I'm now starting work on implementing the new MyMuds.com site. As mentioned in the Ruby on Rails blog entry, I have decided to try something new and use Ruby on Rails instead of PHP for developing this website. I mentioned my reasons for choosing RoR in the other blog, and also mentioned the Aptana Studio IDE with RadRails that I will be using.
Today I started actually using Aptana for writing real code. Already I have found several flaws. These are actually pretty surprising in my opinion. Supposedly RadRails was a popular IDE for a while before Aptana took it over. They just released the 1.0 version, and as far as I'm concerned, it's full of annoying problems that make it hard to use as a coding editor.
For example, when you enter <%= to embed ruby code in a template, it doesn't auto-complete the closing %> like it should. If you want to use the built-in "erb" template to expand <%= and %> then you enter "erb" (without the quotes) and press Ctrl-Space. Unfortunately, rather than inserting the template, it just brings up a pull-down menu showing the matching templates (of which there is just one). You can't even just press Enter to select the single template that is shown...you have to press down-arrow and then Enter.
The default indention value is set to 4. I'd rather use only 2 spaces, since that is the style I am used to. There is a preferences page to change this. Only problem is that it doesn't work. Pressing the Tab key to indent still indents 4 spaces instead of 2.
I've filed bug reports for these issues (along with several other people). But I just can't believe that basic editing stuff like this is broken. Apparently most of this stuff used to work in older versions, so they've just recently screwed it up. But it makes Aptana very annoying to use as a code editor.
Which is unfortunate since a lot of the rest of Aptana is very nice. It does a good job displaying the RoR project structure (although it is making duplicate file entries for *.html.erb files, which is another new reported bug). It is very easy to run the Rails application and see it in Firefox, and easy to debug. It has a nice Rails console too.
With the PHP plugin, I also have Aptana configured to do my normal Zuggsoft.com PHP editing (instead of Dreamweaver). The FTP interface seems to work fine, and I am able to easily compare the rendering of some pages between Firefox and IE (I have some work to do on that since IE is looking pretty ugly for some of the pages on this site unfortunately).
So, with all of the good stuff, I would like to keep using Aptana if they can get these annoying usability bugs fixed quickly. I guess this will be a good test to see what their support is like and how quickly they respond to problems.
Unfortunately, it's just another example of how it's the "little things" that really matter and that you can't judge a product by it's screencast demos. For now I'm going to keep using it, but if I start running into too many more bugs, I'm going to get impatient and start looking at other IDEs (No, don't start suggesting alternatives...yet).
Oh, I also wasted some more time today with MySql. One of the perks of using Ruby on Rails is that it nicely separates the Development environment from the Test and Production environments. I know that I probably could have set up a local server that executed PHP scripts if I spent time on it, but RadRails made it trivial to set up a local RoR development and test environment. This will allow me to develop MyMuds.com locally without messing with the server deployment issues yet.
Part of the local environment is getting MySQL up and running. So I downloaded the latest MySQL 5.0 and installed it on Vista. But it didn't run the configuration program. When I tried running it manually as Admin, it gave some sort of "side-by-side configuration error". When I looked this up in the MySQL forums, I found a solution that involved editing the resources of the configuration EXE program and changing part of the manifest. The shipped version was set to *prevent* execution as admin, instead of requiring execution as admin. This made it impossible to run the config program on Vista.
What really annoyed me is that this bug was reported over a month ago, and MySQL still hasn't released an update to fix this. And this is a huge issue for Vista users...most users are not going to download a ResHacker program and go into an EXE file to edit a manifest!
Anyway, I finally got that fixed and got MySQL configured. But then when I tried to connect via MySql-Front, I got an error about the authentication not being supported. Apparently they changed authentication methods in MySQL 4.1. Even though the Zuggsoft server is using v4.2, it apparently still works with MySql-Front because it was upgraded from an older version and still had the old-version passwords stored.
But before I really learned about the cause for this problem, I decided that it would be better if I was running a version of MySQL locally that matched the server. So instead of running 5.0, I should run 4.2. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any download for v4.2 on the MySQL site. They just had v4.1. I decided that was good enough, so I uninstalled v5 and then installed v4.1. At least it didn't have the Vista problem with the config program. But it still had the authentication problem.
I finally learned about the --old-passwords option on the server and that fixed the problem. Of course, what I really needed was a newer version of MySQL-Front that supported this new authentication. But MySQL-Front was discontinued. But after some Google searching, I learned that the project was renamed to HeidiSQL (www.heidisql.com), so I was also able to get the latest version of this program to manage the MySQL server.
Finally, after all of this I was able to create the local database for MyMuds.com and get the Rails application running for the first time.
Nothing ever seems to work easily for me for some reason!
Joined: 25 Sep 2000 Posts: 23377 Location: Colorado, USA
Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:31 pm
Apparently I wasn't changing the indent values in the correct spot...their Preferences pages are a bit confusing. But I got a quick support answer that helped me fix the indent problem, so at least that is fixed now. And that bodes well for good support.