Rails community in Australia.

Rails community has surely matured alot in the past year. We’ve finally named ourselves “Rails Oceania”.
There’s monthly meetup and a new event called Railscamp (not the framework camping), literally camping in the bush and do abit of code fest.

Main page for event updates: http://www.rubyonrails.com.au

Mail group – Google group Rails Oceania

IRC channel #ror_au at irc.au.freenode.net.

Railscamp is happening at Friday June 15th – Monday June 18th, 2007, hope I can make it!

Flash is back in my radar

With the recent release of Adobe’s Apollo, I was quite impressed how far they have become. I’ve lost touch of Flash since actionscript1, there’s just not alot of reasons to write in AS2, needless to say AS3. I saw a demo of FlexBuilder2 and here’s some online tutorial by Mike Chambers – at lynda.com. Building a Flex app is pretty easy and skinny of the controls seems incredibly easy as well. There’s a library of themes that looks like OSX, WindowsXP etc. With the adobe and macromedia integration, the tools become alot more powerful. The new CS3 suite will have alot of new features that make skinning and prototyping on Fireworks alot easier and Illustrator / Flash talk nicely to each other.

So the tools right, what about the Flash player? The Flash player has improved alot with its speed (if you write in AS3 and Flex). It compile the script just in time (JIT) into machine native byte code. There’s some demos of flash player 9 and the speed of 3D rendering are just unachievable from before. This is going to make 3d party tools like holomatix alot more usable. I think Flash has done alot to get here, quite frankly I just couldn’t keep up with its frequent update of actionscript and it just wasn’t the right tool. Now with speed improvement and high roadband penetration, it is definitely a platform for a very smooth experience for the users. Its integration with video and audio is just unachievable with ajax and javascript. The SVG rendering engine in the browsers is alot slower than Flash VM, although I’ve heard that they open sourced their compiler architecture to Firefox 3.

The last thing left is for the Flashlite player to catch up to all these improvements. It is still very difficult to create mobile flash app because most phone still come with Flashlite 1. While Flashlite2 is alot nicer, its not as easy as building flex and apollo applications. But definitely this will be the space to watch. Mobile Apollo apps will have their place because it’ll allow local storage and data synchronisation, which is perfect for mobile use. In the mean time, you can check out this mobile developer guide from BlueFlavor for HTML based mobile web development.

Some Cool Flash apps


Kuler by Adobe labs

Importing CSV into MySQL

I’ve wasted abit of time doing this today…

1. Create your database

>mysqladmin create dbname

2. Create your table with the right fields. (I usually use an Admin tool like phpmyadmin to do this).

3. You need to login to your mysql console

>mysql -u root
>use dbname;
>LOAD DATA LOCAL INFILE 'path_to_my_file.csv' INTO TABLE tablename
OPTIONALLY ENCLOSED BY """" (field1,field2,field3);

4. Play around with the TERMINATED BY setting and OPTIONAL setting for your own need.

The biggest Flex application on the planet.

I’m sure everyone has heard of this buzz word Flex flowing around alot, but has anyone actually seen and used one? I certainly haven’t, until now. The good thing is, it is developed in Australia! We’re so in the forefront of web innovations (sometimes). Australian Financial Review access application – http://www.afraccess.com/ is apparently the biggest Flex application on earth. From a bit of googling, I found that the project was started way back in Oct 2005 and launched in June 2006. I’m already 8 months behind.

I was quite impressed by the application. It seems to be working well for a while until I couldn’t use my scroll button to scroll down the page. How could they have missed that? I’m sure its achievable in Flash that you just need to listen for the scrolling events. The main purpose of the app is for reading text and a mistake like that is just unacceptable. Where are the usability consultants?

Webjam and Barcamp Sydney.

Finally Australia/Sydney has reached a critical mass of internet enthursiasts and entrepreneurs to organise conferences and meetups. The web industry is flourishing. It has taken some time from the very humble start of Web standards group of a room of ~10 people at the Australian Museum. wsg_logo.gif Picture 11.png

Then there was the Web Essentials conference, now rebranded as Web Directions. More recently there’s other styles of meetup / casual conferences like Webjam and Barcamp.
Picture 8.png Picture 10.png

The type of audience is ever expanding from the bleeding edge geeks to the general web related professional to technology entrepreneurs. I am happy to see the passion in everyone that participated and learnt a great deal from their presentations. I was also great to meet people from outside of Australia join in the fun. It was great to meet brothercake, the author of various high quality javascript library including the ultimate dropdown menu.

However, what I see is still missing is the attention to the mobile industry. There’s some highly priced, well organised conferences on mobile trends targetting corporate CEOs, e.g. AIMIA mobile industry group. But even at Barcamp, I would expect some mobile startup or development companies to participate in the discussions. The mobile industry will become a very hot space very shortly, given high performance devices like iPhone is already commercialised. There’s a mobile monday group in Melbourne. And I just found out there’s one for Sydney, as I’m writing this post. I would love to see more mobile startup actions rather than replicas of US web 2.0 ideas. 85381151@N00.jpg

Lastly, I need do abit of promotions for our Ruby on Rails Sydney group. We’ve meetings every month and it’s been a great learning experience and social event for fellow RoR developers. We’ve recently got the blog setup and there’ll be more to come. The mailing list and IRC chat room has had some interesting discussions. And NO! I should not mention there’s a railsconfau which doesn’t seem to have any speakers but is collecting ticket money.