Amistad – Facebook like friendship management in Ruby on Rails

Today I’ve decided to write something about the Ruby Gems that I used. So I’ve started this series (Ruby Gems). This is the first post of the series. I will try to write regularly.

When I was working on my pet project MovieMates, I needed to implement a friend relationship. Initially, I was going to do it myself. However, later I thought I should, at least, google a bit to check if there is already some similar solutions. Then I found Amistad.

The current version of Amistad supports ActiveRecord 3.0.x, Mongoid 3.0.x and MongoMapper 0.12.0.

Installations

Add following line to your Gemfile

gem 'amistad'

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Rendering will_paginate links nicely with Twitter Bootstrap

When I was working with Moviemates (my one dream pet project), I had to use will_paginate gem for pagination of the movie listings. As the UI are based on Twitter Bootstrap, the will_paginate links (generated by its view helpers) were looking very ugly. Please check the following screenshot to see how bad it was looking!

I had to google a while for a decent look of these links. I’ve found a very effective but easy fix written by  oparrish and shared here. For your conveniences, the gist is attached here:

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Get free SMS alert on your server down (or something else)!

Well, first thing first. This blog may be little bit immoral even if it is not illegal by the provider terms of service. So, if you read this or later sentences, the responsibilities are on you.

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I am going to share an idea that I’ve personally used a bit ago (2009) in my previous office to monitor the server and get notified when any server/service is down. I wrote a small PHP application that would do the tasks. Though I planned that time to blog about it, apparently, I forgot about it. The steps of the idea is:

  • A php chunk checks server status
  • If it finds something unexpected (or may be expected; depends on your logic :)) it creates an event in your google calendar which is due just 1-3 minutes from now
  • If your SMS alert is setup in Google Calender, Google will email you about the event.

Here I will not show how to write a PHP script to monitor server. I just told it as I applied this idea for same purpose. I guess you will get lots if you google it. However, the initial version that I developed just checked site’s homepage (using CURL) and if they were returning 200 response within a sensible time limit. If the response was not 200, it would create the event for me.

How to create Event?

It’s very simple. First of all download the following classes from phpclasses.org

Put them in your project path. Create a php file. Lets assume it is createevent.php. Now include the wrapper file in createevent.php.

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Twitter can also be a source of traffic for your site

When I started studying on SEO, I came to learn twitter does not have a good link building/back link value as it adds nofollow to all links! So, I was not concentrating on it! However, suddenly I found a site where I can get followers and experiment a few things. I have to earn points by following others and in exchange of those points, I will get followers! I did not have much time to do that! So, I purchased their  paid membership for 7 days! In seven days I got more than 700 followers and still counting! Continue reading →

Google Wonder Wheel – your magic tool

Recently I am trying to learn website optimization for search engines (isn’t it better than saying Search Engine Optimization?). I am feeling liable to share those on my blog mainly for two reasons:

1. The experts will be able to catch my misunderstandings and advise better thing!

2. The novices (than me, if any) will get some basic idea from these sharing!

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Best contacts importing script written in PHP

All you know letting visitors/users invite their contacts is one of the cheapest but proven way of marketing. We can get it by placing a contact importer script in our site and requesting users to invite his/her friends by providing email address and password. The script will then contact the server and download contacts from the address book and finally will send a custom or preformatted email to bring them to our site.

But problem is the cost of such importer script. More than one year ago I have purchased such a script most probably at US$30. It can import from popular email services like Yahoo, Gmail, MSN etc. Later I have found some other scripts that can download contacts from a few more sites.

But throwing all them behind, lately I found the most fabulous, most fantastic, most robust and cheapest contact importing script titled “OpenInvite”. If may not believe the previous sentence until you visit their website. It can import contacts from nearly all major email services and social networking sites. I have counted about 48.  Continue reading →

New browser, more pain!

Yesterday, Google kicked off the beta of their new browser, Chrome. I found almost every mailing list, forum, group is discussing regarding this release.

Yesterday, I have also downloaded and installed it. After using a while, I did not find anything for which I should leave my Firefox/Flock. The one thing I found well that there are bigger space to see the webpage as there is not any toolbar, menubar which usually takes a good height. I also found a new feature, Incognito, which will not store your browsing history. In a few cases its a good thing; but you know for whom!

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Hate Monopoly !!! Need more search engines

I believe, many people will write negative comments against me if I say something against Google. But being my personal blog, I still must say what I think.

I am a great fan of Google, specially google search and gmail.

I was a big of MSN too. But switched due to excessive irrelevant search result. Google gives better or best. Again, gmail for not any big ads and conversation like messages. Space was a big issues earlier but not now. Continue reading →