August 2009 Archives

EVE-Online + jQuery = WIN!

Let’s just get this out in the open: I play EVE Online. Yes, the game where Yahtzee, of Zero Punctuation fame, said that the players are what nerds are to nerds what nerds are to normal people (*cough*me*cough*).

And someone in the game gave me an idea.

See, there are a couple of online stock market (simulators, essentially) for EVE but, frankly, they’re not so great.

Now, I must confess, I have done hardly any front-end web development work for about, oh, nine years. Seriously, everyone wants me to be the back-end dev. Go figure. So I saw this as a great opportunity to play with the latest front-end toys.

Enter jQuery.

I’ve dabbled with jQuery for a bit over a year now but, until a few weeks ago, never set about writing anything particularly useful with it (one could argue that I still have yet to by virtue of writing a stock market for a game but I digress…).

jQuery’s AJAX and DOM manipulation facilities are just awesome.

Then, add to that, the jQuery-UI. The dialog widget alone is heaven sent (ok, I’m a Humanist but you take my meaning). But the tabs and accordion widgets? jQuery-UI made rolling my own desktop-ish app so much easier than I imagined it would be

And then there are the plugins.

Along the way, I also used:

  • Flot: A powerful client side graph rendering plugin. Really, folks, try this one.
  • Tablesorter: turns your boring everyday HTML table into a shiny new click-on-my-columns-hey-I’m-sortable table in one line of JavaScript (or a little more if you need custom sorting)
  • EasyNews: Useful for rendering a div where HTML content is swapped out periodically for other HTML content. While very cool, the documentation is a bit of a PITA. I spent several hours bending EasyNews to my will.

While Prototype still apparently has some adherents (although none of them were at JSConf 2008 when I was there), I just find jQuery’s wrap-any-DOM-object approach to make so much more sense to me than the Prototype way of doing things. Mind you, I was never a Prototype expert–but nor was I ever inspired to learn all that more about it from what I saw.

At the end of my hackery, I had EVE-Trade.

Which, by Yahtzee’s standards, probably means that I’m so nerdy that I make most EVE Online players look like David Hasselhoff.

Continue Reading…

Posted by admin on Aug 11, 2009

Conferences, conferences, conferences

For whatever reason, my schedule always gets crazy in the Fall.

Later this month, I’m giving a presentation on “TDD: More than just testing” at the Lonestar Ruby Conference in Austin, TX. This particular presentation will have very little in common with my presentation of the same name at Scotland on Rails as I will be (attempting to) live code during most of the talk. I did this at DC ALT.NET successfully barring numerous technical mishaps involving the lack of a MiniDisplayPort plug for my laptop. The audience was definitely far more involved when I was live coding versus when I was just a talking head.

In September, Ruby DCamp is back once again! This time, it’s outdoors at Bull Run Park in Centerville, VA with real honest-to-goodness camping–and totally free (if you get a registration code from me which anyone with a legitimate interest in Ruby can with just a request).

Then, in October, I hope to be attending the Simple Design and Testing Conference in Pittsburgh. SD&T is another Open Space event except far more abstract than the Ruby conferences that I attend. I expect that it will draw a different crowd of intelligent folks, making for some different but powerful inspiration.

Posted by evan on Aug 11, 2009