Tag Archives: Twill

The Productivity Continuum: Ruby for Big Companies

Meeting review/notes from May 2, 2007

On Wednesday, May 2, Joe O'Brien made the trip from Columbus to present a talk on Ruby for the Enterprise, for the Ann Arbor Computer Society.  We first made Joe's acquaintance in the time leading up to CodeMash 2007, when he saw that we were looking for Ruby speakers and he stepped up (and also promoted the heck out of it, so thanks much, Joe!).  Joe helped to found the Columbus Ruby Brigade, and he's recently written a book on domain specific languages (DSLs), which should be available soon.  The book isn't available for order yet (as far as I can tell), but the title is:

Pragmatic DSLs In Ruby: Fluent Interfaces for your Code by Zak Tamsen, Jeremy Stell-Smith, Joe O’Brien, Neal Ford

I had originally thought that the talk was going to be on Ruby on Rails, but Rails was definitely only a small part of it.  Rails is an example of a DSL used for web programming.  Joe focused on integrating Ruby into the enterprise.  He talked about how you can integrate with Java, if your back end is already written in Java.  He said that he gets dirty looks from Ruby programmers for even suggesting a thing, but Joe strikes me as a pragmatic guy.  He wants to use powerful tools to solve problems, but he understands that it doesn't always make good business sense to go in and rip everything out and start over.

Joe talked a lot about Ruby as an "enterprise glue" language, for accomplishing specific tasks.

After hearing horror stories about deploying Ruby apps, I was glad to hear Joe talk about Capistrano, which he says simplifies all of that.  Another developer whose opinion I trust immensely, Barry Hawkins from Atlanta, concurs.

He described a few other tools, including RubyGems (akin to Python's cheeseshop, this is one-stop shopping for Ruby components). Watir is used for web application testing in Ruby.  It looks a lot like twill (written in Python), to me.

Joe is hosting the Enterprise Ruby Conference in Columbus July 16-18.  It looks like a great conference, with some really great speakers.  The cost is discounted to $199 for user groups (AACS members can contact the AACS for a discount code, and other user groups can get one from Joe).  He's heavily promoting this event to user groups, and I think that's a fantastic idea.

This was a great talk and I was really glad that I was able to attend, and that we were able to spirit Joe up to Ann Arbor to speak.  I don't know if I will get down to the Ruby Conference, but I'm sure it will be a great experience for those who can.



Web testing in Ruby
Deploying Ruby apps
Enterprise Ruby Conference
(blog entry description)

Python User Group Meeting Summary

Python User Group Meeting Summary

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Ann Arbor Python User Group usually meets on the first Thursday of every month, but Titus Brown was in town this week, so the meeting was moved so that he could attend and participate. Titus talked about Twill, his testing tool. You can use twill to test web apps from the command line using python-based commands, very convenient indeed. His package descended from Cory Dodt’s PBP, and is based on the Python “mechanize” package.

Twill isn’t able to test Javascript, but Selenium does a great job of that. Scotch is a collection of WSGI modules that record wsgi transactions.

Jason Pellerin was also at the meeting, and he talked a little bit about Nose (not much, mainly just about Titus’ use of it, and the fact that Titus has extended it). Hoping he attends more frequently and does some more in-depth sessions.

The original plan, before Titus’ appearance was planned, was that Bruce Webber would talk about wxPython. Instead of rescheduling his talk, Bruce and Titus both talked. It was great. I learned a ton about wxPython, and look forward to trying out some GUI programming in Python with them.

Here is a link to resources from the talk, including both links from Titus and slides and links from Bruce. http://www.michipug.org/index.cgi/OctoberMeeting

Ann Arbor user group meetings, Oct 3 and 4

It's going to be a very cool week in Ann Arbor, next week. And no, I'm not talking about the football game.

Got some time to attend some user group meetings? Next week looks VERY cool; I just wish I could be in 2 places at the same time on Tuesday!

The following announcement is from the Michigan Python User Group on Google.

Python User Group

Arbor Networks

Tuesday October 3, 2007

7 pm

There are a couple of opportunities for people to get exposure to Python next week. First, the Python user group meeting, which is usually held on the first Thursday of each month, is being moved to Tuesday Oct. 3 for this month only, to accommodate a special guest speaker, Titus Brown, the author of the Twill testing tool. Jason Pellerin, the author of the Nose testing tool, may also be present, so this is an excellent chance for people to talk about automated testing with folks in the know.

Bruce Webber will be talking about wxPython, which is always a hot topic.

The Michigan Python Users Group will be meeting at Arbor Networks on  
Tuesday 10/3 at 7PM.


The downtown Ann Arbor location worked out well for heading out  
afterwards. Come join us!


Unfortunately this conflicts with a very cool meeting at the Ann Arbor Java User Group (the following is from the Java User Group promo announcement):

An alternative to Code Generated GUIs

Washtenaw Community College

Tuesday October 3, 2007

7:30 pm

BuoyBuilder is a graphical user interface (GUI) designer and object configuration tool. It is for putting together user interfaces composed of windows, buttons, text fields and other visual elements for Java Swing applications. It also allows you to save your designed user interface and recover it back into the tool later for further modifications. But BuoyBuilder is much more than just a layout tool. With BuoyBuilder, you are working with real, live objects. These objects are usually Buoy Widgets, but BuoyBuilder allows instantiation and configuration of virtually any object. It also allows you to make connections between objects, which are persisted when the file is saved and restored when loaded. This leads to a substantial reduction in tedious infrastructure code. BuoyBuilder is a tool for building GUI applications enabling you to get the most functionality out of the least amount of code. BuoyBuilder's philosophy is to simplify application development by reducing the amount of code needed to do the job.


Jack Rosenzweig is the Vice-President and co-founder of 94West, LLC. Jack has worked in the software industry in Ann Arbor for the last 14 years in various roles from field trainer to product manager to IT director to director of development, all at MediaSpan (formerly known as Baseview Products). Jack launched 94West, LLC in the winter of 2006 with his partners to bring BuoyBuilder to market.

Peter Johnson is the President and co-founder of 94West, LLC. Peter has been developing software in Ann Arbor professionally for the last 13 years. Peter is fluent in Java, Swing, J2EE, Objective-C, C++ and C among other languages and environments. Peter wrote BuoyBuilder when he was unable to find anything nearly as good as Apple's Interface Builder for Java GUI design.

Washtenaw Community College

Click for map:

Contact email:


TurboGears Web Development (Wednesday, October 4)

Ann Arbor IT Zone/Spark Central.  330 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor MI
 Wednesday, October 4, 2006
6:00 PM

Mark Ramm is going to be talking about TurboGears at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting on Wednesday October 4. Here’s an abstract for the talk (from AACS promo announcement):

TurboGears is part of a new generation of web development frameworks
designed to make development of database driven, Ajax enabled, web
applications easier.  The discussion will cover:

1. How well designed frameworks can increase productivity, maintainability,
and generally make web application development more fun.
2. How Ajax is integrated into the core of TurboGears, and how you can use it
to make your web applications more dynamic and easier to use.
3. He'll compare TurboGears to some other popular web development
environments, so you can better evaluate when TurboGears might be the right
tool for the job.

Mark Ramm is the author of the forthcoming "Rapid Web Applications with
TurboGears." He is IT Manager for Humantech, inc. Over the years, he has
programmed Web applications in a wide range of technologies, including
Python, TurboGears, CGI, Perl, PHP, ASP, Java Struts, and Ruby on Rails.
He has written for Linux Magazine and various online publications, and
maintains an IT Management blog (http://compoundthinking.com).
In his free time, Mark is working on a project to designing new collaborative
learning experiences around open source technologies.

AACS meetings are free and open to the public.
      Supporting membership is $20 per year, qualifying you for door prizes and voting