Nginx Upgrade

posted in LinuxRuby-on-Rails by martin on 04 October 2011

nginxToday I needed to update my nginx server to support serving of static gzipped asset files alongside Passenger (Rails 3.1 asset pipeline - server configuration). My install was already a bit of a hack after trying various ways to originally get it installed. This update needed the whole thing to be re-built from source so I decided to get the latest source and write myself some notes so that it won't be so hard next time.

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Semantics in Oracle 11g R2

posted in Oracle by martin on 17 May 2011

I have been researching the technologies behind the Semantic Web for a rather interesting project. Having read as much as I could (none of it great), I manged to created a RDF model and a very basic ontology to do some experiments using SPARQL and the Jena tool kit. I really struggled to get the inferencing to work on Jena so I thought I'd give it a try in Oracle instead.

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Ruby on Rails on Oracle and Weblogic

posted in Software DevelopmentOracleRuby-on-Rails by martin on 28 April 2011

OracleAlthough I’m a massive fan of Rails, my background (and my professional life) is Java and Oracle. It was inevitable that I would try to bring these worlds together at some point. The following is a description of how I took and existing Rails 3 app, which was developed on SQLite and runs in production on MySQL, and got it to work on Weblogic and Oracle 11g R2 database.

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Rails Database Driver Gems

posted in LinuxRuby-on-Rails by martin on 28 November 2010

A little aide-mémoire to remind me how to prepare my Rails database environment for either MySQL or SQLite on Ubuntu Linux.


$ sudo apt-get install mysql-server libmysqlclient-dev
$ gem install mysql


$ sudo apt-get install sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev
$ gem install sqlite3-ruby

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SELinux problem with Oracle 11g

posted in LinuxOracle by martin on 09 November 2010

I have just done a fresh install of Oracle 11g R2 on a Linux VM running on my little server.  Install was a breeze, it even auto generated a script to set all the necessary operating system parameters. However, after the installation I could not get SQL*Plus to start due to a SELinux problem.

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iTunes Music Library.xml XPath Expression

posted in Software DevelopmentWindows by martin on 14 February 2010

Took me a few minutes using SketchPath to work this out. It's the xpath expression to pull out all the location elements from the iTunes Music Library.xml file.
The resultant string still needs to be URL decoded.

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Using the eBay SOAP API from Ruby-on-Rails

posted in Ruby-on-Rails by martin on 02 October 2009

This article applies to:
Rails 2.3.4, Ruby 1.8.6, soap4r gem 1.5.8, ebay4r 1.1

I have been taking a look at ways to integrate a Rails application with eBay. They support a number of different programming interfaces and, if you are using Javascript, PHP, Java or .Net, have some good examples to follow. I managed to get a Javascript interface working quite easily from inside a Rails _form view, but it just does not feel like the most elegant solution to me.

Since eBay provide a well documented SOAP API I thought it would be a good opportunity to investigate Ruby's support for SOAP. SOAP support is a standard feature of Ruby and is provided by a library called soap4r. I tried implementing my own call to eBay's GetItem interface, but I encountered a few problems and soap4r's documentation didn't help much either. Then I discovered a library called ebay4r which is built on top of soap4r. The rest of this article describes how I successfully integrated my Rails application with eBay using ebay4r.

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Rails validation error messages

posted in Ruby-on-Rails by martin on 29 September 2009

RailsThere's no denying that Rails' built-in Forms Helpers are incredibly good. However if they have one flaw, it is the way error messages from validations are handled. The default messages generated by Rails are terse to say the least! If you provide your own message (with :message=>"blah blah", Rails automatically appends the name of the underlying field to the front of the message, which is restrictive and looks ugly.

I spent some time looking around for a good solution to this problem. I assumed it would be a simple configuration issue but it turns out the format of these messages is hard baked into the ActiveRecord::Errors.full_messages method.

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Install Ruby-on-Rails and Phusion Passenger (mod_rails) on Ubuntu 9.04

posted in LinuxRuby-on-Rails by martin on 26 August 2009

RailsI have my new Atom powered server running in the loft, now it's time to put it to use and run some of the Rails applications I've been tinkering with. The following is how I installed and configured Ruby-on-Rails on Ubuntu 9.04 Server (x86 64 bit).

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Lefora Forums

posted in Internet by martin on 23 July 2008

Thanks again to BBC Click I have discovered a great new service on the Internet. Lefora is a free forum service that lets you create a discussion forum service for your own communities. It's really easy to set up, customise and get started.

So why do I need a forum? Well I've been secretly working on my own little project and now it's time to start getting users on board. Using Lefora has enabled me to concentrate on my own service and not waste valuable time implementing another forum. You can check out my forum at  Oh yeah, my little project is at Feel free to check it out and use the forum to tell me what you think!

If you want your own free forum just click on :

free forum hosting by lefora

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