Bugzilla, YUI, and other things.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Life In Tucson

So since the Phoenix lander touched down, I know I'll be spending some time here for a while.

What does this mean for MAS, mostly that I'll be juggling bug fixes with supporting the tool. The good news is when I'm not supporting the mission I should have plenty of time for Bugs and less likelihood of getting distracted.

The past few days have been was amazing and I'm glad I have been involved in this project for the past 3 years.

The fun part is I get to have 2 laptops, my normal mac and a windows machine. What this means is I got to experience the joy of installing bugzilla and bzr on a windows machine. It was as fun as a root canal!

But it works and because of that I was able to knock out a bunch of bugs. I've also done some cool stuff with YUI that I need to post, specifically animating the scroll bar of the whole window! It looks like there are some bugs in IE so I'm gonna fix that, publish it and then yank it out. Because our designers don't like it. But it was still fun to write an extension to the YUI animation class and I think it would be very educational for anyone who wants to write their own.

I've also had a few other wrestling matches with YUI, in the end I'm not sure who won, but YUI did was it was supposed to and it made my life easier, so maybe we both won.

Long story short...

YAY the Phoenix has Landed! YAY YUI ROXORS!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bugs, in code and in life

So MAS (formerly known as PRACA) is now in bug fixing mode, which ironically I have learned to love. Unlike feature development, which requires lots of time thinking hard about how to get a design to work within the constraints of browsers, usually just Firefox, and also with good performance it takes a lot of thought. Which while very fun, after many months of it, along with the even more complex design work that I do, my brain gets kinda tired. So when bugs come around it is pretty straight forward. Firefox has Firebug, IE has a few tools that are no where near as nice as Firebug, but much like tea leaves, you can learn to read them, sorta. So I have learned to enjoy the straightforwardness of bug fixing. Something is broken, I fix it! Granted experience has taught me how to fix these bugs, so I never really get confused by them... except for when pure HTML crashes IE, that I like less. But I digress... the point is bug fixing is usually a pretty mild task, that just requires me to work through the possibilities, mark a bug as fixed and then move on to the next one. Unlike features which might take me between 8 and 16 hours of work, a bug takes between 8 and 16 minutes, it's the difference between playing some crazy RPG for a week vs a game of Wii Tennis, both are fun, but you need to change it up.

Now bugs in life on the other hand are MUCH less fun. The bug I am referring to is the loss of my cell phone. A total bummer. I've tried to fix it by calling caltrain and hopefully my lost phone will be found. But this experience has taught me some interesting work arounds for life sans cell phone, mostly how to use IM as a text messaging service, because I don't use my cell phone for much more than that 90% of the time, but it defiantly feels like life without my voice. Sure I can function, I've got IM and I can write stuff down, but talking was so nice! But the good part is, this could be my excuse to get an iPhone, or maybe one of those neato gPhones. Talk about turning a big lemon into lemonade.

Finally, something that is just super duper cool and I must share... The Nintendo Coffee Table. For someone who is ready to buy a Wii just so he can play Zelda, Mario Bros, Mario 3, and Tecmo Bowl again, this is a dream.

Friday, May 09, 2008

How Much YUI is too much? PRACA says "No Such Thing!"

So since most of the world doesn't get to use PRACA aka MAS (Mission Assurance Systems) you don't get to see how cool version 2.0 will be. But I assure you it is. What is so cool? Well first it uses almost every part of YUI. In fact I'll list it for you and how we use it!

  • Animation : very sparsely because it can get hoaky, but it is still fun to use!
  • AutoComplete: We use it for our User Select areas, as will Bugzilla once it gets back to them.
  • Browser History Manger: We use it to let uses bookmark tabs as well as groups, it's a very cool utility and is great for any site that wants to makes javascript tabs bookmark-able, which is pretty sweet.
  • Calendar: We use Bugzilla's Custom Date field
  • Connection Manger: We use it all over to connect to various instances of MAS
  • Cookie: This is a SUPER nice utility, I especially like subcookies. We use it to store lots of our cookie info such as our nice record save improvements.
  • Container: We use it as tooltips, help text, resizable panels, the saved searches area... well all over!
  • Data Source: We use it in combination with the Data Table
  • Data Table: We use this for letting users select bugs and groups that they want to link to, yeah MAS has bugs that are so big, they have internal linking!!
  • DOM: I'm not sure how anyone can avoid using this great little utility.
  • Drag & Drop: We use it for reordering groups
  • Event: Um... duh, this is just great, and I love it!
  • JSON: the latest edition we use it to talk with our spell checker, yeah our IE users don't have spell checkers built into their browsers.
So as you can see we've got a lot, and loading all of this YUI stuff isn't free, it takes about 200ms, but totally worth it. If you all in the Bugzilla community have any questions let me know, but overall I'm very happy with YUI and I recommend it to anyone who wants a nice library with lots of useful widgets and utilities in it. That isn't to say JQuery or Prototype aren't great, but YUI has a lot of nice stuff that focuses on adding widgets and utilities to JavaScript instead of adding core functionality to the language itself.

My Podcasts

I LOVE my nano and podcasts! I listen to them walking to the train, waiting for the train, on the train, on the shuttle, at work, at home... well basically everywhere! So I thought I'd share my list with the web and maybe the web would share some good podcasts with me! So without further adieu here is my list of podcasts in the order that i prefer to listen to them to.
These are the ones that I listen to the most, sometimes I listen to others, but not really. So I guess this proves I'm a wacky liberal in SF, but oh well. I find most of these podcasts informative and humorous. Hopefully you do too.

Just to note, I used to listen to "This Week In Tech" aka TWIT, however, at some point I realized these guys sounded more like me and my friends hanging around the bar and less like an insightful and well researched show. And while I have many friends who love this and other shows like it (think Diggnation). Once you live in Silicon Valley, it's just a different set of people talking shop, and it isn't as fun anymore, that being said, if you don't live here I'm sure it is a ton of fun to listen to.