Ruby Weekly News 19th - 25th February 2007


Tim Sutherland

Links are at

Ruby Weekly News 19th - 25th February 2007

Ruby Weekly News is a summary of the week's activity on the ruby-talk
mailing list / the comp.lang.ruby newsgroup / Ruby forum, brought to you
by Tim Sutherland (email (e-mail address removed)).

[Whew, September 2006 - February 2007 sure was a long week ;-) ]

Articles and Announcements

* Registration Now Open For Gotham Ruby Conference

Gregory Brown announced that registration has opened for GoRuCo, "a
one-day, single-track event in New York City dedicated to everything
Ruby" on April 21st, 2007. Tickets cost US$100.

He also reminded us that that there isn't much time left to submit
presentation proposals.

* last call for the MountainWest Ruby Conf

The 2007 MountainWest RubyConf is coming up on March 16th and 17th. It
will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has "a great line up of
speakers, including the JRuby team, Ara T Howard, and a keynote by
Chad Fowler", writes Pat Eyler.

Microsoft are supplying an Xbox 360 bundle as a door prize, and a
"huge pile of books" will also be given away.

* Ruby blogging contest

Pat Eyler warns that time is running out to submit blog entries on
"How has Ruby stretched or blown your mind" for the January On
Ruby/Apress blogging contest.

"The winner gets three Apress books of his or her choice."

User Group News

* nyc.rb does video

"Last Tuesday was the third anniversary of nyc.rb and the first with
video", reports Trotter Cashion.

Congratulations on the milestone!



Ze Maria wondered how to use digital certificates with

Mike Wernsing posted the details, showing the useful options to set, e.g.

Emil Marceta noted an extra step that must be done to validate the peer
certificate, rather than just checking that it's signed by the Certificate
Authority (CA).

Ruby and R?

This thread discussed integrating Ruby with R, a programming language
designed for statistical computing.

Ara. T. Howard posted a link to the RubyWithRLang page on the SciRuby
wiki. This page documents usage of the RSRuby library, which embeds R
within Ruby, "allowing R methods to be called and data passed between the
Ruby script and the R interpreter".

Adopt-a-newbie? Based on actual experience.

SonOfLilit described his experiences with a Ruby nuby who felt more
comfortable sending him questions directly, rather than posting to the
whole list.
All of this has brought me to think of an Adopt-a-newbie model. Somehow,
every newbie that wants would get an email address of a volunteer from
ruby-talk, with whom he can correspond personally and who will answer
his basic questions and serve to also encourage him to keep learning.

What do others think?

Samantha (the programmer who prompted SonOfLilit's idea) was the first to
As a newbie, I think that would be awesome. I've emailed off-list with
two people so far, and the help has been tremendous. I think that it's
an awesome idea. Personally, I don't like putting stuff out there and
possibly sounding like a moron ;) so, I get shy asking specific
questions when I know that so many people are out there on the list.
It's a bit intimidating.

Logan Capaldo said it sounded interesting, but success would depend on the
adoptee, as well as the adopter. "I would not want to end up being the
fount of knowledge and turn into a crutch for the adopted person."

Han Dao surmised "I guess mentors have the responsibility of being patient
and newbies have the responsibility of being eager to learn."

"I understand that some newbies are afraid on posting even on the
friendliest ML of the world ruby-talk IMHO," said Robert Dober, so he
volunteered to post other people's "stupid questions" to the list as a
proxy, so no-one knows who the question was from.

Several people suggested shy newbies could post on the mailing list of
their local Ruby user group, if they're uncomfortable posting to a larger

ruby equivalent for property or config.xml ?

Gilbert Rebhan asked what the normal way is of storing configuration data
in Ruby programs.

Farrel Lifson said YAML files are a good way to go, and Alex Young noted
that Ruby source files can be a nice way of representing configuration

module Config
DATABASE = {:adapter => 'foo' ...}
FROBNICATOR = :fozzbangle
LOCATION = :coozbain


David Vallner wants to automate interaction with a bunch of "laborious and
unhelpful" web applications at his work.

What's the best way to do this?

"My criteria are being able to handle the fact most of these apps are
clickfests of ASP / ASP.NET provenience, and the HTML source code could
probably scare small children, so I'd like to have the toolkit handle most
of the textmunging."

Xavier Noria recommended Watir (usually used for testing web applications)
because "it is the easy and more robust way to do screen-scrapping,
because it delegates all the parsing, JavaScript, etc. to a real browser".

Peter Szinek put forward a new library he's written called "scRUBYt",
which combines Mechanize and Hpricot.

Lightweight way to create jpeg files?

Mike Nelson wondered if there's an easy, "lightweight" way to create JPEG
files from Ruby, without using RMagick (which "seems like it's loaded with

A.S. Bradbury said that PNG sounded like a better image format for his
situation, and suggested using the pure-Ruby png library ("gem install
png"), written by the seattle.rb user group.

New Releases

One-Click Ruby Installer 1.8.5-24 released

Curt Hibbs released the latested One-Click Ruby Installer for Windows,
upgrading the SciTE editor to version 1.72.

Bash completion for the gem command

Michael Schuerig created a file that enables command-completion for "gem"
in the bash shell.

Facets 1.8

A new major version of Facets - "a large collection of core extension
methods and module additions for the Ruby programming language" - was

Trans: "As always thanks to everyone who has contributed, both directly
and indirectly."

More releases

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