Open source

Why does PHP still suck on OSX?

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I'm a little puzzled and frustrated with Apple.

With Macs, or more specifically OSX, becoming the platform of choice for web developers world over, why do they still insist in neutering our capabilities by bundling limited versions of the most common web development tools rather than all or nothing? With Leopard they at least improved the Ruby install to the point it was useful (you could actually now run Rails without having to compile from source) but PHP is missing so much functionality through the lack of pear and shared libraries to make it a pain to use.

On Linux it's almost standard practice to compile PHP from source, because so few installations include all of the required libraries (due to varied quantities of "suck"). Amusingly on Windows you can obtain all of the libraries out of the box and just enable the ones needed. Contrast this to OSX, which promotes itself as being so much better than Windows, and you get the worst of both worlds - no source to compile and an incomplete binary install.

Even if they insist in bundling their own customized build with the OS, the least they could do is make all of their customized source builds available through MacForge, which would allow those of us who need more than the basics to at least keep our recompilations matched to Apple's standards.

Come on Apple, do the right thing!

geocoder forked & uploaded to github

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For a Rails project I'm working on I started using the geocoder gem for zipcode validation. Unfortunately the release that was available via gem was flaky and would often crash if you queried for just a zipcode instead of a full address. With some digging around I discovered that the code in its subversion repository had some fixes applied that hadn't been pushed out to the gem, and after testing them it sure enough was much more robust. Well, this sounded like an excellent use of github! So what I've done is uploaded the SVN code to a new project, I've updated the version number and marked it as available for downloading as a gem. Go git some geocoder goodness!

How to migrate from cvs to git

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Something that I've seen with several older projects lately is a desire to upgrade from their aging cvs repositories to something better. Today, if you've read my blog lately at all, you might be able to guess that git has become the r.c.s. du jour, and it's really, really awesome too. So you should use it.

So how to move from cvs to git? Well, amusingly for that I've got a suggestion.

Instead of going straight to git, go to subversion as a stopping off point at the server level. One key reason I recommend this is that many developers (or managers) aren't yet ready to deal with git's command-line tools while there are lots of really great graphical svn tools on Windows, like TortoiseSVN. Then, when there's TortoiseGIT available you could migrate up to git with very little work.

To do this you'll use the excellent cvs2svn, and take a look at O'Reilly's excellent cvs2svn tutorial if you need detailed help.

Then, once you get svn going as your central repository you can use git-svn to locally interact with it and to have all of the usual git gravy - create local branches, use gitosis and gitjour to directly share your code with others, all while keeping the less technically savvy users happy with their point-and-click GUI tools.

So go git yourself into the 21st century!

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