Ruby Weekly News 27th March - 2nd April 2006


T

Tim Sutherland

http://www.rubyweeklynews.org/20060402.html

Ruby Weekly News 27th March - 2nd April 2006
============================================

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.

[ Contribute to the next newsletter ]

Articles and Announcements
==========================

* Italy on Rails - First Europe Ruby on Rails Conference
--------------------------------------------------------

Nathaniel Brown announced the first Ruby on Rails Conference in
Europe. It will be held in Rome in late 2006, and run by Open Source
Path.

* Article: An Exercise in Metaprogramming with Ruby
---------------------------------------------------

Hal Fulton wrote an article in February called An Exercise in
Metaprogramming with Ruby, but neglected to post a link to it on
ruby-talk.

| My editor said it "didn't do that well" in terms of page views. And
| I said, well, I should have posted it to ruby-talk. And she said: Do
| that now, and we'll see what effect it has.
|
| So there you have it. No bots or artificial inflation, please. ;)

The article was well received by the group.
http://www.devsource.com/article2/0,1895,1928561,00.asp

* Brazilian Portuguese Ruby Book
--------------------------------

Eustaquio Rangel de Oliveira J announced his Brazilian Portuguese Ruby
book, to be released on April 5.

The book was added to the RubyGarden RubyBookList page.

| Com um texto orientado para quem já programa em alguma outra
| linguagem, este livro apresenta exemplos claros que podem ser
| facilmente assimilados, servindo de guia para o conhecimento e
| aprendizado da linguagem Ruby.

* Ruby and RoR Book Roundup
---------------------------

Rob Sanheim, "a big bookworm", put together a list of Ruby books
coming up in 2006.

User Group News
===============

* The San Diego Ruby Users Group lives!
---------------------------------------

Daniel Amelang claimed that the San Diego Ruby Users Group lives!
"After some false starts, we've decided to do this thing for real now.
Calling all San Diego Rubyists!"

* Ruby Social Club - 1st April Milan Meeting
--------------------------------------------

Chiaro Scuro: "The Ruby Social Club is getting up to speed and
spreading fast. After the first two meetings in Rome we are going to
meet up in Milan on the evening of saturday the first of April."

* April Meeting of the Phoenix Ruby Users Group
-----------------------------------------------

James Britt announced that the Phoenix Ruby Users Group will be
meeting on April 10, and will likely discuss new features in Rails
1.1, and old features in Ruby's built-in unit testing library. "And
I'm sure we'll make stuff up as we go."

Quote of the Week
=================

* Blixy Tee Bus Stop
--------------------

So I was wearing my chunky bacon Blixy Tee

http://www.cafepress.com/blixytees.10116504

at the School bus stop the other day, and my
son (5yrs) gets up on his tip toes and starts
trying to read foxspeak: "Chunky?... bacon?
Chunky Bacon... Come on, seriously... Chunky.
Bacon. Chunky Bacon. [repeated ad nauseam]"

Pretty soon all the kids were chanting.

It was fun.

Thanks Why,

Bil Kleb

Threads
=======

ruby-dev summary 28274-28600
----------------------------

Furuhashi Apuri summarised the Japanese mailing list ruby-dev, which had
ideas around regexp named captures, __method__ to hold the name of the
currently executing method, and a proposal for multi-method support.

The latter would allow you to write

class Bar
def foo(String x)
"a string"
end

def foo(Integer x)
"an integer"
end
end

b = Bar.new
b.foo("hello") # -> "a string"
b.foo(5) # -> "an integer"

The String or Integer or ... is just anything that has an === method.
"Matz said he agrees and this can be committed to 1.9 if it is fast
implementation."

Ruby Goes to the Sun
--------------------

April Fools' jokes. Hansson's getting the band back together. Mmmbop.

Testing DiGraph (#73)
---------------------

Robert Feldt posted this week's Ruby Quiz.

"In this week's Ruby Quiz you will not only have fun and (hopefully) learn
something; you will also contribute to a research project evaluating
automated testing techniques. So please read on and then take the quiz!"

"The goal of this quiz is to write a good and extensive test suite for a
Ruby DiGraph (directed graph) class."

WIN32OLE#[] and WIN32OLE#[]= method in Ruby 1.9 (or later)
----------------------------------------------------------

Win32OLE author Masaki Suketa said he was considering changing the
behaviour of WIN32OLE#[] and WIN32OLE#[]= "in Ruby 1.9 or later."

"I have not commited the change yet. Before commiting it, I want
suggestions or opinions from Win32OLE users."

Currently, [] and []= map to method calls, so that excel.visible = true
and excel['visible'] = true are equivalent. The change is to make them act
on properties, so you can write code like worksheet.cells[1,2] = 10.

Dave Burt:
| Excellent! This makes a lot more sense than the existing function of []
| and []=.
|
| When I first used WIN32OLE, I was surprised that you couldn't use [] to
| access index operations.

Rails 1.1
---------

In a thread noting the release of Rails 1.1, Jim Weirich commented "The
CVS head of rubygems will do incremental downloads of the index file. We
are working out the details of testing this on a large site like
RubyForge."

This will greatly improve the speed of the "Updating Gem source index"
action when installing or upgrading gems.

Ruby Black Belt
---------------

Dmitry Buzdin posted a draft Ruby exam, having decided to create a Ruby
equivalent of JavaBlackBelt.com.

"What we need is a feedback of experienced Ruby enthusiasts (means You)."

James Edward Gray II posted a list of errors in the draft exam, while
Justin Collins asked what the purpose of the exam was, given that
previously "most people expressed a strong dislike for anything resembling
Ruby `certification'."

Dmitry: "What we are talking here about is a bit different, than
traditional certification. The main purpose is learning. You pass the exam
and see that You don't know some answers."

Listrecv: "One of the problems I'd have with a certification of this sort
is that it focuses only on the least important aspects of the language -
syntax, nomenclature, conventions, etc."

Peter Szinek mentioned The Python Challenge - a set of programming riddles
where you must apply some Python programming techniques to advance to the
next level.

| I came to know a LOT of non-programmers through python challange - i
| have been mailing on a (nearly) dayly basis with an US (non programmer)
| girl (i think se was a lawyer) up to the 18th or something level. When
| she begun she did nothing about programming at all, after 1 week he has
| been posting about regexps, after 2 weeks about bzip2 from python, after
| 3 weeks cookies and HTTP, well you get the idea... She was really
| enthusiastic to learn this stuff (which is IMHO not typical for a non
| technical person) just to see the next screen... And she was not the
| only one...

This made Bill Kelly think of _why's Try Ruby! web-based interactive
interpreter. It has an on-line tutorial where you type code into your web
browser and see what happens.

Pistos Christou: "I tentatively agree with the others about official
certification, but this idea of some sort of online interface that covers
all (or many) of the features, tools, libs, etc. of Ruby in an
interactive, educational fashion sounds appealing."

Ruby Quiz was mentioned several times as a resource for improving your
Ruby skills.

Calling R from Ruby
-------------------

AlexG created a simple bridge between Ruby and R (a statistical package /
language), allowing him to use R libraries from Ruby.

The thread also discussed advantages and disadvantages of using either of
the languages over the other, for example R has a fast matrix library (but
so does Ruby, via NArray), R is "Procedural, with highly limited function
support", but

| Au contraire! R is at heart a functional language with a Lisp ancestry!
| What's different about R (and S) is two different ways of doing objects
| and classes, neither one of which is remotely like a Java or Ruby
| programmer's idea of objects and classes. [M. Edward Borasky]

Going back to the original topic, Thomas said that if you're on Windows
then you can access R through Win32OLE.

Round floats to N decimal places?
---------------------------------

Pat Maddox:

| I'm doing some math that results in floats with ~10 decimal places, but
| I'd like to round them to 2 places. Is there a built in way of doing
| this? Right now I'm doing format("%0.2f", the_float).to_f, which seems
| to work fine but it seems like an ugly way of doing it.

Dave Burt said that the Facets project defines Numeric#round_at(d) and
Numeric#round_to(n) methods for this purpose, and suggested that Ruby's
built-in Numeric#round method be altered to accept an optional parameter
for degrees of rounding.

Karl Brodowsky suggested Pat take a look at the LongDecimal library, which
is "specialized for doing calculations with a defined number of digits
after the decimal point."

B & E (#72)
-----------

Stephen Waits created (last) week's Ruby Quiz - find the least number of
security codes you need to try to break a system where the code passes
whenever the last sequences of key-presses matches the codes, without any
reset between.

Get the size in pixels for a string
-----------------------------------

Stéphane Thibaudeau asked how to get the pixel width and height of a
string rendered with a particular font.

Chris Alfeld:

require 'tk'

f = TkFont.new('Courier 10')
width = f.measure("Hi There!")
height = f.metrics.assoc('linespace')[1]

New Releases
============

JRuby 0.8.3
-----------

Thomas E Enebo said that JRuby 0.8.3 was released. "JRuby is a project to
provide a Java implementation of the Ruby language and interpreter."

jirb now works, using Java classes from Ruby is "dramatically" faster,
several important bugs were fixed and more.

Mongrel Web Server 0.3.12 -- Pre-Release
----------------------------------------

Zed Shaw: "Mongrel is due for a 0.3.12 release which will feature some
pretty insane goodies for everyone. There's talk of IOWA support, lots of
speed improvements (including sendfile support), a great Configurator
which makes configuring Mongrel a snap (especially for framework
implementers), and a ton of debugging stuff."

"DON'T CRY" (it's a pre-release).

"Mongrel now has sponsorship from Eastmedia (http://www.eastmedia.com) in
partnership with Verisign (http://www.verisign.com/) to make Mongrel fast
and stable enough for enterprise class loads (meaning "gigantic", not
"Java style")."

Rake 0.7.1
----------

Jim Weirich put out a new Rake release, fixing a bug on Windows and adding
a few features.

Instant Rails 1.1
-----------------

Curt Hibbs announced Instant Rails 1.1 an update of the "one-stop Rails
runtime solution containing Ruby, Rails, Apache, and MySQL, all
preconfigured and ready to run". Unsurprisingly, this release features
Rails 1.1.

ZenTest 3.1.0
-------------

Ryan Davis exposed ZenTest 3.1.0, with updated versions of zentest,
unit_diff, autotest and multiruby.

RJS, Active Record++, respond_to, integration tests, and 500 other things!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hoho, it's Rails 1.1.

"The biggest upgrade in Rails history has finally arrived. Rails 1.1
boasts more than 500 fixes, tweaks, and features from more than 100
contributors. Most of the updates just make everyday life a little
smoother, a little rounder, and a little more joyful."-David Heinemeier
Hansson.

Ruby-FLTK 0.9.3
 
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M

Mauricio Fernandez

http://www.rubyweeklynews.org/20060402.html

Ruby Weekly News 27th March - 2nd April 2006 [...]
ruby-dev summary 28274-28600
----------------------------

Furuhashi Apuri summarised the Japanese mailing list ruby-dev, which had
ideas around regexp named captures, __method__ to hold the name of the
currently executing method, and a proposal for multi-method support.

The latter would allow you to write [...]
The String or Integer or ... is just anything that has an === method.
"Matz said he agrees and this can be committed to 1.9 if it is fast
implementation."

As I said under that thread, I think this (proposal for multi-method support)
is yet another April 1st joke. I'm subscribed to ruby-dev and the message
referred to in in that summary ([ruby-dev:28533]) doesn't exist: indeed, the
last message is [ruby-dev:28505] as of Wed, 5 Apr 2006 03:30:04 +0900.

Maybe it would be better to clarify that for the record.
 
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T

Tim Sutherland

[...]
As I said under that thread, I think this (proposal for multi-method support)
is yet another April 1st joke. I'm subscribed to ruby-dev and the message
referred to in in that summary ([ruby-dev:28533]) doesn't exist: indeed, the
last message is [ruby-dev:28505] as of Wed, 5 Apr 2006 03:30:04 +0900.

Maybe it would be better to clarify that for the record.

I fell for it, doh! I've updated the site.
 

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