library posts

Library of Babel

Awesome, there is a digital version of the Library of Babel. Everything that you could ever write is in there, with some caveats. Caveats are that:

  • each book is less than or equal to 1,312,000 characters
  • it is in the English alphabet
  • all characters are lowercased
  • all non-alphabet characters removed except the space, period, and comma

Any searches would have to be translated to those specifications.

I found this through Jeremy Keith’s discussion of the anchor / link element.

The writings of Charles Dickens, Adactio, and myself can be found in there, many times over.

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Library card for Dune

Got myself a library card today for the Cuyahoga County Public Library system. I didn’t realize that they seem to take Cleveland Public Library cards, so I may not have needed it. I haven’t used that card in years though, so may have needed a new one anyway. I had gotten that one when I tried to use my Peninsula library card after years of disuse and got a very surprised reaction from the librarian, like it was some ancient artifact. I think my new card was intended for young children, because it says ‘my first library card’, but I chose it because it was my favorite color and had a cool owl on it.

I’ve been visiting the library for near two years without a card. I’ve mostly been working remotely from there, but recently have started to read some books after work. I recently started the book Dune, and it was interesting enough and seemed long enough and a tough enough of a read (it has a complicated universe and has enough of its own words to have a 31 page appendix) to be better served by taking it home.

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Kendo UI

We recently acquired licenses for Kendo UI at Cogneato. We have plans to use some of its widgets, most notably the data grid and window, heavily in the admin interface for the new CMS we will be building. We figured that the time we save from not having to build similar widgets ourselves would be well worth the hefty license costs.

Troubles

We have made use of the window in a few sites so far, and the grid on alpleaders.org. I have found that for both widgets, it has helped to build a sort of wrapper around them. The wrapper helps normalize configuration and handles some things that we want to happen for all instances. Some of this was related to problems we ran into with the widgets or features we wanted that weren’t built in.

For instance, the data grid has the ability to be filtered per column client side. A ‘row’ mode provides an input with autocomplete for the values in that column. If you want to use a different mode, however, there is no built in autocomplete feature. You have to create an autocomplete widget for each column. Attaching the same data source as the grid uses results in the same number of items in the autocomplete as there are rows in the grid, meaning if 30 items have a ‘State’ of ‘Ohio’, the autocomplete will show ‘Ohio’ 30 times. I set up a helper to build columns and automatically create a new data source with a single instance of each value for the items in a given column. I’m not sure why, since they already built their own logic for the ‘row’ mode, they couldn’t make that an option for other modes.

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tmclasses: my javascript class library

I’ve decided to take my JavaScript class system out of my more general JavaScript library, tmlib. It can now be found in my js-tmclasses repository. I felt it needed to be separated to make it easier to work on without the clutter of all of the other functionality in tmlib. It also will be easier for others to make use of, not being buried among a bunch of other junk and not having all of that junk in the default build file. This decision was made easier since I converted to using require.js a while back. I can include tmclasses in a vendor folder, pull into tmlib and attach everything to the same places in tmlib to provide the same interface as before, and it is basically the same as it had been usage-wise. The build is slightly heavier, but that is partly due to duplication of methods that I will eliminate or limit.

tmclasses is a fairly simple class system so far. It provides a method for creating ‘classes’, which in JavaScript are basically functions with properties attached to their prototypes. The feature set is basic, but I intend to add more to it to get some of the niceties of Qooxdoo’s class system. I like a lot of things about Qooxdoo’s class system, but found it hard

Usage

The heart of tmclasses is the create method. It is passed an argument with all of the configuration to create a class.

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JavaScript: Callable namespaces and other namespacing options

It is a good practice to not pollute the global “namespace” (ie window in browsers) when creating JavaScript code, especially if it is to be reusable, to avoid collisions with other bits of code that may be used on a page. It is common to use objects as namespaces. You can say window.myLibrary = {} and then add whatever you want to that object with confidence of no collisions with other libraries as long as myLibrary isn’t taken. Larger libraries will often have a namespacing function that will manage the creation of these namespaces, allowing them to be accessed if they already exist or created and then accesed if not, and easily handling multiple levels of depth. A simple example may look like the following:

namespace = function(_namespace, _scope){
    if(!_scope){
        _scope = window;
    }
    var _currentScope = _scope;
    var _identifiers = _namespace.split('.');
    for(var _i = 0; _i < _identifiers.length; ++_i){
        var _identifier = _identifiers[_i];
        if(!_currentScope[_identifier]){
            _currentScope[_identifier] = {};
        }
        _currentScope = _currentScope[_identifier];
    }
    return _currentScope;
}

Then you can do something like:

ns = namespace('myLibrary.mySubNameSpace');
jQuery.extend(ns, {
    'component1': function(){}
    ,'component2': function(){}
});

I’ve been doing the more manual approach for my library, but have been desiring for a while to get more organized and streamline repetition by adding my own namespace function. I got to thinking about doing more with the namespace objects, so that they can perform operations on themselves once created. For example, they might be able to create and return sub-namespaces as well as easily extend themselves.

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