Archive for category projects

meta tag management in Ruby on Rails

One of the things you have to deal with when creating a rails app that faces “the public” is that you have to deal with meta data. Traditionally this would come down to a title, some keywords and a description. Currently meta tags are used for much more as both Open Graph and Twitter are using it to determine what to do when that link is shared. Making your site more SEO and social network friendly is not that straight forward as it used to be.

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concept: employer company filter

French-Press-Coffee-MakerLast week I was presented with an interesting challenge. I’ve been looking around a bit for companies and I would like to work for. Talking to a recruiter who had no idea how to slim down his list of clients he just passed me the list. The list contained a little over 250 company name. A lot for me to read through!

As a developer I tend to be picky in the companies I would be interested in and even more picky in the ones I will talk to. So I knew that out of those 250 company names by definition at least 50% were useless to me, and probably even 75%. I tend not to be the type of person that will only say yes to A, B and C. I’m more of a person that will say I’m not going to go for D, E and F. For me personally it comes down to this;

  1. I’m not doing agencies, I already have my own.
  2. I will not work for corporations working on a product that has been out for decades.
  3. I prefer start-ups but will also consider any other start-up type of construction. (Note my definition of start-up is very narrow compared to the sense that it’s being used today!)
  4. I look for projects that try and make a dent in the world. Things that try to disrupt or try and add a new dimension to society.

So because I’m a developer I made some code for that!

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The gentle geek, London

So, It’s been a while since I posted something. With good reason, it was a big transition time for me. I left my work at Smallrivers in Lausanne, Switzerland. Had a house guest for my last weekend in Lausanne and after that moved my thing over to the Netherlands to figure out what I would be doing the next. So what to do next? Well a friend was working as a CTO on a project and they wanted me to help them out. So at Exvo and Tolq I spend a couple of weeks working with them. At the same time one of my investments came back to me and asked if I wanted to join in. Michiel Roukens (the Owner of OWNR) was desperately looking for a technical guy to help him out. Thus I became CTO for OWNR as a side project. At the same time moving to London for Quipper, So we’re back in sync with the current time. Well … at least sort of …

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The glocal universal media library

We have IMDB, we have Last.fm, we have Wikipedia and thousands of other database websites with information about media items. Currently we search for information on books, music and video via search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Searching through website that hold all the information is done very well. But the raw results are not always satisfying enough.

Are we looking for a website like last.fm when we are looking to buy an album? I know Google’s shopping filter would be an option for that. But what about lyrics, videos, publishers, local shops and all other kind of data one could be interested in. Last.fm provides a lot of data but with an agenda. Not always ambiguous, focused on music alone and not very singular.

Libraries do have this kind of structure and ambiguity. What they are missing most of the time is completeness of data and the simple fact that it is only data from one library. Can we create a more universal database focused on providing single records of data that contain everything one would ever want to know about it?

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.openFoundry top-level concepts

For the .openFoundry organization we are trying to come up with a good model for the members to attach their projects to. Going from the idea of local groups of people coming together all the way to providing a resources, communication and organization platform. From initial ideas was in the spirit of just come together and have some fun with technology it has to grow into a statement that will the basis off all our top level activities.

How do you create such a statement? long talks, heated discussions, concessions and finally Consensus!

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jQuery plugin: titleControl update 0.2

This week I made some updates to the titleControl jQuery plugin I release in Alpha last week. I bumped the version to 0.2 and declared it a valid beta.

updates made:

  • refactoring the basic code
  • changed licence to GNU GPL v3
  • updated project progress in the milestones on the plugin page
  • created SVN repo on google code
  • added test page to repo

Current version is 0.2.0-beta and I have no plan to do any direct update on it in the upcoming month unless anyone needs an update. If you require any updates you can request it on the jQuery plugin page.

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jQuery plugin: titleControl

Last week I found myself a UX problem that I wanted to solve in a centralized way. It was the controlling of the tittle attribute on links and buttons. A browser renders a small box on the placed on the location of the mouse pointer and renders the title attribute content inside of that box. Although this is a browser standard in my application I needed something better. I needed better control over positioning of the text-box and better control over appearance time and effect. A side-effect of this was that I also had control over the styling of that text-box.

My solution for the problem was a new lightweight jQuery plugin!

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jQuery plugin: tagEditor

This month I’ve been working on an existing jQuery plugin called tagEditor. It is a plugin that turns an ordinary text input field into a dynamic tag tokenizer. The idea is that it can be used as a tag input or edit form control. It interacts a lot like the tag editor used here in WordPress or other popular tools that use tags. Tags are separated by a separator (most commonly an enter or ,) and then transformed into a list where the tag can be removed by clicking on it. It is usable together with an auto-complete (the jQuery UI auto-complete works well) to create the perfect user experience.

Together with the plugin’s original creator Karl-Johan Sjögren version 1.4 has been developed and released. More details can be found on the jQuery plugin page and on the demo page by Karl-Johan.

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Dynamic coloring with Sass

When building a web-application you’ll need to do some sort of styling to get it looking a kind of decent. To enhance your web app you would probably like to do some more advanced styling with lots of css, images and other stuff… But what if you needed a styling system that dynamically changes the colors of your style?

I’ve designed and implemented an application that uses Sass to created dynamically colored styling for such a system!

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CBAC: The Rails Barrier

cbac-logo-480.png picture by yopefonic

Today I created the ALPHA stying for CBAC (Context Based Access Control). CBAC is a security gem for Ruby on Rails and adds an extra abstraction layer to the well known RBAC (Role Based Access Control). With CBAC you can add context based security to your Rails app in just a few simple steps. I’m proud to be the first to blog about this new security system for rails!

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