Category: Open Source

WindyCityGo Mobile Conference

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend WindyCityGo in Chicago, IL with a few hundred fellow mobile developers. The two primary sponsors of the event were Groupon and ThoughtWorks who both have a strong presence within the city. A couple of my takeaways from the event were..

  • Boyd’s Law of Iteration: speed of iteration beats quality of iteration.
  • Mobile analytics tools like Flurry are a great way to learn about your audience.. however they are under scrutiny from apple because of how they can potentially track new iPhone models before they’ve been announced.
  • Consider doing low tech prototypes of your app first by taking pictures of interface sketches and then flipping through them to get a feel for how your app will behave.
  • In some cases you can simply give your images a css width attribute of 100% to make them more responsive to mobile screen dimensions.
  • The LLVM compiler and LLDB come with XCode4, however you can’t use LLDB on iOS projects yet.

Best of all, I was able to contribute on an open source project that allows for real time chat between an iPhone app and a Ruby on Rails website. Go check out the Groupon Chat project up on GitHub.

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Output a list of git committers

By using the git log command formatted and piped to sort -u (unique) you can pretty easily get a listing of who has ever contributed to a project which is under git source control.

git log --pretty=format:"%an" | sort -u

Using this you’ll get an output that resembles something like this.

Barry Sanders
Grant Hill
Joe Smith

As you can see, it sorts by the full name string which may not be ideal but I think that it does the job well enough for now.

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Welcome To CodeMash 2011

This year marked the fifth year of the CodeMash open source developer conference. I now know why it only took a matter of hours for this one to completely sell out.  During the three days in Sandusky, OH I attended quite a variety of sessions on topics that I wouldn’t normally spend time on such as Ruby, VIM and F#. It was great to find the atmosphere being upbeat and open minded as well. To top it all off on Thursday evening the waterpark was open for just us conference attendees to enjoy.  It was well worth the time and effort of driving through the blizzard of snowfall that arrived in Detroit just prior to leaving on Tuesday afternoon. Good times!

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Google Chrome Browser Thoughts


For years we have been accustomed to the tabbed browser interface and how helpful this is to manage your browsing sessions. This trend in software has been so successful that its hard to imagine a browser without these tabs. There is no doubt that while viewing a large collection the potential it has to start tying up your computers resources and may not entirely give them back when you’ve closed the tab either. Another concern is that when one tab has a problem processing a request, your browser will likely crash and take all of your other tabs with it if you’re not careful!

Its almost been a week now since Google’s new Chrome browser has been released to the public and from what I’ve been seeing, the response has been overwhelmingly good. While its too soon to tell how much adoption the new browser will have especially to your average web user, if this past week is any indication of this then we may have one serious contender on our hands.

The idea behind the new browser was Google’s acknowledgment of how much time we spend online conducting our daily business, whether it be online banking or sending email. Sites are being developed now that are capable of performing much more complex tasks than we would have ever imagined 15 years ago when web browser were first introduced. This realization has given way to finding a better browser architecture capable of dealing with the high demands of sites such as online word processors, airfare booking, maps and many other types rich internet applications.

So I guess the more important question is should you be using Chrome in its current development state? Do you like to jump in feet first and test the waters with a whole new experience? Are you not concerned with bugs, incompatibilities or worse.. potential security holes? Then by all means, this is your browser. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t trying to imply that there is anything wrong with treading new ground and pushing new technology. For myself though, I’ll be mostly using Chrome as a fun new toy to experiment with rather than migrating over entirely. What I’m really interested in seeing is what will come out of the open source community that is actively working on the browsers core which I believe in time that we will see great things come out of the chromium project which powers Chrome. While there is no certainty that Google Chrome itself will come out on top when its all said and done, but there is no denying that it will be known as the browser that was at the forefront of a new undertaking in how we think about today’s web applications.

Pros:
Introduces a new way of thinking about how browsers work
Innovate way of handling complex websites with V8 JavaScript rendering engine (complied)
The UI is simplistic (the browser should be transparent)
Everything is open source!

Cons:
Google is a company that is best known for it’s services NOT it’s software.
The UI is simplistic (I miss having my firefox plugins at my disposal)
As if web developers need one more browser to test on
Too early to tell its adoption rate

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