Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cool Medialets Micro-App

My good friend Paul Barry and I have been helping our friends at Medialets out with a neat little Rails micro-app that culls iPhone App Store data from Apple's endless array of plists, and makes a chart, a dynamically-generated Gruff graph, and a bunch of RSS feeds.  

My favorite thing about this app is the New Apps RSS feed which lets me keep up with the newest time-wasters/productivity enhancers for the iPhone.  Let me take this opportunity to say that the world does not need any more iPhone tip calculators or fortune-telling games.

I wrote a bit more about the latest features over at the Medialets blog

Friday, July 18, 2008

My iPhone app screens

I got stuck for 90 minutes at the dentist office, so I decided to organize all my iPhone apps. First screen (left) is essentials, stuff I use every day. Second screen (right) is references and tools.

Third screen is "communications and entertainment". Fourth screen is the graveyard, for things I don't use regularly or can't get rid of.
I can think of worse ways to kill 90 minutes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Contributing to Rails is easier than you think

Rails_2At OtherInbox we love open source and are looking for ways to share some of our labors with the community. Today I came across a great opportunity to contribute something to Ruby-on-Rails core development. I'm posting it here so everyone can see how easy it is to contribute.

I was building a JSON API to enable some new awesome features we're working on. Following the JSON request specification, I had the client setting its MIME type to "application/jsonrequest". But this was not causing Rails to recognize the request as JSON and thus the request body was not properly parsed. After doing some digging, I realized that Rails only looks for MIME type "application/json".

Fortunately, MIME type processing is implemented really humanely in Rails, so I whipped up a little patch that adds "application/jsonrequest" as a synonym for the JSON MIME type. First I wrote a test to prove that this was a problem. Once I had a failing test, I added the MIME type, and got my test passing. I followed the git patch instructions on lighthouse, then jumped into IRC #rails-contrib to garner support for it.

I happened to see that Rick Olson, the author of the existing JSON parsing code, was in the chat, so I pinged him with the lighthouse ticket. He tested it and applied it, and now our one line of code is a part of Rails!

Hopefully this will save some future JSON implementer a bit of pain.

Cross-posted from the OtherInbox blog