Monday, April 30, 2007

Getting Ruby on Rails up and running on Ubuntu Linux

  1. Install RubyGems: sudo apt-get install rubygems

  2. Install Rails: sudo gem install rails --include-dependencies

  3. Download and unzip Eclipse.

  4. Get Ruby Development Tools via Software Update:

  5. Get RadRails via Softwware Update:

  6. An in-depth tutorial on the use of these tools (using Ruby on Windows) can be found at

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flex Builder 2.0.1 - Terrible first impression

I downloaded Adobe's Flex Builder 2.0.1 for trial drive. I'm interested in rich client development and Flex and Flash seem to be where the action is at. I'm currently doing WPF in the .NET world, but that necessitates installing .NET 3.0 on the client machine and XBAP deployment is still a bit shaky these days (partial vs. full trust issues come to mind). Anyways, I thought I'd try out Flex Builder 2 for 30 days. Well, it only took me a few minutes to see that this tool probably won't be very productive for me. The thing is terribly slow in source code mode, to the point that it becomes unusable. The design mode seems to work OK, but switching to source mode just brings the tool to its knees. It is built on Eclipse 3.1.2 and I've been lukewarm on Eclipse these days too. Not sure if its the Flex Builder stuff or Eclipse causing the issue, but it ain't good either way. Now looking for other tooling to help with Flex development. Luckily, it does look like I could just use a text editor and use Ant and the Flex build tasks to build stuff up. Stay tuned.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

When pair programming rocks

I recently spent about 2.5 days pair programming with another developer at a client gig. We camped out in a small conference room for the entire time and set up a laptop with a nice 20" widescreen LCD monitor so both programmers could easy see what was happening. Wow!! What an awesome experience and when the time was up, we had refactored some nasty eventing code into a thoughtful design that has a nice set of unit tests around it (where as the previous code had no unit tests). An awesome agile development experience. Probably one of the only times I've truly felt super-productive on this project. Looking for more opportunities like this at this current client engagement. Kudos Mike!

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Goodbye, ankhsvn!

Well, I and a couple other developers at my current gig stopped using ankhsvn within VS 2005. Cool tool and it works great if your solution doesn't get too big. But our stuff is getting huge and it just became a drain on resources. It needs some serious perf tuning, but I'm hoping that it does improve to the point that I can one day use it. Just not ready for prime time at my client. Now I'll have to manually maintain the svn adds from TortoiseSVN. Not real excited about that, but I can't take the hit on performance that ankhsvn subjects me to.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

SharpDevelop's SVN support

Seems SharpDevelop is using the excellent TortoiseSVN component to handle Subversion integration in the IDE.  I'm really impressed at how far SharpDevelop has come in the past few years.  It's a very capable IDE and much faster than VS 2005. 

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New Dell 2407WFP monitor

Just received a new 24" Dell widescreen flat panel LCD monitor. It's quite nice! I have it hooked up to my Dell XPS M170 laptop and its a dream. I had a Dell 20" widescreen flat panel LCD monitor previously connected to this laptop, but the 24" will run at the Dell XPS native resolution of 1920x1200. Sweet! I paid $569 (no including tax); there was a email coupon offer that I used to get the monitor at that price. If you have the money and a video card that will drive a monitor of this resolution, it's well worth the cost.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Adam Nathan's Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed

Beautiful book, at least from the aspect of color. The whole book is published in rich, glossy, colorful pages. Code examples are syntax highlighted, just like they would be in VS 2005. The content of the book looks excellent. I have Sells and Griffiths Programming Windows Presentation Foundation, which actually seems quite out of date. That book seems to be based on early Avalon releases and has many errors now that WPF has been released. I think there is some value to the book. but not being up-to-date hurts it greatly. I also have Moroney's Foundations of WPF. This book is scant on hardcore WPF information. It tries to use the Expression Interactive Designer tool to demonstrate designing UIs. I much prefer Nathan's book, which really goes into the deep internals of WPF. Looks like a winner.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Using SharpDevelop for WPF programming

It can be done! It seems that SharpDevelop 2.1 Final (which I just downloaded and installed) can be used to develop WPF apps. There's no XAML-aware editor; you get the XML editor and you have to come up with everything by yourself. But the tool understands the binding between the XAML file and the code-behind partial class file. Very cool. I tried to use C# Express Edition 2005 with the WPF and WCF extensions installed and that didn't work out so well. I wonder how difficult it would be to develop a XAML addin for SharpDevelop. Heck, one could use Kaxaml to prototype the XAML and then move to SharpDevelop after the XAML is complete. Anything to avoid purchasing a license of VS 2005.

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