TheLucid Typo theme (Phase 2)

I have had a great deal of interest in TheLucid Typo theme over the past few months.

I am planning a revamp in the near future to fix the outstanding IE bugs and to generally tidy things up. I have wanted to do this for a while but due to work commitments have not had time.

I would like invite anyone who is using the theme, or thinking of using the theme to post suggestions and bug reports here.

h3. What I am currently planning:

* Cookie containing fixed/fluid state.
* Comment styling.
* Separate color versions in addition to the switcher version.
* Numerous browser fixes.

Problem: link_to_remote with :method => :delete in Safari

I have just come up against a really frustrating issue with link_to_remote in Safari. What makes it more frustrating is the Rails dev site being down making it impossible to submit a ticket.

When setting :method => :delete on the link_to_remote helper, Safari sends a GET request rather than a DELETE. Firefox is fine with it.


no route found to match "/projects/13;delete" with {:method=>:get}

If anyone knows of a way to fix this I would be most grateful.

Handy Subversion Rake task

Just read a post from “David”:http://david.planetargon.us at “Planet Argon”:http://planetargon.us/ showing a way to “add un-added files”:http://david.planetargon.us/articles/2006/07/28/i-love-shell-scripting in your Subversion working copy.

I have made this into a simple rake task:

namespace :svn do
  desc "Adds all files with an svn status flag of '?'"
  task(:add_new) { `svn status | awk '/\\?/ {print $2}' | xargs svn add` }
end

Just drop this code in a file called subversion.rake inside the tasks directory. Now you can run rake svn:add_new which will add all new files with an svn status flag of ‘?’ in your working copy.

Simply RESTful… “The missing action”

UPDATE 15/03/10: The debate continues…

The ideas in this article came about whilst I was test-driving the Simply RESTful plugin following DHH’s RailsConf keynote on the subject.

The philosophy

The first thing I came across whilst experimenting with Simply RESTful (which is great by the way), was that there is no real way of deleting items with javascript disabled. Since I am currently working on a project that needs to function on a variety of mobile devices, this instantly caused me concern.

I could think of a few ways to hack around this limitation, however I was sure there had to be a better way, hence this article. I wanted to keep the current javascript functionality but in addition have a clean non-javascript fallback.

Consider the following:

CRUD Form (GET request) POST action
(C)reate /products/new create
(R)ead /products/24 n/a
(U)pdate /products/24/edit update
(D)elete - destroy

There are three “state changing” actions in CRUD, they are the ‘create’, ‘update’ and ‘delete’. You will notice from the table above that all three have a POST action1, however only two have GET actions… why is this?

Now, you see that dash in the second column… that’s “the missing action”. There is no good reason why our ‘destroy’ action shouldn’t have a corresponding form action (GET request) also. Let me explain myself…

1 The HTTP actions are PUT, POST and DELETE, however in this implementation (due to the limitations of HTML) they are all technically POST’s.

Putting it into practice

So we give ‘destroy’ it’s missing action which will act as a confirmation of our post… and what shall we call this missing action? …why let’s call it delete.

If we fill in this missing piece in our RESTful Rails puzzle, all becomes clear:

CRUD Form (GET request) POST action
(C)reate /products/new create
(R)ead /products/24 n/a
(U)pdate /products/24/edit update
(D)elete /products/24/delete destroy

Our routes would look something like:

map.resource :product, :member => { :delete => :get }</pre>
In our controller would be:
<pre lang="ruby">def delete
  @product = Product.find(params[:id])
end

def destroy
  Product.find(params[:id]).destroy if request.delete?
  redirect_to product_url
end

Our delete.rhtml would look like this:
<pre><h1>Are you sure you wish to delete ?</h1></pre>

Slight complication…

Update (13 Oct 2007): This has been fixed in more recent versions or Rails.

Now comes the slight complication… we want the javascript POST to /projects/24 to function as normal, however if javascript is disabled we want to request /projects/24;delete.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could specify a fallback (non-javascript) href in the link_to helper, something that I’ve pondered with on many occasions. Unfortunately the link_to helper doesn’t let you override the href attribute (currently it adds a second one instead), until now.

Enter iq_noscript_friendly plugin which fixes this shortfall (I also have this as a Rails patch however the ticketing system on Trac is currently broken).

Install the plugin using:

./script/plugin install http://svn.soniciq.com/public/rails/plugins/iq_noscript_friendly/

In our listing view (index.rhtml) we are now able to do the following:

link_to 'Delete', product_url(product),
          :confirm => 'Are you sure?',
          :method => 'delete',
          :href => delete_product_url(product)

Ideally you would just give the link a class of “delete” and use unobtrusive javascript to make it do the delete request.

Beautiful.

Summary

By adding “the missing action”, we are able to POST as usual (using javascript) to ‘destroy’ but gracefully fallback to our ‘delete’ form when javascript is not available. Besides, why shouldn’t ‘destroy’ get it’s own form action… ‘create’ has ‘new’ and ‘update’ has ‘edit’?

Now to make this whole thing even better, lets make it part of the convention. ‘delete’ should default to GET and therefore negate the need for :member => { :delete => :get } in our routes.rb… DHH?

I would love to hear peoples comments on this technique as I’m using it for everything now and it works a treat.

Com’on… use “the missing action”, be kind to those without javascript, and lets make it the convention!

Rock on RESTfulness.

Finally running on the latest Typo (4.0)

I’ve been putting off upgrading Typo for a while now (due to lack of time). This blog is now running on -3.99.4- 4.0 (missed the update by 2 hours!).

I have added a temporary fix to “TheLucid Typo theme”:/typo_themes/lucid.zip however keep a lookout for the new version coming soon as promised.

Please reply to this post with any features you would like to see in the next theme release.

Code beauty vs. Obsession

h3. When does the search for beautiful code become an obsession?

Rightly so, “David Heinemeier Hansson”:http://www.loudthinking.com/arc/000419.html constantly pushes for beautiful code, however this in now becoming an obsession for me and I may soon need professional help…

You know things are getting bad when you do something similar to the following:

thing = {
  :store_dir => "public/master",
  :scaled_dir => "public/variants",
  :tmp_dir => "public/temp"
}

And then _have_ to change it so that the symbol names are the same length!!:

thing = {
  :storage_dir => "public/master",
  :variant_dir => "public/variants",
  :tmp_img_dir => "public/temp"
}

I am finding myself becoming more and more obsessional about stuff like this.

* Where is the threshold?
* When does code beauty become an obsession?

If anyone else is suffering from this terrible disorder, please post here, I need support to get through this ;)

Typo theme contest entry

Well, what can I say. I managed to submit my theme just in time (in it’s current state) however it’s far from finished :( …too much work, not enough play.

Theme is tested in Safari, Firefox and IE6 Win (currently a small issue with IE5.5).

h3. Main features

* Safari search field (and a mimicked version for other browsers).
* A little calendar icon next to each post.
* Lightweight design i.e. divs and images kept to a minimum (although there are few extra divs for fluid).
* Fixed and Fluid designs (a couple of people beat me to it on this one).
* Ruby red colour scheme to depict Typo’s origins.

I had a shed load of features that should have made it into the entry, just didn’t leave myself enough time.

I also had bleached and mint versions of the same theme in the pipeline which looked 100 times better however I ran out of time. These obviously won’t make it into the comp however if anyone is interested, let me know.

h3. What have I leaned from this?

Rounded corners ==+== fluid layout ==+== hatching + vertical gradient= absolute nightmare!! Why? …two words “Internet Explorer”.

I generally don’t like using extra markup for layout however it is necessary for fluid + rounded corner layouts. That I can like with, it’s the fact that 80% of the time spent on this theme was used on workarounds for IE and it’s lack of proper transparent png support.