Jun 212006

I finally got fed up with Tiles and wrote something new. Naymz had a bunch of random exceptions in the logs and almost all of them were caused by Tiles. I started digging and eventually just got mad at the whole situation. WebWork had repackaged tiles and apache was still supporting the Struts tiles. I didn’t want to spend all day fixing WebWork to use the Struts tiles and I also didn’t want to figure out if there were major differences between these two that could be causing the problem. Plus, tiles uses the digester for parsing XML, which seemed to fail at random. This code was quite thick and I knew it could be done in a much lighter weight and concise manner.

So, I threw out a simple XSD for the format and then implemented the parser and tag lib and 7 hours later I had Bluprints 0.1 up and running. This thing is pretty suite. It supports nesting, extensions, parameters, page references, and a bunch of other little cool features. It’s really simple to learn and I’m hoping to write some docs for it this coming week. I’m also hoping that because it is so simple and lightweight that folks start using it and helping to test and develop it. We’ll see about that though. Plus, it has no dependencies except on the J2EE libraries and WebWork, but only if you use WebWork. Lastly, it is running on a live production site already https://www.naymz.com.

Anyways, feel free to check it out over at Source Forge. Here’s the link to the project.


Jun 132006

For those that don’t know what I’ve been up to for the past month or so, the site I’ve been working on has launched. The site is located at https://www.naymz.com. I’ll give a quick run down of what we do and what technologies we used.

First of all Naymz is an online identity site. We don’t manage all your passwords like FireFox does, we manage who you are. Naymz let’s you sign up and create a profile. On your profile you can create links to all the other websites you have accounts on like your blog, Flickr, YouTube, whatever. This allows folks to quickly browse through all your online stuff.

Second, we work with search engines so that when people search for your name, they’ll find your Naymz profile. We do this in two ways:

  • We have a great way for search engines like Google and others to find your Naymz profile naturally. This is a process where the search engines scrap sites to find keywords to index by. These are the results you see in a normal online search.
  • If you want to ensure top placement we’ll put up a sponsored link for your name. These are the links you see at the top in blue or on the right hand side in white that say “Sponsored Link”. This is the real value of Naymz because it allows folks to find you quickly and correctly.

Now, the technologies we have used are pretty new. We are a Java based web application and use Spring 2.0, Hibernate 3.2, Hibernate Annotations, WebWork 2.2, Prototype, DWR, MySQL 5.0 and others. Those that follow my technology blog postings probably have seen various posts about difficulties we encountered during development. I’m planning on doing a number of articles covering the good and bad of many of the frameworks we have used, so stay tuned.

One of my favorite features that we have built is a mechanism for users to quickly add links to their other online accounts. Many times websites such as Amazon and MySpace make it very difficult to share links with others or use them in blogs and postings. We’ve designed a very flexible system that not only allows us to quickly build these links, but we also test them to ensure that they are correct and also allows us to add new sites quickly. If you haven’t already played around with our link generation feature, I urge you to try it out. Of course if you find bugs, send them my way via email or blog comments.

Finally, if you want to see how cool Naymz really is just Google for “Brian Pontarelli”.

Jun 062006

I can’t recall if I already posted this, but I did manage to get the VGA output working in order to use a external monitor or projector for my Dell 700m on Ubuntu. For this laptop the Fn-F8 key doesn’t work for whatever reason. Probably some BIOS or motherboard firmware problem that requires a driver in windows. Anyways, trying to use i810switch or i855crt both produce horrible results. Therefore, the only way to get this to work is to enable a dual head configuration.

In order to do this, just add these two Option lines to your xorg.conf file:

Found this great page after much searching and most of the configurations work well.

Jun 062006

I just tried to setup DomainDNS for the Naymz.com DNS and found out after a number of headaches that this service is completely dead. There 7 lookup servers aren’t contactable on port 53. So, in case anyone is wondering, http://domaindns.com (http://dd.net) is completely worthless.

Jun 042006

This is a response to a comment about Ubuntu that is on this blog entry. The person was having trouble setting a root password. This is really simple, but not really needed for almost everything since Ubuntu gives your user sudo privileges, which allow you to do anything root can. You simple prefix the command with ‘sudo’ and type in YOUR password. However, if you absolutely MUST log in as root, just do this to set a root password:

This sets the root password and you can now log in as root like this: