RailsConf 2006: Marcel Molina and Sam Stephenson – Ruby on Rails Podcast

Hear about integration tests, optimization, and the tumblelog from Sam Stephenson (creator of Prototype, Rails core, 37signals) and Marcel Molina (Rails core, 37signals).

RailsConf 2006: Marcel Molina and Sam Stephenson – Ruby on Rails Podcast

Hear about integration tests, optimization, and the tumblelog from Sam Stephenson (creator of Prototype, Rails core, 37signals) and Marcel Molina (Rails core, 37signals).

June – Rails Month

June was one of these ‘Rails’ month…With Lee we took on a new Rails project in the e-learning arena for some people with some really cool ideas. They wanted a html prototype at the end of the month, and overly optimistic as I am, I said why just a prototype, let’s build the real thing. And we did. Now there is more to the application before it can go life than what we just build, but we managed to go from concept to a real working front-end in an extremely short time. Wired frame UI, intense object modeling discussions, html prototype, then build it with Rails. Rails just get’s out of your way and let’s you build a web application as fast as your brain allows 🙂 We where really surprised how fast a great application can be build. This was only part time, as my main project is working on gatelys.com new ecommerce platform. An astonishing Rails application. I also worked a little on RailsLogAnalyzer, a ‘Rails production log’ visualization application using Rails and Flex on OSX. But for that one I will wait that the Flash Player 9 is out for OSX Intel. Then RailsConf 2006. That was awesome, meeting 700 Rails enthusiasts, the Rails core team, and many Rails developers from the Denver area. I can just say: “Rails has a bright future!”. But now is time for me to sit back, relax. I’ll be on vacations for most of July. So see you then!

Pickin’ up the slack

I guess I’ll have to try to pick up the slack while Daniel’s trekking around Europe. In case you don’t know, I’m the guy named Lee that Daniel mentions from time to time.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to fill some space here with some useful tidbits about Rails, Ferret, and whatever else looks interesting.

Have a great vacation, Daniel. We’ll leave the light on for ya.

Streamlined – Will ROCK the Rails World

Streamlined is an open source framework for quickly creating data-centric applications with Ruby on Rails.
Today Justin Gehtland announced during his ‘Ajax on Rails’ talk that Streamlined will be released at OSCON in July. I can best describe Streamlined as ‘dynamic scaffolding’ done right. Streamlined is a model driven way of generating data centric UI’s. Justin demoed how to create and modify a data entry application. It provides search, crud functionality, support relationship between model, and way more. The framework adheres to the convention over configuration approach and provides a default behavior of the application than can easily be refined and enhanced. As opposed to scaffolding it doesn’t generate code for the controller but provides a basic behavior. This will ROCK the software development world and accelerate many projects.

From the Streamlined website:

In the Abendsen release, Streamlined has been focused on solving the problems of our customers and our internal projects. Right now, Streamlined is focused on:

  • Generator for churning out the initial views and configuration
  • A declarative DSL for managing views, including relationship management, field selection, etc.
  • Full Ajax-enabled management views with sorting, paging and live search (with configurable field-inclusion)
  • A criteria query extension to Active Record
  • Context-sensitive help
  • An extensible component system for representing relationships at runtime
  • Export to xml/csv
  • REST-ful web service layer around all models
  • Atom support
  • Auto user-management and inclusion of declarative role-based authorization
  • Choice of layouts (Yahoo Grids or CSS Framework)
  • Theme support
  • Includes Javawin for in-browser windowing

This is the feature set we’ll release at OSCON in July.

RailsConf 2006 – Here we come!

Looking forward meeting you all in Chicago! There will be tons of great presentations, here is my selection:

10:45 Introduction to Capistrano
Mike Clark is just a great presenter
13:15 ??
Not sure yet
14:30 Monitoring Rails Applications in Production Environments
Too important to skim that one
15:45 Sneaking Rails into the (legacy) system
or Goeffrey’s Rails Deployment on Shared Hosts
09:00 Ajax on Rails
Let’s see what the ‘man’ has to say
10:15 Lessons from Blinksale and IconBuffet
I am eagerly waiting for some information on the Blinksale API
11:30 Lucene Eye for the Ruby Guy
We are using successfully Ferret, but Lee did all the programming, so it’s time I do some catching up
14:45 Testing Migrations
I hesitate between this and the two other talks, but I got bit a couple of time with migrations. So any good advice is welcome.
9:00 Beyond DHTML: Introducing Laszlo on Rails
I am big fan of Flex and Laszlo, now that Laszlo can generate DHTML, let’s see what Mike has to say.
10:15 Just the Facts (and Dimensions) — using Rails with your OLAP data model
I had the chance of beeing part of a team that pionered the field before it was called that (back in 1987). And now I need to do some more data analysis for the soon to be releases OSX RailsLogAnalyser application (Flex+Rails). Looking forward to this talk.
11:30 Rails Takes on the Enterprise with SOA
Rails is a tuff sell to the enterprise. They invested to much into Java and .Net, so even if Rails is often a good fit, it’s not even considered. So any additional ammunition to enter existing enterprises is welcome

Josh Susser – Ruby on Rails Podcast

Newly knighted Rails blogger Josh Susser muses on database relationships and reliable apps.

Josh Susser – Ruby on Rails Podcast

Newly knighted Rails blogger Josh Susser muses on database relationships and reliable apps.

Derailed – Denver Ruby On Rails User Group. June 15th.

19:15 Doug Fales presentation: Rails by the Waypoints: Integrating a GPS Unit and a Digital Camera in the Era of the Mashup.

Doug will present this talk at RubyConf next week, so this is kind of a dry run for him in front of 25 people at the Derailed (Denver Ruby On Rails User Group) before the big event. About 5 other people from the attendance will also attend RailsConf. Cool, Denver is in force. Doug explained how he came to Rails and integrating it with GPS data, Flicker and Google maps…that’s what happens when you got the crazy idea of running long distances in the middle of no where. Check out http://walkingboss.org/ in the next month as he will release a first public version of his application. In short, you can map your walking track recorded by a gps onto a google map and also upload and link your photos to the track based on the photos time-stamps. Doug now moves onto the “What I learned” writing this application. Site note: the funny thing is that besides Ara, everyone in the attendance uses a Mac. Ok, back to the presentation. Doug sees Ruby on Rails as the glue between the data and the client-side of the application. Another challenge was writing the GPS data mangling libraries. He describes how Ruby helped writing different blocks of functionalities (Search using the Ferret gem and acts_as_ferret, the data models, tagging, …). He then describes the cost of development, where Rails offers you lots for free. Finally, he concludes with comments on how rails allows for creativity by solving lots of mundane problems for you and allowing for to keep your momentum.

20:15 Now onto to Ara Howard’s presentation: Meta Programming

Ara is usually more involved with the Boulder Ruby User Group. He is a Ruby person first, then a Rails person. He got into Ruby about six years ago, and works in all manner of application domains and is specialized in data mangling (not directly his words). He defines Meta-programming as being code that writes code. That can be at compile time or a run time. You can have reflexive meta programming where a language can be used to generate output in the same language. Ruby is a very good meta-programming language and Rails makes heavy use of meta-programming. Rather than going paraphrasing Ara, I would certainly be incorrect as he is covering lot’s of ground, check out his slides (this link is to his desktop, you can also find the slides at http://codeforpeople.com). Note that just the slides won’t provide enough background as the narration Ara provides and the code examples augments greatly these slides. So try to catch one of his talks if you can. The nice part of his presentation is that he is presenting advanced aspects of Ruby, the languages, that may be more obscures to people like me that dived into Ruby via Rails. Ruby provides lots of hooks for meta programming like module_eval, class_eval, instance_eval, define_method, eval (being evil).

Two excellent presentations. Thank guys! Now onto Rock Bottom for a beer.

David Black – Ruby on Rails Podcast

The RubyCentral co-founder talks about his new book, Ruby for Rails.

David Black – Ruby on Rails Podcast

The RubyCentral co-founder talks about his new book, Ruby for Rails.

Geoip data

As part of the Rails Log Analyzer I want to show where, geographically speaking, the different users come from. The following ‘ingredients’ were required to achieve this:

  • The geoip gem by Clifford Heat
  • The GeoLiteCity.dat file download from http://www.maxmind.com/app/geolitecity
  • A vectorial world map in Flash from http://www.fabiovisentin.com/world_map/vectorial_world_map.asp
  • And the Flex mx:BubbleChart component

The result is the following


Note there are still some technical hurdles to overcome with the bubble chart as it behaves unexpectedly when setting the radius of the bubbles and the scaling of the world map as the background of the chart can not be precisely controlled. Also the world map needs to be zoomed in a little to make the graph more readable as not too much activity is going on at the south pole.

So now lets look at some code extracts.

Getting the geoip information [ruby]

When parsing the log we retrieve the city information related to an ip address

require ‘geoip’

geo_ip = GeoIP.new("#{RAILS_ROOT}/data/GeoLiteCity.dat")
    parser.items.each_with_index do |item, index|
     geo_info = geo_ip.city(item['ip']) 

The city method returns the following array

            [   hostname,           # 0 - Requested hostname
                ip,             # 1- Ip address as dotted quad
                CountryCode[code],  # 2 - ISO3166-1 code
                CountryCode3[code], # 3 - ISO3166-2 code
                CountryName[code],  # 4 - Country name, per IS03166
                CountryContinent[code],# 5 - Continent code.
                region,         # 6 - Region name
                city,               # 7 - City name
                postal_code,        # 8 - Postal code
                latitude,           # 9 - Latitude
                longitude,          # 10 - Longitude

Generating the geo data series [ruby]
The log file data is stored in sqlite database for ease of querying and aggregation. This will also allow to wrap the application as a packaged OSX application with the database embedded in the application. The following called is invoked by the controller that simply return the result of the query to the Flex application.

def Hit.sqlite_data(from_date, to_date)
result = {}
query = { :name => “geoip”,
:sql => “select count(*) as count, latitude, longitude, city, state, country from hits where #{scope} group by 2,3 order by 1 desc”,
:column_names => [‘count’, ‘latitude’, ‘longitude’, ‘city’, ‘state’, ‘county’]

result[query[:name]] = Hit.geoip_serie(data, query[:name],query[:column_names], result[:hit_count][:data][0][0].to_f)


def Hit.geoip_serie(serie, title, column_names, total_count)
result = {:title => title}
data = []
serie.each do |item|
row = {‘count’ => (item[0].to_f / total_count)*100,
‘latitude’ => item[1],
‘longitude’ => item[2],
‘city’ => item[3],
‘state’ => item[4],
‘country’ => item[5],
row[‘count’] = 3 #if row[‘count’] < 1
#row[‘count’] = 5 if row[‘count’] > 5
data << row
result[:data] = data

Rendering the series [flex]

As seen in a previous article on how to exchange data between Flex and a Rails application using JSON, the server returns the data as a string that is simply transformed to an actionscript object using JSON.decode. This object is then passed to a custom component named BubbleSerieChart (I know, I find a more descriptive name)

        import mx.controls.Alert;
        public var time_serie:Object;
        public var serie_name:String;

        private function getLabel(item:Object, field:String, index:uint, percentValue:Number):String
            return item.key;

<mx:BubbleChart id="chart" dataProvider="{time_serie}" showDataTips="true" width="100%" height="100%" >
                <mx:Image source="@Embed('political_world_map_grey.swf')" /> 

        <mx:LinearAxis minimum="-180" maximum="180" />

        <mx:LinearAxis  minimum="-90" maximum="90"/>

            <mx:BubbleSeries xField="longitude" yField="latitude" radiusField="count"  maxRadius="5"/>