Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fire up your jQuery

Firebug is a popular firefox extension for web developers. It lets you fiddle directly with DOM, debug JavaScript, run adhoc JavaScript snippets against current page, view http requests and lots more. If you are still developing and debugging your web-app the old way, you should get firebug, already! That said, I am sure like most of web developers you already have this ultra popular plugin (with more than 3M active daily users).

In and of itself, firebug is extremely useful, but what makes it even more powerful is its extensible nature. There are lots of extensions for firebug. Quoting the firebug's extension page:
Firebug extensions augment or otherwise enhance the Firebug extension. Firebug extensions typically come in the form of Firefox add-ons. 
One of these extensions is FireQuery, that combines firebug with another huge favorite of web developers. Yes you guessed it right, jQuery! I've just got this thing in my firefox and am eagerly looking for problems.
I'll report back if I have fun with it, meanwhile checkout this screencast:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Try Ruby

Do you want to try the ruby language (of RoR fame) for free? That is, without investing time in downloading and installing the language tools?

Neh? Off course you don't have time for another freaking programming language. But before you dismiss the idea out of hand, let me give you a quick briefing on why it isn't such a bad idea after all.

First off, Ruby is not a new language, it originated in Japan during the mid 1990s. But up till the year 2005 it was relatively unknown in the professional programming circle. Along came the Ruby on Rails (RoR) web framework and things changed in a jiffy. There is little doubt that RoR is the killer app for the Ruby language. So what's so cool about the RoR? To be frank all I know is anecdotal, and I am just planning to get my feet wet with RoR, but even if half of the buzz surrounding it can be attributed to marketing, it still worth checking out. Here is are a few testimonials about RoR from their own website

“Rails is the most well thought-out web development framework I’ve ever used. And that’s in a decade of doing web applications for a living. I’ve built my own frameworks, helped develop the Servlet API, and have created more than a few web servers from scratch. Nobody has done it like this before.”
-James Duncan Davidson, Creator of Tomcat and Ant
“Ruby on Rails is a breakthrough in lowering the barriers of entry to programming. Powerful web applications that formerly might have taken weeks or months to develop can be produced in a matter of days.”
-Tim O'Reilly, Founder of O'Reilly Media
“It is impossible not to notice Ruby on Rails. It has had a huge effect both in and outside the Ruby community... Rails has become a standard to which even well-established tools are comparing themselves to.”
-Martin Fowler, Author of Refactoring, PoEAA, XP Explained

But before you get all too excited, remember that you don't know the language that powers this framework.
So now you really want to try the ruby language (of RoR fame) for free? That is, without investing time in downloading and installing the language tools?

Good! the tryruby.org is the way to go, then.

Simply visit the site with firefox (on chrome backspace button is not working) and start exploring ruby with the built-in tutorial.
You just need to enter "help" (without quotes) and the site will take you on a quick interactive journey of the ruby language.

Have fun.

P.S. If you get hooked to the thing, do let me know