Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Windows Definitive Guide to NoSQL

First of all let’s correctly define NoSQL.

Currently, it is a RDBMs anti-pattern, some people are trying to use the old “not only SQL” definition, but I prefer the “non relational” instead.

There are of course more detailed definitions. For an easy understanding, any modern, non-relational, schema-free, web-scalable, with easy replication support, that don’t use SQL language to interface with it, will fit in the NoSQL field.

There are quite a few categories of NoSQL databases, grouped by characteristics like: Columns, Documents, Tuples, Key Values, Graphs, and others.

I have been working with relational databases associated with ECMs in applications almost all my professional life. When I hear from NoSQL databases a few years ago, the Documents category sparks my imagination.

Two of them have become trends in the field: CouchDB and MongoDB.

Being strictly honest, I have a predilection for MongoDB.

Here are a few reasons:
  • It is Powerful and Flexible
  • It has Collections (slightly similar to tables)
  • It is Easy Scaling (automatic Sharding)
  • It uses TCPIP (amazing performance) and finally 
  • It full supports Windows from the very beginning

In the “Ultimate Guide to NoSQL in Windows”, I will show how to get them both working easily.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HTML Colors and the Shadows of Gray

Do you remember of the old monochromatic times?

In another recently experienced situation, I feel like in a "back to the past" movie.

Let me show you how that feeling arises:

Working for the Enterprise, there is always a chosen hardware and of course a chosen development environment. I have already posted about customer's decision around being IE6 the standard browser to be considered when developing applications in the previous post.

Considering the hardware, I have recently involved in a situation where the chosen hardware simply didn't support the chosen software options.

We have basically two models of PCs coming from a big enterprise supplier. One of them have an on board video controller (let's call it the X320 model), and the other an off board more specialized video controller (this one could be the X330 model).

Our principal customer site consists mainly of shades of red and gray, but the problem appears more easily with a variety of different tones of gray.

The question is: using the customer's standard CSS plenty of gray tones, many of those tones are simply ignored by X320's video controller, but appear fine when using the X330's one.

This situation brings me back to the old "safe web color" time, and proves me that in the "safe way"; there are no many safe gray options.

If you have any question or need more information, I have compiled information about HTML Colors in general and specifically about gray scale here.

The final word is "Be careful about Gray Shades".

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Who cares about Javascript, Jquery and Prototype?

Well, I care about them all of course.

But I have recently experienced a situation where if I was in a more up to date development environment, none of them will surpass simple HTML and CSS.

Let me show how that application should work:

  • First of all, unfortunately, we need to use tables in these apps.
  • We have a set of images in a Thumbnail.
  • When one of the Thumbnail images is clicked a corresponding centered larger image will be displayed at the bottom of the page.
  • I have defined a fixed width of this larger image in 750px.
  • I was counting with the height being automatically and proportionally set considering that width.

Everything works fine in all browsers, except when images are narrow then that preset limit.

In that case the centered larger image becomes distorted. The narrow the image compared with the preset width the more obvious becomes the distortion.

You can see an example of how it not properly works here.

On the other hand the solution to that was amazingly simple. Simple as 2 lines of CSS code!

You can see that working option here.

But there is a problem… As always that simple amazing solution doesn’t work on IE6 (in fact it doesn’t work in IE at all). If you are testing the above example in IE, try the last image and see what happens.

Believe it or not, many customers around (at least here in Brazil) are using that infamous browser as the “official” one, and developers should base their web applications on it.

That is only one of the many situations where you should care about Javascript, Jquery and Prototype. They will help you a lot.

Since this is not so complicated, Jquery and Prototype are not necessary. Just a couple of Javascript functions have solved the problem.

Here is a working solution tested against IE6, IE8 and some real modern Browsers like Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome.

I would like to see some Jquery and Prototype alternatives to get the same, on an even simpler solution.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Peek-a-Boo (Pik a Ruby)

I have seen so many people around talking about testing different Ruby versions in Linux and OS/X.

What about using different Ruby versions in Windows?

I have been doing the job manually since the beginning, but there is a cool alternative.

It is a Multi-Ruby Manager for Windows.

A clever solution and there is extremely simple to get it working.

Let’s see: