at a low pace unfortunately because next Wednesday is a local feast, but then it will be non-stop up to the end. (Except perhaps for the Conferencia Rails 2008 to be held in Madrid in November.)

Open Source Activity

I am involved in a few things for the forthcoming months. Besides the Perl course at the UB I'm reviewing Rails guides, submitting patches to Rails now and then, organizing Euruko 2009 and Spanish Perl Workshop 2009, preparing a talk about Active Record internals... No time for being bored :- ).

11 Sep 2008 (updated 11 Sep 2008 at 19:10 UTC) »

Essay: Towards a universal language

As much as I love Catalan, I wonder whether Internet may be an inflection point towards the gradual emergence of a universal language.

I have mixed-feelings regarding the premise that human languages have a value as cultural patrimony. Languages are a historical accident, they arise essentially because people communicate with people in a small radius and that makes things diverge. It happened that evolution gave us languages, but for me that's heritage with no intrinsic value. On the contrary, for me it means separation.

Languages are a symbol for nations as well, when someone gets conquered the language of the victorious is imposed, and the one of the defeated persecuted. That's destruction. No value over here to look for, well not for me anyway.

When communication is the goal people forget about that, and just jump to whatever works. Normally that's English. If you speak English with people at a conference you are not perceiving your local language as being attacked, or your rights as a citizen of somewhere being violated. You just speak with people and whatever works is fine, because language is then just a mean.

I think it could be the case that the globalization in communications brings as a consequence a fix for Babel. When my daughter grows up she will be able to make online friends in the entire globe. I think next generations will gradually detach from the emotions we associate to languages nowadays, and by themselves derive towards something that works. I mean that's not going to be imposed, decided, or voted, in my idealization that just happens. English may be the de-facto standard due to its inherited inertia.

I believe that's gonna happen, and that would bring us to an epoch where humankind is bilingual in general. Communication and transportation will be much ubiquitous, and people will naturally speak some universal language, together with their mother tongue.

I wish those mother tongues eventually die or last as a cultural curiosity of past times, and people can freely communicate all over the Earth.

Rails Guides

There's a new project that aims at producing Rails documentation as a series of guides called Rails Guides.

A wish list of topics to cover is published. People may pick one and write a guide, if that one is accepted he gets a prize. Details in the rules of the page linked above.

I think Rails will benefit a lot from this initiative, and I am very pleased to be a reviewer, together with Rails core member Pratik Naik and Hongli Lai, author of the outstanding Phusion Passenger and Ruby Enterprise Edition.

Writing this from Berlin, ready for the RailsConf Europe 2008 that starts tomorrow morning.

Contributing to Rails these days, a few code and doc patches.

Gotcha: Ruby and Perl conflicting regexp flags

Both Ruby and Perl have /m and /s regexp flags, but they are different in each language.

  • To have the dot match newlines you use /s in Perl, but /m in Ruby.
  • To enable multiline mode, that is ^ matches beginning of line, you use /m in Perl and nothing in Ruby. In Ruby that's the only existing mode, you can't switch it off, ^ asserts beginning of line always. Beginning of string is \A and end of string \z or \Z as in Perl.
  • If that was not confusing enough, Ruby has a /s flag which means the regexp is in SJIS encoding.
4 Aug 2008 (updated 4 Aug 2008 at 15:09 UTC) »

Adam Kennedy in Barcelona

Perl wizard Adam Kennedy is doing a tour thanks to a TPF grant, and was with Barcelona.pm last Thursday. He gave a talk about PPI, a distribution of him that solves a hard problem.

After the talk we went out for dinner and had a great time. It was a real pleasure to meet him.

497 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!