Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jing for screencasts

So if a picture (of your desktop) is worth a thousand words, what's a screencast worth ?

I'll tell you what it's worth ... to a web developer struggling to communicate with a quality assurance engineer, it's ten or so e-mails, a hundred lines of instant messages and a couple of VOIP sessions.

Enter the Jing Project.

Jing is a free desktop application that allows you to create a screen shot or video of your desktop or a portion of your desktop. Dave was the one who recommended it a couple of years back and it's really been helpful as a tool to communicate with QA and even with clients.

So what do I like about Jing ....
  • It's relatively easy and straightforward to use. No complex settings and options.
  • You can capture your entire desktop or just a portion of your desktop
  • The option to easily upload to or to an FTP server
  • Captures sound as well so you can narrate and talk while creating your screencast
My only qualm about Jing is that there is no Linux version but I believe it's in the pipeline. Download Jing from

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Git Tip : svn cleanup for git

With subversion, I execute "svn cleanup" on a working copy to make sure that my working copy is clean.

On git, the command seems to be :

git checkout -f master

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beginning adventures with Xen

I've been a fan of virtualiztion since VMware gave away VMware Server for free. I've upgraded the host OS on my desktop twice and I have been able to remain productive as all my work resides on a separate disk and in virtual machines.

However, since VMware Server 2.0 was released, I've been actively looking for alternatives. Coincidentally, our hosting provider will be implementing Xen soon for LAMP deployments and I thought this to be the perfect excuse to at least install and try it out.

Well, so far I'm stuck because I can't boot to X windows on the Xen Kernel because I'm using nvidia drivers. I'm sure there is a solution already somewhere but I'm going to stop for now and leave it as something to look forward to solving over the coming weekend ;-)

Build your own distro with Suse Studio

Countless are the times when I had wished that there was a linux distribution with exactly the stuff I need and none of the bloat. With the Alpha release of Suse Studio, that wish is about to be fulfilled.

Suse Studio allows you to customize OpenSUSE with just the software you need thru an easy to use web interface. The end result can be an ISO, Disk, VMware or Xen image.


Monday, January 12, 2009

ExtJS Tip : Select the first row when grid is loaded

Let's say that you have a grid called "mygrid" and you would like the first row of that grid to be selected when the grid data is loaded. The following snippet of code should work ...

Ext.getCmp('mygrid').store.on('load', function(){
var grid = Ext.getCmp('mygrid');
grid.fireEvent('rowclick', grid, 0)
}, this, {
single: true

More Watir ....

A few blog posts ago I narrated how I installed Ruby and Watir on Windows and posted my first test script.

Getting started is usually the hardest part of the learning experience. The reason being that you don't know where or how to get started. Luckily there is a plethora of resources and lots of good samaritans on the web sharing their experiences and solutions on forums and on their personal blogs.

Today I'm going to enumerate the resources I found on the web in the order that helped me get started with Watir.
For an overview of what Watir is and possibly how and why you need Watir
Before Watir, you must install Ruby.
This tutorial has everything you need to know on how to install Watir and its prerequisites. It also contains everything you need to know to get the basics down and start writing simple test scripts.

Pretty soon you'll need to learn more advanced stuff like objects and classes. The online book is a great resource for this.
At some point you may want to organize your test scripts. One framework I found that works is Rasta.
Some people may not like the restrictions imposed by Rasta and would like to setup their own framework with MS Excel. Ruby is perfectly capable of manipulating Excel. VB for application developers will feel at home with Ruby.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pageant with your SSH Private Key added on Windows Startup

On Linux, I use Keychain to cache my private SSH key and passphrase so that I don't need to keep entering it when I access remote servers. On windows, the only real tool for that is Pageant which comes with Putty.

A problem that I've been having for a while now is that I find myself having to start up pageant and adding my keys everytime I log in to windows.

I found this solution on the net but unfortunately I don't have the resource bookmarked so who ever reads this and knows the original author, I would love to know and post a link to the site.

The solution was to create a shortcut to Pageant in your Startup folder and to modify the "Target Property" and feed putty the key you want to add when it loads up.

So here are the steps :
  1. Click Start, then click All Programs
  2. Right click on the PuttY menu item and then choose Explore from the context menu
  3. This will open a window with the contents of the PuttY menu
  4. Once again, do a right click but this time in the Startup menu item after clicking All Programs, then choose Explore
  5. Copy the Pageant shortcut from the first window that appeared to the window with the Startup folder
  6. Right click on the shortcut in the Startup folder and change the Target field to look like
    "C:\Program Files\PuTTY\pageant.exe" "C:\My Documents\private.ppk"
  7. The first part of the above line with pageant.exe should already be in the target field, what you need to do is add the location of the private key you generated using PuttyGen.
So now, every time you login to windows, Pageant will automatically startup and add your key. It will also challenge you to enter the pass phrase on log in.