Noel Rappin Writes Here


June 30, 2010: The Triumphant Return of the Monster Link Post

Cucumber, Don Norman, Rails 3, Ruby, Shoulda, Steve Martin, UXD, iPhone, rvm, writingNoel RappinComment

The end of the repair story

At the end, a very positive experience with Apple support. The repair was free, done when they said it would be done, and all told, I spent less than fifteen minutes in the store between both halves of the visit. Plus, they replaced the top part of my pre-unibody MacBook, which was worn down and discolored from my gunky hands, almost as though they didn't want an ugly Mac in the field.

Book Status

With the laptop back, I'm back to work, last night going back over the Style chapter. I think now the plan is to do a slightly smaller next beta that would get out next week, just the Coverage and Style chapters, with the next batch, probably the Legacy and redo of the startup example coming shortly on its heels.

Also, the book has somewhat quietly shown up on Amazon and, I presume, other online outlets.

Of course, the beta is still available at PragProg.


Many, many links, as I catch up on an entire week's worth.

Thoughtbot announces that factory_girl is now split into a separate Rails 3 gem, in much the same way that Cucumber and RSpec are.

Also in Thoughtbot-land, the should_change command has been deprecated from Shoulda.

Jeremy McAnnaly announces the 2010 Ruby Hoedown, after some rescheduling due to the Nashville flooding. Again, it's the low, low, price of free. I'm hoping to break my 0-for-2010 streak on conference proposals with my submission.

Everyday Rails has a good post about getting Rails 3 and RVM working together.

I haven't watched this video yet, but a little Don Norman is a good thing, right? (via Joel Spolsky)

Test Inline is a Ruby library from Eric Anderson to put tests in the Ruby source file. Eric freely admits that this is an experiment, which is good because my experience with this kind of tool (Python doctests) is that it gets messy pretty quickly.

Ever think that Lemmings would make a great iPhone game? Me too. Also, the people who have the rights to the code. Coming soon.

I love Steve Martin. He's posted the rider for his tours. A sample: "BUFFET ... Six-packs of any canned beverage for Steve to compare his abs to."

I've been waiting for this: Lifehacker posts some Handbrake presets for iPad and iPhone 4. Seem decent, but a bigger file size than what I had been doing.

Please don't do this. It's a bad idea and will make your code harder for other Ruby developers to maintain.

Two from David Chelimsky: Having a topic branch when contributing to git projects, and a change in how views are handled in controller tests in RSpec 2.

I really need to watch this presentation from RailsConf on Beautiful Markup by John Athayde.

Speaking of RailsConf, here's a retrospective from John Trupiano of the BohConf "unconference" that happened alongside.

Dan Ingalls was one of the people behind Smalltalk 80, here's an interview with him.

Over at Teach Me To Code, a screencast about setting up a Rails project and writing the first Cucumber feature.

Still in Cucumber, Michael Orr shows how you can use an instance variable to track objects in a Cucumber test. I do this a lot, myself, although I'm not completely convinced that you get a cleaner test suite at the end.

Rands has a great post about his writing process. I love that everybody does this a little differently, although calling what I do a "process" is probably a little much.

Paolo Perrota, author of Metaprogramming Ruby, has a nice note about how great the Ruby community is.

UxMyths seems like a useful site to browse.

Speaking about great writing, I loved, loved the opening of this article by Adam Keys about why he always comes back to TextMate. Also some good comments. I hadn't thought of the issue exactly this way, but it makes perfect sense.

The Time of Day gem lets you treat ActiveRecord time columns without their date information for certain kinds of comparisons.


I think I mentioned that I did a talk at Refresh Chicago last week. It was fun, but we think turnout was down due to the tornado warning over Chicago that night -- it's possible the sirens acted as a deterrent. Well, video of that is not up, but here's a video of the storm that night, featuring lightning striking three Chicago skyscrapers at the same time.

May 11, 2010: Beta 2 Is Out

ActiveRecord, Cory Doctorow, HTML5, NoSql, RailsRx, Seaside, UXD, iPadNoel RappinComment

Top Story / Book Update

Beta 2 of Rails Test Prescriptions is out. The biggest addition is the chapters on integration testing and Webrat/Capybara. Beta 3 will be coming next week and will include all or most of the Cucumber chapter.

Please do post to the forum, there's not any discussion there, and I'm interested to hear any questions or comments you might have.

Other People's Books

A lot of book links today.

SF writer Charles Stross has been writing some brilliant stuff about publishing, including making a great deal of sense about ebooks. One big takeaway, in case you haven't noticed, just because they are digital, doesn't mean the price of books is going to drop dramatically.

Speaking of ebooks. Cory Doctorow's new book, For The Win, is out today. Say what you will about Cory, he's become a fantastic novelist, and he walks the walk. For The Win is available for free download on Cory's site.

And, hey, speaking of ebooks, Lulu announced that they will allow their books to be published to the Apple iBooks store, which is great, because the iBooks store could use the stuff on the shelves.

Twitteriffic developer Craig Hockenberry asked for some books for people to get started with programming, specifically for people hoping to get started in on the iPhone.

And Then

This page is based on a stack overflow question for new programming jargon. You may recognize your team here...

Here's one Rails developer who has moved to the Smalltalk Seaside framework, and why. Seaside was commonly mentioned in the Rails community a year or so ago, but I haven't heard much about it since.

Mathias Meyer says that ActiveRecord callbacks ruined his life.

And, NoSql is apparently here to stay. If only we could get rid of the name.

This looks like a good reference to possible XSS attack vectors in HTML 5.


Jakob Nielsen has come out with the first serious user testing of iPad apps. The executive summary is basically that individual apps are inconsistent, and that is frustrating. Also, many content apps are too wedded to a print mentality. This research seems to have largely been based on content-heavy apps and websites, so I'm not sure it generalizes to, say, Omnigraffle, but it's worth looking at.