Archive for May, 2009

Running Subversion Through Ant

// May 28th, 2009 // No Comments » // Dev

Ant has a somewhat limited built-in Subversion task.  An alternative if you need more power (and I can’t quite remember why I did, but I did) is Subclipse’s ant task – but setting it up isn’t so obvious, especially if you don’t use Subclipse as your main Subversion plugin.

The Ant task provides a Java wrapper around two different ways to access Subversion: either a command line ‘svn’ command, or the JavaHL DLL.  Initially I opted for the former (using this Windows client) which appeared to work passably well, but generated reams of logging that slowed commits to a crawl; the Ant task didn’t allow you to pass additional command line parameters on to the command, so there wasn’t much that could be done about it.

An obscure bug, probably something to do with a slightly corrupted Subversion project in our repository, finally led me to reassess today, and after an afternoon of fun I scrapped the Windows client and went after the DLL.

To get it (and for some reason it took me a while to think of this), download the latest ‘update site’ zip for the latest Subclipse Eclipse plugin (currently 1.6.2), open it and pull out the four jar files with names starting org.tigris.subversion.clientadapter.  Note: don’t be distracted by the Update URL, which is the conventional way to actually install the plugin.

Drop these four jars in some suitable lib folder, and make sure they are added to Ant’s runtime classpath – in Eclipse, you do it from the Window > Preferences dialogue under Ant > Runtime:

Eclipse Ant dialogue

You can add them to the Ant Home or Global sections, it works either way.

Our entire automated tagging system now runs vastly quicker without the logging, and so far has been bug free even where the Windows client was balking about some off metadata thing (which is the only thing it didn’t adequately log, so no easy way to fix it). Excellent.

Skype 4 Window Resize Is Feature Not Bug, Allegedly

// May 27th, 2009 // No Comments » // Usability

I’ve been using the latest update to the Skype Windows client for a while now, and in general I think it’s a very nicely evolutionary improvement to the UI – I’m very glad to be rid of the 20-30 chat windows I used to have scatterred around the place.

There is one ‘feature’ that annoyed me though – you could resize the window, but a chat would always be 410px wide – something easier to demonstrate with a picture and some super-professional captioning in red:

Skype chat resize bug

Suddenly our team‘s development productivity dropped – after upgrading Skype, you could no longer meaningfully drop a stacktrace into a chat and get any feedback that wasn’t along the lines of “that’s a mess, I have no idea what you’re sending me”.  Lots of people I know had got seriously frustrated about this.

After a quick chat with the Skype support team (based in Hungary, if anyone’s curious – unlike the dev team who are in Estonia, and sponsoring our latest MoMo Estonia meeting) I discovered that this is in fact a feature designed in.  If you want to enlarge the text you can, but only by dragging the left or right side of the text field at the bottom of the window wider – logical, in a way, but completely unintuitive as I know a lot of technical users who got annoyed but did not work this out.

I can’t quite say why Skype felt the best default for the app would be to create lots of dead space, rather than just reflow the text as the window was resized as it used to, but I’d strongly recommend them to reconsider that choice in future!  In the meantime, the best workaround is to maximise your Skype window and drag the text field out to full width – the chat will now resize when the window does.

Welcome to MoMos Jo’burg, Malmö, Oulu and Edinburgh!

// May 25th, 2009 // No Comments » // Mobile

Four new Mobile Monday chapters have been added to the global family over the last few months, in Jo’burg, Malmö, Oulu and Edinburgh.

I created a map some time back for our MoMo Estonia chapter site as the easiest way to keep up-to-date with the rapid growth of MoMo (other chapters – feel free to embed it on your web sites).  With the new chapters added – including the northernmost (Oulu) and the first in Africa (Jo’burg) – it’s now looking very funky:

View MoMo Chapters in a larger map

At some point I need to write some Javascript that can pull the KML location feed out of the map and generate nice little chapter lists, which some chapters have statically embedded on their sites right now (a nightmare to keep up-to-date, hence the map…)