Software Woes

Rants, tips and tricks

Monday, April 17, 2006

My first MQFA on Linux

Q: What happens when Firefox crashes?

A: You lose all the pages you had opened.

Well, I've seen a lot of those Mozilla Quality Feedback Agent back on Windows 98. Since I switched completely to Linux in february this year, I haven't had a single one. I even forgot it exists.

Now, look at that uglyness. It looks like it is not using Gtk, but rather like some TCL/Tk or even Xlib application. I hated the dialog on Windows - but this one is funny. It also ask about website I was visiting. Well, hard to remember as it was a Google search result, and the exact search term was ... hm, can't remember, but History will refresh my mind. Good thing history is saved before program exit.

Well, FF has to have it's own BSOD, otherwise it wouldn't be considered serious software.

Monday, April 10, 2006

AJAX based chess game... sucks

To quote the Morfik team:

If you take your browsers to this chess game, you might start to understand what I mean. This game has a great interface and is played against you by your own computer. Your moves do not get sent off to a server which comes up with a response and sends a move order back to your browser. The analisys of the play and the decision of the move is entierly done in Javascript, in your own machine, by the browser.

This is a really bad choice for web app. and their example only proves it.

After "check mate"-ing it in only 17 moves, the game started to consume 100% CPU. Luckily Mozilla figured out that it is better to shut it down (see screenshot).

My machine is AMD Turion(tm) 64 Mobile Technology MT-30 running at 1.6GHz. It has 512MB RAM, but only 1/2 of it is really used.

Let's face it. AJAX is cool, but uses are limited. Being web-apps developer myself, I conclude that there are cases for AJAX, and there are cases when it shouldn't be used. The smart developer isn't one who knows how to implement it, but one who knows where and when to implement it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Subversion GUI for Linux

Some time ago, all the projects I'm involved in, switched from CVS to Subversion. After I've seen how good it is, I switched all my projects as well (even the commercial stuff I'm working on). As I use Linux as my main OS, I started the quest to find a suitable graphical SVN client for Linux. I tried these:

1. KdeSVN
2. eSVN
3. RapidSVN

They all have a single problem in common. When you add a lot of files in your working copy, you should be able to painlessly add them to repository. TortoiseSVN (Subversion client from MS Windows) does it the proper way:

a) run "svn status", and take all the files returned by it
b) show that list with checkboxes so user can pick which of those unversioned files (s)he wants to add
c) add them

Nice, simple and user-friendly. Unfortunately, none of those Linux programs have it. They all require that you pin-point each file. Sometimes I even add a file somewhere deep in directory structure, and forget about. I only catch the problem when I (or someone else) figure it is missing when working on another computer.

I tried to circumvent the problem by running the "status" command, but eSVN for example lists all files, since it envokes "svn status" with verbose flag. Who ever uses that feature I wonder?

Anyway, from all those, I prefer eSVN for its user interface. It is clean - so it's easy to spot the changes, and it doesn't flicker like RapidSVN. KDEsvn seems quite good, but it has a lot of background "syncing" with the repository (I think I've seen the option to turn it off, but didn't bother). Why do tool makers add some extra-cool-whatever-used-by-nobody features instead of adding the esential ones? It really escapes me.

Given all this, I'm still using command-line svn from terminal most of the time. Sometimes I run svn status in terminal, and then hunt for files in GUI.

To all those "Linux desktop" proponents: If you want to see quality Linux desktop - make some pressure on developers of these tools (I'm trying by posting this on my blog).

All they need to implement is 4 basic svn commands:

svn update
svn commit
svn add
svn status

And they need to do it properly. We can do checkout manually, we can do merging and other once-a-year stuff manually. But this day-to-day features must work. All the tools I tried only implemented update and commit as they should, "add" and "status" need to be connected.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Opera browser is SLOW

Opera... fastest browser on Earth?

Yeah, right. I just found some website that crashes Mozilla and Firefox few days ago. As I didn't want to use Internet Explorer, I decided to give Opera a shot. So, I downloaded the latest version 8.53.

It works fine, but it's far from being fastest. Most of the time it's as good as any other, however on some pages with pictures shown in sizes smaller than original - it just sucks. Here are few pages that make Opera crawl:

Well, I guess I'm yet to find The Perfect Browser...