Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon


Using Globally Unique Id's in Ruby on Rails


I'm starting to play with Ruby on Rails a bit, and liking it so far. Over the past year I have been so preoccupied with work on ongoing projects that I really haven't had the time to experiment with RoR. I'll write more about why I finally got off the mark and tried it out later. Short story is I like to so far.

For years now I have moved away from using incrementing integers as id's in my database designs. I have been using string based globally unique id's. I really don't want to leave these behind, plus I'm looking at interoperating with some databases that use them already. So, I had to find a solution. It took a bit of Google'ing, but I think I've found a solution.

OS X Leopard: First Impressions and Installation Solutions

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I picked up my copy of Leopard on Friday evening and dove into an upgrade on my Mac Pro on Saturday. Things didn't go as smoothly as I would have hoped. I fell prey to two issues that long time users of OS X are most susceptible to.

  1. My current account started out on OS X 10.1, and has been migrated from a G4, to a G5, to my Mac Pro. Accounts that are this old need to have their authentication credentials reset, or they don't work. [Solution]
  2. For some reason I had Application Enhancer installed on my machine, which caused the Leopard Blue Screen of Death/Love.[Solution]

ApacheCon Training Session: Using Groovy with Struts 2

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On Tuesday, November 13 I will be presenting a training session at ApacheCon 2007 in Atlanta, GA, Using Groovy with Struts 2. Learn how to use Groovy with Struts 2. Topics covered will include: Integrating Groovy into the Struts 2 Maven archetype; implementing actions, and service beans in Groovy; using Spring to wire Groovy service beans and action classes; using dynamic Groovy actions that do not require a server restart; writing Data Access Objects in Groovy and using Spring based transaction support with Java Persistence API (JPA).

Quadran Update

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We're in the final push to getting our first release of Quadran out the door. We' implemented a lot of functionality over the past two weeks. The data model has grown and morphed as time has gone on. We look to have a running system up within two weeks.

As I mentioned in another post we're starting to use Scrum to manage our software projects. The transition with Quadran has been interesting. Quadran is a fork lift replacement of an existing system that runs our client's complete operation. About the only thing that isn't in Quadran is invoicing and receivables. This makes the conversion to Scrum a little hard, because we're so close to finishing the first release. And we can't deploy the new system until it does everything else the old system does. (The old system took five man years to develop in the bad old days of EJB 1.1.)

Getting Into Scrum

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At Vita Rara we're beginning to use Scrum to manage our software projects. Our first pure Scrum project is going to be a SaaS Scrum tool. Stay tuned for more on that as we make progress.

We're currently starting to use Scrum to manage our Quadran project. We have identified a client to act as our model customer, and have explained the Scrum process to them and they have bought in.

Groovy Works 0.1 Release

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Groovy Works has been the benefactor of a lot of development this past week. With upgrades for better class caching, better utilization of the GroovyClassLoader, and integration with Groovy-1.1-beta-3-SNAPSHOT and Spring 2.

Google Code Project and SVN Access

I have moved Groovy Works to Google Code. To get the latest release please see the download section on Google.

Quick Start Directions

  • Download the current release from Google Code.
  • Unzip it in a directory: tar xfzv groovyworks-0.1.tar_.gz
  • Change directory to the groovyworks-core directory: cd groovyworks-core
  • Install the Groovy Works artifact with Maven: mvn install
  • Change directory to the sample application: cd ../example-app
  • Run the application with the Jetty plugin: mvn jetty:run
  • Point your browser at http://localhost:8080/groovyworks/

To use the plugin in your Struts projects you'll need to remove the standard Struts Spring plugin. Groovy Works provides all of the functionality of the existing Spring plugin.

Where's the Tilde ~


So, I'm sitting here learning some DHTML and Javascript using my Mac and personal web sharing. I want to look at the page. My URL has a tilde in it. That's the way to access personal sites using Apache, and it's the way OS X comes configured stock. So, I hit the number key to get to the ~ and IT'S NOT THERE! Huh? It's a legal character, and it's the method used by Apple themselves.

Apple where's my tilde?

iPhone: Day Four


It's amazing. I don't know that there is much more to say. In true Apple fashion, it works.


My activation went totally smoothly. Sylva's took a bit longer than mine did. Overall it is a much better experience than I have ever had getting a cell phone.


I've been cruising the web looking for apps. There are some out there but they are a bit thin on the ground so to speak.


It is good and I'm getting better at it. The main thing is I'm better with my right hand than I am with my left. Also the closeness of some commonly used letters such as the i & o, a & s, and some others has me wondering if a Dvorak layout might be better.

iPhone: Day Three Thoughts


I've had an iPhone for three days now. I'm absolutely thoroughly impressed. Apple has done an amazing job with the iPhone.

My wife, Sylva, and I went to the Apple Store on Friday evening. We stayed away from the lines early in the day. My brother went to the store right around 6PM and the place was a mad house. There was a long line. He called us later around 8PM and said the line was gone.

So, we headed out. I wasn't intending to buy it right there and then. Problem was it worked as advertised. The touch interface works, the browser works (more about that later), the email program works... in usual Apple fashion it works. Are there some issues. Yes, there are, more on those in a later post.

The More I Use Struts 2 the More I Like It


It's a quiet Saturday and I'm working. Yea, I know some people would scoff at that, but lately my office and business life during the week are so hectic I can't get into that "place" where development just flows.

Well, today I'm the only one in the office and I'm getting development done. I'm tackling a very tricky screen in Quadran, and Struts 2 is making it a joy. The more I use Struts 2 I realize that a lot of development and thought has gone into solving real web developer needs. When I think of some new feature I'd like in Struts 2 I frequently find that it's already there.

I've started using the "method" property on submit buttons. I know I'm late to the party. This is just so neat. I used to use hidden properties and switches to get to the right logic. Now, just set method on the <s:submit> tag, and voila! I'm in the right place in my action.

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