technology from back to front

Archive for May, 2013

Page objects in Ruby

… because “clicking a button” should not exist in your domain language.

When we write tests, we want to be able to write them in a way which is relevant to the problem the application (or sub-component) solves, rather than how it is implemented. So, if you get an urge to reimplement natural numbers, then you want to avoid testing them in terms of the objects under the hood for several reasons. A big one being that the tests will be coupled to the implementation, meaning that they will likely break if you change how the code works.

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Ceri Storey

A Double Fugue in Traits

Traits provide a means of composing an object’s functionality out of smaller, simpler parts. Verbs being limited in number, especially good ones, sometimes you want to compose two traits that share names. Today we’re going to look at how to resolve the dispute.

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Frank Shearar

Testing Ansible playbooks with Vagrant

One of the projects here at LShift uses ansible to configure its EC2 machines. I needed to refactor the playbook in a minor way. But of course “refactor” doesn’t just mean “change the code”. It means “change the code (presumably for the better) while preserving behaviour“. I really didn’t want to check the change by running the playbook against a production deployment! So what to do?

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Frank Shearar

LShift presents at Royal Academy

LShift presented one of its research projects to an audience at the Royal Academy last month.

“Typesetr” goes straight to the root of the problem of automating the process of converting raw copy to carefully crafted templates and out to production-ready print PDFs. Ingesting multiple input file types (from Google Docs to Microsoft Word) the system allows users to apply rich templates and add complex metadata for the intended platforms (PDF, e-book, mobi and more).

The RA event was hosted by the Technology Strategy Board and several organisations who had participated in its grant awards (including LShift) presented the results of their work in the “Increasing the Value of Metadata” stream.

LShift’s Keith Fisher presented and joined a panel Q&A session where several representatives from academic institutions were keen to know more about Typesetr’s applicability to and use within the academic publishing sphere. Let’s just say, “More to follow…”


iOS Enterprise Program: Distribution certificates

To develop apps for iOS you need an Apple Developer Account. There is the normal developer program which costs $99/year and allows you to distribute apps publically through the app store. However, there is also the Enterprise account which costs $300/year. With the Enterprise account (which only businesses can apply for) you are unable to distribute via the app store, but you can distribute to devices belonging to your organisation directly (“in-house”), without passing through Apple’s approval process, and without having to deal with ad-hoc provisioning.

A client of ours has an Enterprise Account and I was tasked with using their account to distribute the app for testing. To do this I needed to create a Distribution certificate (as opposed to a Development certificate). However, the option was greyed-out – disabled. What to do?
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Martin Eden

LShift hosts San Sebastián

LShift was delighted to host a sizeable delegation of tech companies
from the Basque region recently. The Economic Development Agency for
the city of San Sebastián brought representatives from 22 companies
to spend a day discussing a variety of issues and (with expert
simultaneous translators on hand) pose a wide range of questions from
how LShift was founded to how it sustains and develops its lead
developer model.

Our visitors represented a range of company types, from small startups
through to the region’s largest media concern. The overarching theme
of the discussions was how LShift managed to break down the
intermediate layers of management, communications and control in large
project deliveries and put senior developers into project leadership

There was, admittedly, a healthy dose of scepticism as we presented
our model in the abstract. It was when we covered our project
portfolios in specific detail that we attained that ‘a ha’ moment
and went off for a fantastic evening’s meal and more conversation.

LShift will be strengthening its relationship with San Sebastián this
year as we complete a search for interns to come on board for the




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