I hate Sourcesafe. We use it at work. It’s slow, unreliable and non-intuitive. It looks just enough like Windows Explorer to make you expect it to do Windows Explorer-y type things with it, which then don’t work. In a nutshell, it’s frustrating to use, although that’s not even the half of it.

I proposed a few months ago that we move everything to CVS , which everyone said “yeah! let’s do that!” to, but we still don’t have a *nux machine in the office.

For a brief while we tried getting CVSNT to work, but with no luck. The documentation is pretty poor, and we had a problem with users, passwords and permissions. So that didn’t work.

Anyway, the point is that we wanted to move to CVS, but an argument raised against this was that we’d need to move everything stored in VSS to CVS. “Surely”, I thought “someone must have tried to do this before?”, so I searched the web, and I came up with were the VSSExtractor and VSS2CVS, which looked like just the ticket, if a rather lonely tickets.

But we never got a linux machine. And I never got to try it out. And as a result, we’re still using VSS. And it’s terrible.

So if anyone, anyone out there has successfully used either of these tools, successfully, so that I can point at you and go “Look! Look! They escaped! We can too!” please, please get in touch.

Sourcesafe: a commentary

Incidentally, Leigh’s intention for adding other voacabularies to the FAM2 seems pretty much the same as mine did:

I think for the first iteration I’ll simply throw away properties the FOAF-a-Matic doesn’t understand. Then progressively expand the breadth of FOAF data the tool can process. That way there will be enough new code for a second functioning beta.

But that was when I didn’t think it was possible to dynamically generate the Thinlet UI. I’m now not too sure as to how impossible this would actually be. Elements can certainly be generated at run-time, and added to the main UI – selecting the correct widget to use for the options available would be far harder.

Leigh Dodds has posted an update on the FOAF-a-matic mk2, which is really good to see.

The import vCard function I wrote for it was the most basic of the basic, and definitely could do with expanding, and as Leigh mentions, being able to support the vCard-RDF format would be great.

I also agree with him thaat my FOAF file-loading was flawed, but I can forgive myself for two reasons:

  1. I think a FOAF file should have a description
  2. Neither mine nor Leigh’s approach will correctly handle Eric Vitellio’s old FOAF file (his live FOAF file is very different).

Of course, real FOAF files in the wild are never going to have that description field (although, of course, all FOAF files that pass through the FOAF-a-matic should have it added if it doesn’t exist 🙂 ), and will thus better handled by Leigh’s method, but I can excuse myself again by virtue of a third reason: I’m rubbish at using Jena to select the nodes I want from a graph.

In other news, it turns out Leigh lives and works in Bath! Ha! I never would have guessed! Bristol is my home town, and seemingly the centre of global FOAF development (Libby Miller and Dan Brickley are both based in Bristol too). Another big advocate of RDF and the semantic web is Danny Ayers, who lives in Italy, but used to live in Sheffield, which is where I currently live! (the Uni he attended is about a five minute walk from my front door)

I enjoy circles like this, they make me very happy. 🙂

I’ve had some feedback on my small rant saying that, in the interests of accuracy, both Opera and Safari do actually support generated content. I had a quick look at this using the CSS2 test suite, and in particular the quotes section in the most recent versions of both those browsers that I have access to, Opera 7.11 and Safari 0.74.

Safari rendered quotes exactly the same as Mozilla (i.e. incorrectly, although of course this may have been fixed in the latest release), and quite astonishingly Opera renders absolutely correctly.

I think “astonishingly” was an understatement. I completely expected Opera to fail, mainly due to my experience with it in the past, where it caused more problems than anything else – enough for my company to drop “supports Opera” from our web app documentation (not that anyone noticed).

Indeed, when version 7 was released (to much hoopla), I took about five seconds to assess it (huge banner, awful skin, goodbye), and whilst I stand by that (that skin! that banner! just stop it already! who pays for a browser now?!), its list of CSS support is very very impressive.

Textile4J (a java port of the Textile humane web text generator from Textism.) has been getting a reasonable amount of coverage.

JTextile beat the rush by two months, works on JDKs below 1.4, and got rather less coverage.

The importance of trackbacks, and making millions of comments becomes clear. Fortunately for the real world, googling for “java textile” still returns “garments in Bali” higher than any of the programs mentioned above.

From looking at the source, Textile4J seems clearly based on JTextile, which is directly based on PyTextile which in turn is based on the original Textile. All we need now is for Textile4J to introduce some great new tag, Textile to implement it, and the circle will be complete.

In my world there are four levels of expertise: beginner, basic, medium and expert.

When most people have left the “beginner” level, they think they‘re at “medium” level. They‘re not. They‘re at basic level.

There is an ordered progression upwards through these levels generally enabled by experience, not just study.

It’s also been (correctly) pointed out to me that experience is not a scalar quantity, and the time to move between levels is vastly different, increasing at probably something approaching an exponential rate as you go up levels.

I’m back on final front-end web development at work, which means HTML and CSS, which a) I’d like to think I’m quite good at and b) is the cause of my earlier post.

This generally means other people have written the basic HTML and CSS and I go through it, making sure it does what it’s supposed to and in a reasonable way.

On the plus side, all our CSS seems OK, so I don’t have to do much cleaning, the HTML isn’t as bad as it was on the apps I was given to finalise when I first started working here (hello tag soup HTML abominations one and two).

On the minus side, it means I’m writing HTML and CSS again. Or rather trying to, but I just can’t. stop. getting. frustrated. with Internet Explorer. This is the last ever standalone version? Puh-lease. The rendering engine is just a complete joke. I know I’ve moaned about this recently, but that was focussed on developing new features whilst old specs were being left unimplemented. By all accounts IE doesn’t seem to be moving at all. It seems stuck in some 1999 timewarp where no-one really uses CSS that much, and there’s no real browser alternative.

Anyway, blah, this is all old news and everyone in the entire world has griped about it before so I’ll shut up about it now.

In other news, Leigh Dodds got in touch with me about my fork of his FOAF-a-matic mk2, and it turns out he’s done some significant work on it since the last beta, which far surpasses where I’d taken it, hurrah! At least I got to use Jena for the first time, and have a better understanding of RDF and how to manipulate it using the right tools now.

RDF seems to be such a sleeping giant it’s incredible – there are so many v0.1 apps and potential apps out there with such mass appeal and potentially mass use that it’s painful. I mean, FOAF is a wonderful thing, and easily the most appealing facet of any semweb to someone who just sees it. This is why I’m particularly interested in getting a FOAF tool that works and can be used easily.

It seems as though Leigh has taken the FOAF-a-matic over to XUL, which is an interesting development not only because it potentially limits its use. I think a huge benefit of the original FOAF-a-matic was that it was available on a webpage, and indeed the Thinlet version of FOAF-a-matic2 could be embedded onto a webpage as an applet, or downloaded and run easily. XUL would necessitate Mozilla or some XRE (or perhaps a GRE), but I’ll be able to tell better when he drops some code into my inbox in the near future (you reading this Leigh? I’ll hold you to that. ;)).

About time I released the work I’ve been doing on FOAF-a-matic mk2-pw.

Sadly there’s not as much as I’d like to have had done by now, but that’s what I get for being given a GameCube and Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker the other week.

I love Zelda games. 🙂