Slingshot goes public

Joyent’s Slingshot technology for creating offline-capable Rails applications has gone public. They’re even doing a competition to celebrate: The best ports of various open source Rails applications can win a 1-year big Accelerator ($1250 value). Now there’s a project you can hack on the plane to Portland in a few weeks ;).

Capistrano 2.0 Preview 1

Capistrano 2.0 Preview 1 is now available for installing and testing:

gem install -s capistrano

(It’ll show up as version 1.99.0; the 1.99.x series will be used as the preview releases for 2.0)

For those of you late to the party, Capistrano is a utility for executing remote commands in parallel on multiple remote servers. It is ideal for system administration, and for deploying web applications.

Note, though, that this release is not entirely backwards compatible with Capistrano 1.x, so you may need to massage your recipes a little to make them work smoothly under the new version. In order to make the upgrade process as smooth as possible, I’ve begun compiling a few documents to point out new features, gotchas, and upgrade paths:

Like Capistrano 2.0, the new website is still a bit rough in spots, and will see more documentation appearing over the next few weeks. If you have any feedback for either Capistrano 2.0 or the website, please join us on the Capistrano mailing list and make your voice heard!

RailsConf Keynotes and Fourth Track

We’re putting the finishing touches on the RailsConf 2007 schedule this week. Given the huge number of high quality proposals (well over 3 times the number from last year), we’re working on putting together a fourth track.

We have also finalized an exciting lineup of keynote speakers for the conference. I was frankly a bit worried about the keynote lineup as we started initial planning of RailsConf 2007. Last year’s keynotes were going to be hard to live up to. My fears were ill-founded. We ended up with a program to be really excited about.

Tim Bray, Sun, Co-creator of XML and Atom

Avi Bryant, Creator of Seaside and DabbleDB

Ze Frank, Comedic Digital Savant

David Heinemeier Hansson, 37 Signals, Creator of Ruby on Rails

Dave Thomas, The Pragmatic Programmers

The RailsConf program promises to be thought-provoking, trend-starting, entertaining, tone-setting, and, most of all, fun.

See you in May!

Javascriptian REST

Eric Mill went ahead and created Jester, a library that lets you manipulate your Rails-style resources with javascript models. I think it’s great that we’re seeing implementations in other languages. This python port of Routes implements map.resources, can a python port of ActiveResource be far behind?

Rails 1.2.3: Compatible with Ruby 1.8.6 (and other fixes)

While Rails Edge continues to move forward at a rapid clip, we’ve still had the time to make sure that Rails 1.2.x stays in the game. This release irons out the few wrinkles there was between Ruby 1.8.6 and Rails 1.2.2. So now you can enjoy the latest Ruby with the latest Rails.

Besides the 1.8.6 compatibility, we’ve included a few minor fixes. Nothing major. This should be a drop-in replacement for Rails 1.2.2.

As always, you can upgrade with gems or use the latest svn tag (rel_1-2-3). Enjoy!

Plugin loading internals have changed, for the better!

Until now, the task of locating and loading plugins into your app was handled by a handful of private methods on the
Rails::Initializer. These methods were fairly large, coarse grained, and as a result hard to hook into without resorting
to fragile cut and paste if you wanted to customize how your plugins are loaded.

New in Edge Rails, changeset 6277 replaces this smattering of methods with two new internal classes, Rails::Plugin::Locater and Rails::Plugin::Loader. If you need to hook into how plugins are loaded, you can define a subclass of Rails::Plugin::Loader, then register your custom class to be the class that handles plugin loading using the new plugin_loader configuration option in your config/environement.rb: do |config|
    # Config settings...
    config.plugin_loader = PluginLoaderWithDependencies

This should make extensions on top of the plugin system, such as the Plugems approach developed by the team over at Revolution Health, far easier to implement and maintain.

To those monkey patching the plugin loading subsystem in Rails, this introduces substantial changes to the way that plugins are located and loaded. In the short term this might mean that your customizations to the internals will very likely break, but the good news is that in the long term the new implementation will be far easier to customize.

For those adventurous early adopters living on the Rails Edge, please give your apps a test run to ensure these changes
don’t break anything for you. As always, bug reports and patches are welcome:

Computerworld names Rails #1 tech to know

Computerworld is pinning Rails as the #1 technology to know in 2007. As the only piece of software among group of hardware including NAND drives and new CPUs. About Rails they write:

Equal parts design philosophy and development environment, Rails offers developers a few key code-level advantages when constructing database-backed Web applications. One of the central tenets emphasizes using less code for application development by avoiding redundancy and following Rails conventions. This means increased performance and, ideally, decreased development times.

Capistrano 1.4.1

Here it is, another Capistrano release, and less than a month since the last one! Miracles truly never cease.

Capistrano, for those embarrassingly late to the party, is a utility for executing commands in parallel on multiple remote servers. It is useful for lots of things, including automating deployment of Rails applications.

Version 1.4.1, available just as soon as the mirrors get updated, is a pretty minor update, but has one new feature:

  • You can now pass :env to ‘run’ (and friends), in order to specify environment variables that should be set for that command. For example:
run “some_batch_thang.rb”, :env => { “DEBUG” => “1” }

There is also one deprecation: if you are using UPPERCASE variables in your Capistrano recipes, you’ll being seeing warnings now. Support for variables that start with uppercase letters will be removed altogether in Capistrano 2.0. If you want uppercase identifiers, you should use Ruby constants.

The two fixes in this release:

  • Actor#get will not close the SFTP channel when it finishes. This makes it possible to do multiple SFTP gets and puts in a single session.
  • The subversion adapter now passes the “no-auth-cache” option, so that if you configure an explicit subversion username for deployment other than your dev username, those deployment auth tokens won’t clobber your development tokens.

So, go get it, “gem install capistrano.” Or download it directly from RubyForge. And at the risk of promising too much, too early: I expect this to be the last 1.x release of Capistrano, barring any critical problems that may arise with 1.4.1. Come on, cap2!