Monthly Archive for April, 2010

Why I like Prototype?

Lately I have read articles which were comparing, bashing and dissecting multiple Javascript libraries (or framework, but I wouldn’t go that far with their definition). And as each of those articles took a side for their favorite and disregarding the others. I as well would like to show my appreciation to my favorite Javascript library Prototype, and this without bashing the other ones.

So what do I like about Prototype?
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sed & awk

sed & awk (2nd Edition) by Dale Dougherty and Arnorld Robbins is one of those books that deserves it’s special place on the bookshelf of any developer, system administrator or Unix enthusiast.

Initially I have bought the book to enrich my knowledge on text/stream/input parsing and reporting, a field where before I have used Perl or other scripting languages to accomplish the task. The main reason I decided to make the switch is because in most cases I have to accomplish a specific parsing/reporting task just one time, where using Perl would have been an overhead.

Aside from the main topics of the books, I did find very useful the special chapter dedicated to regular expressions. Prior to reading the book I used only PCRE and always had a bad time when grep was not compiled with support for them. But not anymore, because as I said the book has an entire chapter on them describing the POSIX regular expression and the extended regular expression set.

As the rest of the book goes, it is easy to read and follow diminishing the time I needed to assimilate the content of it to two days.

Of course in those two days I have neglected the last chapter where the full potential of awk is unleashed, because to be frank I don’t think I’ll be in the situation to do such applications in these languages.

Altogether a great book, well written, with succinct examples that will kick-start your way of parsing text from the point you read it onward.

A thing or two about Postfix log analysis

In the last couple of days I had to work on a parser for our email server which uses Postfix; and while it was my first time when I had anything to do with Postfix logs there are a couple of things I’d like to share to the ones that are starting just now with them.

As with often encountered log parsing necessities, the requirements for my task where so distinctive that I couldn’t use any of the Postfix logfile analysis tools it has to offer.

If you are reading this article because you need to parse Postfix log files (and most certainly that is the case), than I would highly recommend to analyze the provided list of tools before moving forward. While parsing logs is not a trivial task, it does take some time before getting it right.
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Search Patterns: Design for Discovery

Last month I have bought the book Search Patterns: Design for Discovery by Peter Morville and Jeffrey Callender and today I’m here to share some words about it.

The book does not have any insight on how to build search boxes, implement searches or what technology to use; instead it helps you discover how, why and where people search. It is a book that is both inspirational and eye opener. The book goes through the most common problems users bump into when searching, filtering, navigating and ways these problems can be solved, or are solved currently to a level of degree.

The examples in the book are based on real world examples, and while they show good practices (and in most cases Amazon is presented as the most serious UX provider) by various websites and mobile applications, in a follow up edition (if any) I think Thunderbird 3 would merit it’s place in there, given the way the developers have improved it’s searching interface.

Bottom line: it is a book I would recommend to anybody who uses the internet.

The patterns, diagrams and the first chapter as well can be found the books official website.

Do comunities kill good developers?

Recently I have been asked to join a local community of developers, which I refused. The moment I did that they instinctively, as with any other occasion that you refuse someone, asked me for a reason. While I hadn’t had any obligation to answer their question, I quickly replied Communities are bad! throwing them in a swirl of confusion.
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