My first Redcar plugin

19 August, 2011 Comments off

As a small thank you to the Redcar team for such a great editor and in the spirit of giving a little bit back I’m documenting the process of creating my first plugin.


I really like the idea of the Redcar editor. Its written in Ruby, its possible to write your own plugins what’s not to like? Though I must confess I don’t use it as my day to day editor, I wonder if writing my own plugins will change that.

Let see how easy it is to write a plugin for Redcar.

What’s da big idea

The idea for my first plugin is rather ambitious considering I’ve no idea how to write a plugin. I’d like to replicate some of the functionality of Live Reload – basically refresh a browser web page whenever I save a file in Redcar. This will save me constantly hitting refresh in the browser when working with Backbone.js.

I’m hoping to trap the save event of Redcar and call out to my browser (Chrome) and tell it to refresh the page.

Install Redcar

I first followed the install instructions:

All good no problems there (I’m running on a Mac OSX 10.7.1)

Plugin Guides

I then read the plugin guides I found here:


Setting up a plugin is really easy and well described in the guides listed above. Redcar itself is made up of a bunch of plugin’s so there are no end of great examples to follow in the source code (

For trapping the save event I dug into the source code and came across the method project_refresh_task_type which is called on all plugins after a save. To hook into this process my plugin simply defines the method:

def self.project_refresh_task_type

This may not be the best place to hook into save, Redcar has the concept of events and that may be a better place to look but for now this is working.

Browser refresh script

RefreshBrowser is a Redcar::Task which I have created to run the browser refresh script.

I managed to find a script to refresh the browser here:

The script uses a keyword to identify which tab to refresh in the browser so I needed this to be saved and configurable somewhere. Luckily Redcar has a storage mechanism built right in.


Redcar’s storage mechanism allows you to easily store configuration data into a yaml file.

def storage
@storage ||='live_reload_plugin')
@storage.set_default('keyword', '')

Here I am using this mechanism to store the ‘keyword’ used by the RefreshBrowser task. This allows the user to edit the yaml file via the Redcar plugin preferences. It’s also possible to setup a nice edit page but for now this will do.


You can find the source for this plugin here:

Was it easy?

YES! The Redcar team have done a great job and made it incredibly easy to create your own plugins. In a couple of hours I made a useful plugin, useful to me at least. I’ve spent more time fussing over this blog post than developing the plugin.

So what you waiting for? Go give it a try!

Categories: General, Ruby Tags:

Upload files to Sharepoint from linux

20 July, 2011 Comments off


It seemed almost impossible to penetrate the fortress that is Sharepoint with only NTLM authentication enabled. Turns out its really easy when you know how.

curl to the rescue!

You can upload files using curl directly into Sharepoint via it’s HTTP PUT interface.

curl --ntlm --user username:password --upload-file myfile.xls

Told you, easy when you know how.

Categories: General

Shibboleth settings for TorqueBox

16 July, 2011 Comments off

Authentication Settings

Notes on setting up Shibboleth against an Apache Reverse Proxy to TorqueBox.

Config File: /etc/httpd/conf.d/shib.conf

ShibUseHeaders On
AuthType shibboleth
ShibRequestSetting requireSession 1
require valid-user

The ‘ShibUseHeaders On‘ setting tells Shibboleth to pass along its attributes as request headers so your sinatra/rails application can gain access to them allowing you to implement your own authorisation system.

Simple Authorisation

If you don’t need a complex authorisation system and you don’t mind users seeing a standard Shibboleth authorisation error page:

You can implement this via your Shibboleth settings using the require statement:

ShibUseHeaders On
AuthType shibboleth
ShibRequestSetting requireSession 1
require grouper_groups ~ MySecurityGroup

Here we require the custom grouper_groups attribute matches on the regular expression after the ‘~‘. Basically to access the protected url the user must be a member of the MySecurityGroup.

Top Tip

When playing with your Shib settings don’t forget to restart httpd to see the affect.
sudo /sbin/service httpd restart

Categories: torquebox

Setup Apache Reverse Proxy to Torquebox

16 July, 2011 Comments off

Setup Apache as a Reverse Proxy in front of a standalone Torquebox server.

Apache Setup

Proxy Module

For this to work Apache must have the mod_proxy module loaded:

Config file: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

ProxyRequests Off # Switch off forward proxy
ProxyPreserveHost On # Pass host name onto the proxy
ProxyPass /myapp http://localhost:8080/myapp/ # Map url to remote server
ProxyPassReverse /myapp http://localhost:8080/myapp/ # Adjust header sent from remote server to match url

Here we are passing all calls to the /myapp/ url on to the Torquebox server http://localhost:8080/myapp/

TorqueBox Setup

In your Torquebox application folder create a file ‘config/torquebox.yml’ which contains a context which matches the Apache reverse proxy url.


context: /myapp
version: 1.9

Categories: General, torquebox

TorqueBox – gem install error

14 July, 2011 Comments off

TorqueBox Install

I’m playing with latest version of TorqueBox (Currently 2.x.incremental.245) the easiest way to install it is via a gem:

gem install torquebox-server --pre --source

Full details on the TorqueBox blog (


Anyhoose when doing the gem install on my dev server (CentOS 5.6) I got the error:

Error: Your application used more memory than the safety cap of 500m.
Specify -J-Xmx####m to increase it (#### = cap size in MB).


After a bit digging around it turns out you need to set the heap size when running the gem install:

jruby -J-Xmx900m -S gem install torquebox-server --pre --source

More details on stackoverflow.

Hope that helps someone or maybe me if have to do this again!

Categories: torquebox


12 July, 2011 Comments off


scp ~/.ssh/


sudo mkdir /home/git/myrepo
cd /home/git/myrepo
sudo git --bare init
sudo chown -R git:git /home/git/myrepo


mkdir myrepo
cd myrepo
git init

# add some files

git add .
git commit -m "added some files"

git remote add origin
git push origin master

rm -r myrepo/
git clone

Categories: git

Rails new app workflow

11 January, 2011 Comments off

These are the steps I take when creating a new Rails app, documented here for when I forget.

Create app

rails new <app_name>

cd <app_name>


git init

git add .

git commit –m ‘Initial commit’

Remember: Rails generates a .gitignore file for us.

rvm and gemsets

rvm gemset create <app_name>

echo ‘rvm use 1.9.2@<app_name>’ >> .rvmrc

echo ‘.rvmrc’ >> .gitignore

Creates a .rvmrc file in current directory that way when you cd into this directory rvm automatically switches to the correct version of ruby and the gemset we just created.

Change in and out of the directory to get rvm to kick in:

cd ..

cd <app_name>


Edit ./Gemfile and add the following lines.

gem ‘haml’

group :test do

    gem ‘rspec’

    gem ‘rspec-rails’


Then install and run bundler:

gem install bundler

bundle install


Generate the rspec files:

rails g rspec:install

Categories: Ruby on Rails Tags: