Go, Do, Be.


06/27/2008  — 

Post 1000

I started putting notes onto this blog about 6 months ago. From where I sit: so far, so good. I've found some fun topics to play with. A few posts have even gotten some attention (visits).

Though I enjoy writing these short-attenion-span notes, I certainly haven't published 1000 posts. Here's what's going on:

The greacen zone runs on the netscrap.com publishing system. Netscrap has a few hundred posts already, thus the high numbers.

The fruit blog also runs on this jalopey.

What's the publishing system? If you've been reading, you already know that it's heart and soul is zombie technology. The netcrap.com publishing system is buggy, but it's super- efficient. Check out this month's netscrap.com comscore numbers if you doubt.

Where's this going? No idea. Isn't that exciting? Just like several of the startups I've worked for. At this point I'm considering tossing the publishing platform's core onto google code under the MSL just like I did with bashWebTest.

some thoughts:

  • anyone interested in a platform like this? I suspect not. Correct me.
  • what would a good codename or project name be? "NetScrap" might even work. Or "The NetScrap Platform" or "The NetScrap Thing"
  • anyone have a better way of handling urls with zombie technology? I looked around a little bit, but couldn't find anything useful. I'm familiar with mapping scripts to 404 actions... I may take a stab at this during some lull.
  • Syndication experiments have been fun: thanks for all the facebook clickthroughs. I'll probably work some more involved rss-streaming into this thing.

Thanks for reading!

04/09/2008  — 

bashWebTest Lives!

Well, I did it. I tossed a little pile of code onto google's open source site.

A few years ago I wrote (in my spare time) a little test harness around some simple command-line utilities. I wanted something to help me answer some simple questions about what was going on some large clusters of servers. Rather than clicking through a bunch of nicely formatted pages, I wanted something to make a bunch of http requests and give me a 'yes' or 'no' about the response. The trick (for me) was to try to run it on some server in the cluster which was running a really lean installation of Linux. No frills.

I could have probably compiled a jar & dropped it onto the server... but I couldn't edit & recompile a class on the server. I could probably have run a perl script, (geeze why didn't I just write it in perl?) but I think the WWW-Mechanize module wasn't installed. Who knows... anyway, I ended up stumbling upon curl and decided to write a wrapper around it using simple bash scripts.

Guess what? It worked. It was handy. Guess what? I used it at a few jobs since I wrote it. Guess what? It's still (somewhat) handy. So today (or yesterday) I give something back to the internets and interwebs that haz given me so much. I offer:

Tests are pretty simple. I'll toss a few test examples on this blizzog and onto the wiki on code.goog over the next few weeks. If you have any interest at all in using something klunky, and somewhat functional, please contact me and I'll help you get started.

Code.goog doesn't have a way to select it, but I planned on distributing the source under the 'MSL' license.

Anyway, enjoy!

12/10/2007  — 

Zombie Technology

I use it, I support it. We all should support it.

What is it? It's dead technology, but it's still walking around your house, making a mess.

While I'm not really a Luddite, I think we could all benefit from spending some quality time with something that's past its time. Part of the problem with software (in general) and especially some of the open source doodads is the bloat and excess that a project tends to accumulate.

You already know the bloat:

  • Windows -- no brainer, right? Look at any metric and its clear that the growth is intense. Is the user-experience or utility that much better? You tell me. I heard someone (was it Mitch Kapor?) famously say that he was 'done upgrading windows' in 1999. The prospect of quarterly (monthly? Weekly?) updates was too much. He dedicated the time that he would have spent upgrading to his family or something more rewarding.
  • Java -- sure! Bloat! Even Lew Tucker, one of its creators complains about its puffed-up state. Sure some of the growth is useful, is it contributing to more reliable, usable software? You tell me.
  • Rails -- The original rails package was supposed to be pretty lean. I didn't use it, but the word on the blogs is that the current release has some fat to cut... Watch out for he next one.
  • Php -- Absolutely. This software has the special case of having a gang of loosely people contributing to some of these features. It's inevitable that this will reach the bloat-point of others in this list.

Bloat leads to fear, fear to hatred, hatred to the dark side: abandoning the thing that was once useful. I ran across railo the other day and WOW! They've put together an open-source engine that runs cfml spaghetti, and amazingly enough, I got this site to run on first shot (more easily than most of the megabytes of open source crap I've tried). Still, I'm left with more questions than answers:

  • Is this some kind of technology long-tail play?
  • Why would someone put something like this together?
  • Who would pay for this license?

Which brings me to the REAL point of this post. I'll announce soon the release of two new open-source projects: TestingTesting and bashWebTest. Both are entirely based on zombie technology: Cold Fusion and Bash.

  • TT is a test case management tool mainly aimed at manual testers. It is crude and built entirely with zombie technology.
  • bashwebtest -- well... This is zombie technology. There's a built-in cap to what it'll do.

Ok, so maybe Bash isn't zombie technology after all. But is bash your go-to technology when you need to do some web testing? No? Well maybe this tool is born-zombie.