Tech Tidbits - Ruby, Ruby On Rails, Merb, .Net, Javascript, jQuery, Ajax, CSS...and other random bits and pieces.

Friday, June 8, 2007

APT Quick Reference

I found this handy apt-get Phil's APT Quick Reference...

Download and install package:

apt-get install package

Update apt's list of available packages:

apt-get update

Upgrade all installed packages with upgrades available:

apt-get upgrade

Upgrade to new distro, or in general upgrade anything available for update including core system packages:

apt-get dist-upgrade

Uninstall package:

apt-get remove package

Uninstall package, and its config files, and don't leave it in the database as 'uninstalled':

apt-get --purge remove package

Search for a package like pattern:

apt-cache search pattern

Get information on installed package:

dpkg -s package

Find which installed package file belongs to:

dpkg -S inetd.conf

List which files are in package:

apt-file list package

Find out what packages provide file:

apt-file search file

Run a command (such as ./configure or make) and have all necessary packages installed as needed:

auto-apt run command

Unless specified, the package in reference doesn't have to be already installed for these to work... but the database needs to be updated. You can update the appropriate database via:

apt-get update


auto-apt update


apt-file update

Ruby on Rails/Mongrel/Ubuntu

I've been using Ubuntu lately and decided to install Ruby on Rails and Mongrel.

$ sudo apt-get install ruby irb rdoc

Or download the source for the latest version (apt-get installs 1.8.4, but the latest source is 1.8.6):

$ tar zxvf ruby-1.8.6.tar.gz
$ cd ruby-1.8.6
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

Once ruby is installed, I typically use Gems if I can.

Download the latest Gems at (0.9.4 in this case) and then:

$ tar xzvf rubygems-0.9.4.tgz
$ cd rubygems-0.9.4
$ sudo ruby setup.rb

Install Rails:

sudo gem install rails --include-dependencies

Install Mongrel and Mongrel cluster gem plugin:

sudo gem install mongrel --include-dependencies
sudo gem install mongrel_cluster

Install Apache 2.2

$ tar zxvf httpd-2.2.4.tar.gz
$ cd httpd-2.2.4
$ ./configure \
--prefix=/usr/local/apache \
--enable-rewrite \
--enable-headers \
--enable-ssl \
--enable-proxy \
$ make
$ sudo make install

I got this error when running configure:

Configuring Apache Portable Runtime Utility library...

checking for APR-util... yes
configure: error: Cannot use an external APR-util with the bundled APR
make: *** [apache] Error 1

Adding this option fixed the problem:


Running Apache with a single Mongrel Instance

$ mongrel_rails start -p 8000 -e production -d

Add to apache conf (httpd.connf)


ProxyPass /
ProxyPassReverse /
ProxyPreserveHost on

Restart Apache and it will forward requests for on port 80 to Mongrel server running on port 8000.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Javascript/Ajax Libraries

I've been working on a few Ajax and DOM scripting projects at work using prototype.js and scriptaculous. Now we're looking at a "Web 2.0" upgrade for some of our sites, so I'm looking at several libraries:

Prototype JavaScript Framework
The Dojo Toolkit
Yahoo! UI Library (YUI)
mootools framework

There are many, many more...
OSA Foundation - Survey of Ajax/JavaScript Libraries

Here's an accoridion demo I created with Rico:
My Rico Accordion Demo

Monday, June 4, 2007


I've been tackling some documentation at work and decided to take a look at docbook.

There are a few good resources to start with:

With DocBook, you can use SGML (Dsssl styesheets) or XML (XSL stylesheets). I've chosen to work with XML. "DocBook XSL" provides the details of all the tools that are needed. At the moment I'm working on a Mac laptop, using the following:

I installed everything in my home directory and worked from there, but LSB proposal is:

  • DTD: /usr/share/sgml/docbook/xml-dtd-4.5

  • XSL: /usr/share/sgml/docbook/docbook-xsl-1.72.0/

Create a DocBook XML file (book.xml, for example)

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<title>My Book Title</title>

<title>Chapter Name</title>

<para>Some text</para>

Procss to generate html:

$ xsltproc --output book.html /path/to/docbook-xsl-1.72.0/html/docbook.xsl book.xml

You can validate XML using xmllint (parser won't necessarily do it).

$ xmllint --noout book.xml

No output will be seen unless there is an error.

I haven't covered other formats (like converting to pdf using FOP), Java parsers, catalogs, makefiles, and Ant.

Speaking of Ant, here's a resource for DocBook and Ant:

DocBook and Ant.

I've already started looking at using Cocoon with DocBook, but that will be material for another post...

WebSphere Application Server V6.1 on Linux

I recently downloaded the full-featured trial download of WebSphere Application Server V6.1 to my old Fedora Core 5 laptop.

The installation was amazingly easy...

$ tar zxvf websphere.tar.gz
$ cd WAS/install
$ java -jar WAS/setup.jar
$ cd /opt/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer/bin
$ ./startServer server1

After starting WebSphere, you can check out the sample application:


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Developer (Ruby on Rails, iOS), musician/composer, Buddhist, HSP, Vegan, Aspie.