Category Archives: Ruby

NWRUG 17th September – Smooth web apps with Varnish

This month David Smalley of Litmus will be talking about Varnish, the high-performance HTTP accelerator that makes doctype fly.

No sponsorship this month, but never fear, the BBC bar is fairly cheap and the Odder bar across the road serves nice pizzas.

Schedule

Please note we’re back on our old start time of 6:30pm

6:30pm :: Welcome & Pre-session bar visit.
7:00pm :: Everything you ever wanted to know about Varnish by David Smalley of Litmus
7:30pm :: Drinks at the BBC bar
8:00pm :: Off to Odder across the road. Odder serves food until 8:30.
If you want more information email nwrug@willj.net, call Will on 07939 547 962 or tweet @will_j.

Sign Up

If you would like to attend this event please sign up here. as the BBC need a list of attendees before the event. There’s an Upcoming event page but please use the form above.

Location

This meeting is being held at one of our regular venues, the BBC Manchester main building on Oxford Road in central Manchester (Directions). If you get lost call Will on 07939 547 962.

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NWRUG 20th August – Capistrano: from noob to winner

20th August – Capistrano: from noob to winner

This month Sam Phillips and Lee Hambley of Setfire Media will be taking us through Capistrano from just starting out to advanced usage.

Sponsorship is kindly provided this month by Setfire Media, so free pizza will once again be available.

Schedule

Please note we’re back on our old start time of 6:30pm

  • 6:30pm :: Welcome & Pre-session bar visit.
  • 7:00pm :: Capistrano for Newbies by Sam Phillips
  • 7:30pm :: Break
  • 7:40pm :: Winners’ Capistrano Recipes by Lee Hambley
  • 8:10pm :: Free pizza sponsored by Setfire Media
  • 9:00pm :: Drinks at the BBC bar afterwards, then somewhere else nearby after that closes.

If you want more information email nwrug@willj.net, call Will on 07939 547 962 or tweet @will_j.

Sign Up

If you would like to attend this event please sign up here.. as the BBC need a list of attendees before the event and I really need to know the numbers so I can order the right amount of food and drink. There’s an Upcoming event page but please use the form above. This month I shall be publicly covering people with brussel sprouts who arrive without signing up. You have been warned.

Location

This meeting is being held at one of our regular venues, the BBC Manchester main building on Oxford Road in central Manchester (Directions). If you get lost call Will on 07939 547 962.

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NWRUG 16th July – Source control Stand-off

This month Tekin Suleyman and Ashley Moran will be helping us get started with, and comparing, the Git and Darcs SCM systems.

Sponsorship is kindly provided this month by Liquidbronze, so free pizza will once again be available.

Schedule

  • 6:00pm :: Welcome & Pre-session bar visit.
  • 6:30pm :: How to do things in Git by Tekin Suleyman
  • 6:50pm :: Break
  • 7:00pm :: How to do things in Darcs by Ashley Moran
  • 7:30pm :: Free pizza sponsored by Liquidbronze
  • 8:30pm :: Drinks at the BBC bar afterwards, then somewhere else nearby after that closes at about 21:00.

If you want more information email nwrug@willj.net, call Will on 07939 547 962 or tweet @will_j.

Sign Up

If you would like to attend this event please sign up here.. as the BBC need a list of attendees before the event and I really need to know the numbers so I can order the right amount of food and drink. There’s an Upcoming event page but please use the form above. This month I shall be publicly coating people with squeezy cheesy peas who turn up without signing up. You have been warned.

Location

This meeting is being held at one of our regular venues, the BBC Manchester main building on Oxford Road in central Manchester (Directions). If you get lost call Will on 07939 547 962.

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NWRUG Code Surgery and an introduction to Zsh – Tonight

the June NWRUG is tonight. There will be a code surgery and introduction to Zsh. Plus free pizza!

Email me or leave a comment to sign up.

Blocking Internet Explorer 5.5

IE 5.5 is dead. The number of people using it are tiny, at least according to the stats on the most popular sites I run. Here are the numbers.

Jokes-o-matic

Has a larger proportion of Firefox users than Internet Explorer users due to the high level of traffic from some social bookmarking sites, meaning a more web-savvy crowd who are more likely to be using alternative browsers:

jokes-o-matic.com browser breakdown

jokes-o-matic.com browser breakdown

The level of IE usage is still pretty high though, but even so only a single hit from IE 5.5 recently:

jokes-o-matic.com IE versions

jokes-o-matic.com IE versions

Recycling Group Finder

A much more broad and ‘average’ user base with Internet Explorer dominant:

Recycling Group Finder browser breakdown

Recycling Group Finder browser breakdown

Still, only 6 Internet Explorer hits recently, a tiny proportion of overall visits:

Recycling Group Finder IE versions

Recycling Group Finder IE versions

What does this mean?

Yahoo.com as seen in Internet Explorer 5.5

Yahoo.com as seen in Internet Explorer 5.5

These statistics, and others I have seen suggest that almost no-one uses Internet Explorer 5.5 or below any more. The small minority that do must be used to the internet breaking in unique and interesting ways due to the lack of support for more recent developments in CSS and really bad Javascript support (see right for yahoo.com as seen in Internet Explorer 5.5). I predict that a fair number of sites just don’t work in any usable way on anything less than Internet Explorer 6.

Time is money

Designing for multiple browsers takes time. The more browsers you need to support the more time you need to spend supporting them.

A recent project I worked on required a redesign of the site from the ground-up (aswell as a bunch of other stuff) and making the site work in any version of Internet Explorer lower than 6 just wasn’t worth the time, and therefore money, put into it. The return just wasn’t there and I decided that IE 5.5 was gone, dead, obsolete and I wasn’t going to try and mangle the design to work in it. Rather than just display a really crappy looking site to the user I decided I would let them know via a short and to-the-point message that their browser was not up to displaying the site and directing them to upgrade to a new version of their browser.

Give them the good news

IE 5.5 advice message

Message displayed to all users visiting project in anything below IE 6

But how to do this? The site was developed in Ruby on Rails and I’d heard of a neat gem called rack-noie6 that provides a piece of Rack middleware that blocks Internet Explorer 6 and below, but that isn’t going to work in most cases. Hard as it may be to make your site look good in Internet Explorer 6 you can see from the stats above there’s still a large proportion of users using it and to turn them away would be crazy, at least while the pool of IE 6 users out there is still so large.

So a quick fork and patch later (github we <3 you so much) and the new noie6 was accepting an option for a minimum version of Internet Explorer it should accept instead of just rigidly blocking version 6 and below. Configuration is really simple:

Now any users visiting the site in anything below Internet Explorer 6 gets the message above helpfully directing them to update their browser. Not bad for a two line config update.

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NWRUG 19th March – Search in your Rails app – writeup

The March meeting went really well, nearly 20 people turned up and much pizza was consumed. People seemed to enjoy the talks and the new BBC venue was great too, so success all round!

I have the slides up from my talk on sphinx and John has the slides from his Ferret talk up too. I will put Asa’s slides up when he sends sends me them/a link!

Next meeting

The next meeting is on the on the 16th April and is titled “BDD, you know you should be doing it”:

So, you’re testing your code right? Of course you are! But are you testing your code as well as it can be tested? This month Ashley Moran, Testing Maven, will be giving a talk and practical session on Behavior Driven Development and how it should be done right.

Hope to see you there!

Next NWRUG meeting – 16th April – BDD, you know you should be doing it

So, you’re testing your code right? Of course you are! But are you testing your code as well as it can be tested? This month Ashley Moran, Testing Maven, will be giving a talk and practical session on Behavior Driven Development and how it should be done right.

We’re starting 30 minutes earlier this month due to the practical nature of the session.

This month we have sponsorship from Engine Yard so there will be free Pizza (and maybe Beer and soft drinks, depending on the numbers) during the talks.

Schedule

• 6:00pm :: Welcome & Pre-session bar visit
• 6:30pm :: BDD, why you should be doing it and how. Pizzas provided by Engine Yard will be served during the session
• 8:30pm :: Drinks at the BBC bar afterwards, then somewhere else nearby after that closes at about 21:00.

If you want more information email nwrug at willj.net or call Will on 07939 547 962

Sign Up

If you would like to attend this event please email me (nwrug at willj.net) as the BBC need a list of attendees before the event and I really need to know the numbers so I can order the right amount of food and drink. This month I shall be publicly coating people with blancmange who turn up without emailing me. You have been warned.

Location

This meeting is being held at one of our regular venues, the BBC Manchester main building on Oxford Road in central Manchester. If you get lost call Will on 07939 547 962.

You can find the exact same information on the NWRUG site in a more bookmark-able form.

Announcement: NWRUG March 2009 – Search in your App

The next NWRUG is tomorrow evening, 18:30 at the BBC in Manchester. Email me if you want to attend (details on the NWRUG page).

Rewriting URL params in nginx

I came across this problem recently, a customer was moving to Ruby on Rails from another framework/language (.NET I think) and needed to re-write a bunch of URLs. Some needed the query parameters rewriting too. One example was rewriting the old search path, so the old URL:

http://somedomain.com/OldSearchPath.aspx?qry=things&page=4

would become:

http://somedomain.com/search?query=things&page=4

This should be fairly simple except for the qry parameter needed to be changed to query. A bit of googling didn’t turn up much but with some experimentation I came up with this using the pre-populated nginx $args variable:

location /OldSearchPath.aspx {
  if ($args ~* qry=(.+)) {
    set $args query=$1;
  }
}
rewrite ^.+$ /search redirect;

It even leaves the other parameters intact, so the pagination will still work.

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NWRUG February 2009 – Nanite talk

For the first time in quite a while we had a talk at NWRUG, it seemed to go well and the free Pizzas and Beer provided by Engine Yard were very popular. About 12 people turned up. I was the only speaker and did a 45 minute talk on Nanite with a brief introduction to cloud-computing as that’s the environment I see Nanite being most useful.

Thanks to everyone who turned up and Engine Yard for the sponsorship. I promised a blog post with links to some of the resources from the talk, and here it is!

Useful links from the talk

Nanite (of course)

Kestrel (a starling replacement)

Delayed Job

Warren (A wrapper around AMQP from brightbox)

Engine Yard Solo

As I mentioned in the talk you can probably get away with using third-party APIs and calling it ‘cloud-computing’, this set of slides is really interesting:

Web Hooks and the Programmable World of Tomorrow

Lastly the slides on SlideShare, though they don’t make as much sense as they do with the talk & my notes.

*update*

Pastie: control rabbitMQ using Nanite, controlling god using Nanite.

Next Month

More talks! Asa Calow has agreed to do a talk on Solr and I rather foolishley agreed to do another talk on Sphinx.

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