Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A quick note on ActiveResource in Ruby on Rails

I've learned a bunch of new things about Ruby on Rails in the past few days, specifically when it comes to RESTful web services.

  • ActiveResource uses the built in Ruby XML::Mapping library for its OXM (Object to XML mapping) layer

  • Apparently, no Ruby library out there properly handles namespaces. Not a one : REXML, ROXML, XML::Mapping

  • ActiveResource can be highly customized to adjust to other RESTful web service schemes, just not when it comes to the generated XML.

Unfortunately this makes it very hard to integrate (in ruby) with the RESTful web service that I've written for our company's production web site. Ironically, I wanted to make the service very Ruby friendly. I really wish there was more in depth documentation out there for Ruby APIs. It would have made things so much easier when I was designing our API, which runs in Java, using JAXB.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A quick note on Maven plugins

I've recently had to go abroad to various other countries for work, and I've found that porting my projects around to various workspaces hasn't been as easy as it otherwise should have been, and here's why : I use Maven, especially the plugins. I've used others, and I've even written my own. I've also learned that one should specify versions of all plugins used, because the behaviour of a plugin may change between versions and if you're unaware of that and you start getting strange behaviour from your project build, this can lead to hours of wasted time trying to figure out what the hell is going on. I'm referring specifically to the maven-war-plugin for building web application WAR files. I had previously left the version unspecified, and when I ported my workspace to my laptop, Maven chose to use a different version of the plugin than that of my desktop, and as a result was including files I didn't want in my WAR file. This led to classpath errors, and me spending several hours trying to find out where the problem was. So in short, always specify versions of the plugins you use to ensure consistent behaviour in your build, wherever you may be working on your project.