If I don’t write about iOS editors every few months, then it’s harder for me to justify continuing to mess around with them… The thing that’s changed my editor use in the last couple of months is iaWriter Mac and iOS adding iCloud support, even more deeply integrated than Apple’s own applications. iaWriter is the first writing program I use to move to the iCloud future (though there are some games and other programs that also sync via iCloud already).
The problem with sitting on these daily link posts is that the links go out of date. Sigh. Here are some links. Twitter I found a couple of things about this InfoQ article about Twitter’s infrastructure odd. I was expecting it to be a bit more of a Rails hit-piece, frankly, so it was nice to see a quote like this one from Evan Weaver: I wouldn’t say that Rails has served as poorly in any way, it’s just that we outgrew it very quickly.
So, back in the summer when I started my bizarre quest to edit my book on the iPad, I had three requirements. Be able to read the book files from Dropbox Support for editing HTML/XML files, syntax coloring, extra keys, something like that. TextExpander integration to make it easier to type the markup tags. It quickly became clear that I was the only person in the world looking for this exact set of features.
The latest in my unending attempt to find the perfect iPad text editor is iA Writer – it’s been just over a month since I last wrote about this. iA Writer’s “hook”, as it were, is an entire manifesto about usability for writers. Writer’s goal is to let the writer focus as much as possible on your text. Toward that end, Writer has two features that are unique compared to the other iPad editors that I have reviewed, mostly Elements and Droptext.
Book Status RSpec chapter edits complete, a dozen or so errata squashed, and hopefully we’ll get beta 7 out. I suspect it’ll be after Labor Day, though. I’m pleased with how this one turned out. The RSpec chapter is a challenge – I’m literally squeezing a book’s worth of content into a chapter, but I think it covers the major points clearly. Since I haven’t posted it in a while, you can buy the book here and on Amazon.
I have something like eight different apps on my iPad which are text editors or note takers of one form or another. Plus I know of at least one more that I’m waiting for. It’s possible I have a problem. I really want to be able to use my iPad as a writing tool – the best apps are super responsive, and I like the ergonomics of using it with the Bluetooth keyboard.
Status Not much to tell, really. Spent some time getting RVM set up, since I think I’ll need it to manage simultaneously building the Rails 2 and Rails 3. Now I have a working version of the startup appendix that uses Rails 3 and Devise. I can’t speak to using Devise in practice yet, but the immediate goal of making the setup less complicated was definitely accomplished. The big question now is how much to support Rails 2 in the walk-through chapters.
Update Beta 4 of Rails Test Prescriptions is now available, with two new chapters, one on Rcov and coverage in general, and one on writing better tests. Buy here. While I’m in the self-promoting mode, the book is also available for pre-order at Amazon and other exciting locations. More Promotion And while I’m here, I should mention that Obtiva has updated their training schedule. Obtiva offers a 4-day Boot Camp for learning Rails and TDD that will next be offered August 2nd through 5th.
With my laptop still on the disabled list, I’ve been using the iPad as my primary machine all week. Some thoughts: Overall, it’s been largely non-disruptive, for two reasons. One is that I borrowed a bluetooth keyboard for the duration, and the second is that I’m not in a position at the moment where I need to code on my laptop, since my work site has developer stations. They keyboard changes the iPad experience quite a bit, really turning it into a nice writing station.
No links post this morning, maybe later today. Meantime, enjoy me blathering abouta a couple of substitutions in my iPad dock: Position: RSS Reader Incoming: Reeder Outgoing: NewsRack An easy call. NewsRack is nice, but Reeder is: Smoking fast. Without a limit on downloaded articles per feed Much more accurate on sync – NewsRack has problems if you go back and forth and old, unread articles pile up and never get marked unread.
iPad Note I keep wanting to write about the iPad, but so, so many other people are writing about it that I’m not sure I have anything to add. More or less at random, I really liked the brief rant Joe Posnanski added in the middle of an otherwise-unrelated blog post, and Charles Stross’ typically complete take. Right now, I just would add that I still use it more than I thought, that the form factor makes more of a difference than I expected (being able to easily walk to show the screen).
Top Story JRuby 1.5 is out. Highlights include improved Rails 3 support, better support for Windows, better FFI support, better startup time (yay!) and a lot of other tweaks and fixes. Book Update Still Cucumbering, hope to finish today. The book is still on sale, of course. And I’d still love to see more comments in the forum. I’ll be talking at Chicago Ruby on June 1, exact topic TBD (let me know if you have a preference), but I’m leaning toward talking about how to avoid test problems and write good, robust tests.
Top Story / Book Update Beta 2 of Rails Test Prescriptions is out. The biggest addition is the chapters on integration testing and Webrat/Capybara. Beta 3 will be coming next week and will include all or most of the Cucumber chapter. Please do post to the forum, there’s not any discussion there, and I’m interested to hear any questions or comments you might have. Other People’s Books A lot of book links today.
Top Story MacRuby 0.6 is out. Big new features include a debugger, a new interface to Cocoa’s Grand Central Dispatch, and a rewrite of the internals of basic Ruby classes. In a related story, the early text of Matt Aimonetti’s MacRuby book from O’Reilly is available for free online. Nice job all around. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but I use MacRuby and its ability to manipulate AppleScriptable programs to power my crazy-obsessive iTunes random playlist generator, so speed improvements are hoped for.
Top Story For me, the top story is still Rails Test Prescriptions on sale, and my discussion yesterday of the raffle for the old Lulu customers. Book Status Now re-doing the Cucumber chapter, which was written long enough ago that it didn’t consider tags. Cucumber has had approximately seventy-million releases in the interim, so there’s some writing to do. This is the first chapter where I’m adding Rails 3 setup instructions, which will eventually go everywhere in the book, of course.
Top Story/Book Status This is the week – Rails Test Prescriptions should go on beta sale on Wednesday. In a related story, railsrx.com now points to here, railsprescriptions.com also will shortly. I’ll be adding some basic about information and static pages here. At some point, I’ll probably bring over any blog content from the previous site that still seems relevant. I’m not sure if the original free version of Rails Test prescriptions will still be available (it’s becoming out of date, and there will be free samples available at Pragmatic), but I will make it available if anybody is still interested.
Top Story As part of the Chirp conference, Twitter and the Library of Congress jointly announced that the Library will be storing Twitter’s entire public archive. I’m sure your expecting an easy joke about how many sandwiches the LoC now knows about in their archive, or about how scholarly papers about the archive will be limited to 140 characters. (Or, for a more academic joke, limited to 140 authors…) All that aside, though, I think archiving and making all this available is pretty neat.
Top Story iPads. Lots of them popping up in and around work. Probably some more coherent impressions coming later. Wait, once again, Twitter has a big announcement after I start writing this. This time, they are going to start placing ads in the Twitter stream in various ways to be announced today. My quick reactions: a) I long suspected this day was coming, b) if the ads in clients are any guide, they aren’t particularly burdensome, c) implementation details will decide how irritating this is.
iPad, iPad, iPad. Five Random Thoughts Given that Apple’s business model for most of the past 30 years has been not to compete on feature lists, but rather to pare down features in the name of user experience, that a tech analyst would at least pause before proclaiming the iPad to be a failure because it doesn’t have feature X. I don’t think the iWork stuff got enough attention.