CCMenu helps you monitor your builds

You’re using continuous integration, right? If not, you really should. And you should probably set it up to email you if the build breaks. But there’s a nice way to get notification right on your OS X desktop: it’s CCMenu.

CCMenu in action

CCMenu is a menu item for OS X that displays the status of your projects that are being built with CruiseControl. It works with CruiseControl.rb as well which you can use for your Ruby on Rails projects, which is where I mainly use it. When your projects are good, it shows a green rounded square and when your projects break, it shows a red one. It also uses Growl to notify you whenever there is a status update on any of your projecs. Its freeware and available thanks to Erik Doernenburg.

One tip: you can have it start up automatically by going to System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items and adding CCMenu and then checking the checkbox. Perhaps that will be a preference in the future, but for now that works for me.

JRuby 1.0 coming at end of May

Sitting through the Sun keynote at RailsConf. Tim Bray is up and speaking and making it clear that Sun likes Ruby. Which is a good thing, but I guess we haven’t seen so much commercial sponsorship in the Ruby world that it seems somewhat strange, but good.

I think it’d be great if Sun put a lot of resources into creating a world-class Ruby VM. They have some good experience in that space with Java. Of course, maybe they’re killing two birds with one stone with JRuby.

Charles Nutter came up on stage and announced a few things about JRuby:

The 1.0 release candidate 2 is out now.

JRuby 1.0 is coming out at the end of the month.

You can get a t-shirt in exchange for submitting a patch.

Oh, also Tim took a poll and it seems like 1/2 the audience works for a startup, 1/2 for an existing company, and 1/3 for a consulting company. Yea it all adds up to 1 1/3rd, but the question was a little fuzzy. For some reason I thought it’d be consultants mostly, then existing companies, and then startups. But I guess we’re in a new kind of world here, one that Paul Graham loves and has predicted.

The best way to understand continuations

I was reading up about Procs due to an interesting error in some code:
warning: tried to create Proc object without a block

So I picked up my copy (and got a nice little workout in the process) of The Ruby Way, 2nd edition by Hal Fulton. It’s a good book for all Rubists and Railers. It had this nice little gem right before the section on Procs:

The best way to understand continuations is to watch the movie Run, Lola, Run (or the original German Version, Lola Rennt.)

Hal also compares it to a “save game” feature. Probably easier to understand among the video-game-playing-and-computer-programming crowd. Nevertheless, I think its probably still worth it to go watch Run Lola Run to improve your understanding of continuations.

Ruby Hoedown is coming

The South is getting its own regional Ruby conference: Ruby Hoedown. I like to think of Northern Virginia where I live as being in two worlds: 1. The southwestern most tip of the NorthEast and 2. the northeastern tip of the South. Take your pick. :)

Looks like it’ll be interesting to go to. It’s about 4 and a half hours away from DC in Raleigh, NC at Redhat Headquarters and it’ll be happening on August 10-11.