Last week during a meeting a user at a customer site asked why it wasn't easy to "copy" behavior from one part of an application to another. My answer to this is so general that I thought I would include it here. Here's a link to an explanation of why some changes to application behavior aren't as easy as a user might think.
Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X
(From an email I sent to one of my clients regarding our software project.)
Last week we left the meeting with an open item to have [CUSTOMER_NAME] IT staff work w/ [DEVELOPER_NAME] to understand why some programming changes are easy, and some are not. More specifically, I think the question pertained to times when an application works one way in one part of the application, and then a user would like to see that same behavior in another part of the application. The question was something to the effect of "Why isn't this easy?"
The CSS Zen Garden is a great example of what can be done using style sheet magic. They take the same content, and let you view it in at least eight different designs. Of course, having a good artistic touch doesn't hurt either. :)
Here's a n example Linux shell script (Bourne shell to be specific) that I use to send a list of directories to one of our invoicers. She uses this list as part of a cross-checking process to make sure she bills each one of our customers who have a directory allocated to them. The list is sent to her automatically from a Linux crontab entry I created for her.
Without any further ado, here is the Linux shell script that sends the email. (Note that although I keep writing "Linux mail", this should also work on other Unix systems.)
It's funny in life how you don't hear about something, or know about something, and then it comes up over and over again in unrelated situtations. The "Wonderlic test" is like that for me. I'd never heard it until three recent unrelated conversations.
My obsessive use of LaTeX continues. Here's a link to a sed script I'm creating to convert HTML to LaTeX.
I actually have a reason to do this. During a requirements phase I'm doing a lot of work with HTML prototypes, but the actual specification is being created using LaTeX, and I want to incorporate the HTML prototypes in the LaTeX document. Hence this conversion effort. I know that it can never fully succeed, but I think I'll be pretty happy with 90-95% success here.
The crazy sed script below is my first attempt at a script that will convert as much HTML as possible to LaTeX. For my purposes I'm mostly interested in tables, lists, buttons, and comboboxes, but I included a few other things as well.
This is in an extremely experimental state, and is included here as much for backup purposes and sharing as anything else.
Here's how you run the sed script on an HTML file named test.html:
sed -f html2latex.sed test.html > test.tex
That being said, here's the current source code for the html2latex.sed file:
Here's a link to a cool "Green plant hyperbolic tree demo". Don't give up on it too quick. If you start exploring the tree, especially by following the Moniliformopses path, you'll start to see some very interesting power here. I'm looking for a new menu/navigation paradigm, and a co-worker sent me down this road.
In other news, here's a recent conversation between me and a Support Guy ("SG" for short):
Over the weekend I saw that I'm on Borland's speaking schedule for their annual conference, BorCon 2004. I guess I better get to work on my presentations. :) Actually, I'm ready to go. I'm set to give one talk on Java Performance Tuning and another on Function Point technology. Giddyup.
I haven't frequented it before, but the Java & Internet Glossary at mindprod looks pretty good.
I guess it's pretty serious when the Department of Homeland Security says "Don't use Internet Explorer":
I don't know exactly how I'm supposed to be able to control the text that appears in the titlebar of a Command prompt window in Windows 2000 and Windows XP, but I've figured out something that kind of sort of works. Just follow these steps:
A quick lesson on the karma of getting and accepting bad estimates from developers, and not communicating:
Here are a couple of quick Linux tips I put together. First, a Perl CGI program that prints every environment variable it knows.
Here's a sample Perl CGI program I wrote that prints out all of the environment variables it knows. I've found this program to be very useful when first installing a web server, or when debugging a problem with a web server or new environment.
Perl CGI environment variables - example program
Here's the code:
Linux mkdir question: I'm about to go to work on a new server, and I want to create subdirectories named
lib, and the
docs directory has two subdirectories named
business. How can I create these directories and subdirectories with one command?
Answer: Use the "
-p" option of the Unix/Linux
mkdir command. The answer is shown below:
Below I've included a sample Perl CGI program that I use to edit some files on my web sites. I've modified the file a little bit for the purposes of this example, but it's essentially what I use.
Very Important: This program by itself is not secure in any way. It does not require a user login, etc. At the very least you will want to secure access to this program with an Apache htaccess configuration, or something similar on other Perl CGI web servers. This program is shown here for demonstration purposes only.
Did you ever need to take one file on a Linux or Unix system and copy it to a whole bunch of other directories? I had this problem recently when I changed some of the header files on this website. I had a file named
header.html, and I needed to copy it to a bunch of subdirectories.
Using Unix, Linux, or Cygwin this turns out to be really easy. I used the Linux
find command, in combination with the
cp command. Once I figured out the right syntax, I was able to copy the file to nearly 500 directories in just a few seconds.