Supporting Multiple Versions of Ruby on OSX 10.6.7

April 25, 2011

I wanted a clean way of upgrading the default ruby 1.8.7 installation on my new Mac OSX 10.6.7 host, and couldn’t locate a decent explanation. As a result I’ve spent surprisingly little time unpicking the dependencies and getting my shiny new ruby 1.9.x installation sorted. Here’s how I achieved that. (Please note you need to have XCode installed if you plan to build the ruby installation from source.)

Firstly it’s important to understand the landscape when considering this upgrade. Firstly, the existing 1.8.x ruby installation exists in the /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework location. Beneath that root folder is a Versions folder. Versions contained another folder called 1.8 (referring to the version of ruby contained therein) and a symlink by the name of Current, which pointed to that 1.8 folder.

Decision 1: Seemed like a good idea to place all my future versions of ruby in version-aware subfolders in this …/Ruby.framework/Versions folder.

Next thing to understand is that all of the key commands relating to using the ruby framework (e.g. ruby, gem, irb, erb, …) live in the /usr/bin folder. Each of these commands are symlinks to executable files within the current ruby framework subtree. The convention here can be seen in this example:

/usr/bin/ruby -> /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/Current/usr/bin/ruby

Next thing to understand is that all of the key commands relating to using the ruby framework (e.g. ruby, gem, irb, erb, …) live in the /usr/bin folder. Each of these commands are symlinks to executable files within the

Decision 2: If I correctly install all my subsequent versions of ruby into this same location then it should be possible for me to simply modify the Current symlink in the …/Ruby.framework/Versions folder to set the active ruby version I wish to use. All /usr/bin dependencies can simply resolve to the correct subfolder beneath the frameworks root.

Next I downloaded the latest source distribution from somewhere, in my case I used the 1.9.2 source from here ( After downloading and unpacking into a temporary folder, I then executed the following commands from the root of the ruby source folder structure:

  1. sudo mkdir /System/Frameworks/Library/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.9.2/usr to create the new version subtree root.
  2. ./configure –prefix=/System/Frameworks/Library/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.9.2/usr to instruct the make utility to use my new installation folder for the deployment of the newly compiled binaries.
  3. sudo make && make install to create my new subtree and binaries beneath my newly created target.
When all that is done, assuming it goes OK, you will have all the necessary ruby executables in the subfolders beneath …/1.9.2/usr location but your system will still be set to use the ‘Current’ version which in my case was the pre-installed 1.8.7 version.
Final thing to do is to re-link the …/Ruby.framework/Versions/Current link to the 1.9.2 folder. I simply executed the following from the …/Ruby.framework/Versions folder:
  1. sudo unlink Current
  2. sudo ln -s 1.9.2 Current
When I now run my ruby commands – they report the correct version of 1.9.2. When and if I decide to revert to another version I can simply modify this Current link, and that can be made even easier with some alias’s and other bash helpers.

New Semantic Integration Blog…

September 7, 2010

I have recently created a secondary and more specialised blog called ‘Semantic Integration Therapy‘ given my focus is now beginning to shift to this particular discipline. Semantic Integration in my terminology and context relates to achieving more effective application integration and SOA solutions by extending the traditional integration contract (XSD and informal documentation) with a more sementically aware mechanism. As such I’m now deep-diving into the use of XMLSchema pluse Schematron, RDF, OWL and commercial tooling such as Progress DXSI. There is a heavy overlap with the Semantic Web Community, but my focus is moreso on the transactional integration space within the Enterprise, as opposed to the holistic principles of the third generation or semantic web.

Xerces DOMParser funny…

May 1, 2010

Working with Xerces DOMParser I have noticed a weird exception being reported arbitrarily by certain instance documents. This exception message is “The processing instruction target matching “[xX][mM][lL]” is not allowed.“. Looking at the XML source file it does have the normal <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?> prefix so was initially unsure why this exception was firing every now and then?

Turns out that using the Xerces (JDK default) DOMParser  implementation, there is a parser exception ONLY if there are blank lines in the XML document before the <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?> declaration..??

Removing these blank lines (NOT the XML declaration header) allows the parser to complete successfully. I don’t profess to understand the science bit here, but this did knock me off track for a while. Interested to hear what relevance the blank lines do have in a document where whitespace is irrelevant…?

Xerces, XmlBeans and XML Schema Import Resolver

April 30, 2010

I’ve been developing a framework to provide XML validation/assurance tools based on a range of parser/validator implementations in Java. A recent experience warranted flagging, given I’ve been surprised at the number or credible examples out there on yonder interweb.

The Headline

XmlBeans 2.5 and Xerces 2.9 behave differently when using a runtime schema/resource resolver. XmlBeans relies on the use of the EntityResolver interface whereas Xerces relies on the LSResourceResolver interface, but the way the XMLSchema <import /> statement is put together causes some consistency problems in terms of how these resolvers are used…

The Goal

Take a WSDL (with inline-schema) and then use that WSDL to validate XML instance documents. You cannot validate directly with a WSDL, and therefore as a developer you spend time messing with tools to extract schema and so forth. This tool will greatly simplify this process among other things. This approach involves unpacking the inline XML Schema documents in such a way that multiple XSD fragments can be utilised at the point of validation.

The Approach

Open the WSDL, extract the schemas taking care to maintain the namespace declarations from the outer WSDL definitions section now that XSD’s will become independent XSD files and unable to inherit through context. Spin up a version of XmlBeans and Xerces, and generate a n-way schema validation report this catering for variations in the level of compliance in any one validating parser.

The Problem

Some of the WSDL documents are very complex. They contain many, sometimes hundreds of hierarchically related XML Schema fragments, each of which ‘imports’ the namespaces of numerous other schema fragments. Clearly when I separate the XSD’s from the WSDL these imports cannot resolve through inherited context so I have to make sure that I can resolve these at runtime when the validating parsers are fed the root schema. Problem is the inline schemas in the WSDL contain only a namespace import:

<import namespace=”http://some.other.namespace&#8221; />

And when this is exported to a standalone XSD file, you need to use a runtime SchemaResolver to acquire the other related XSD files such that the XmlBeans or Xerces engines can assimilate all of the type and namespace set necessary to validate the specified XML instance document. I spent a lot of time diagnosing why my XmlBeans implementation was not triggering the necessary ‘tell me where this schema lives?‘ events, such that element references were remaining unresolved, and the validation of the XML instance document was failing. With exactly the same input artifacts the Xerces resolver was happily going about it’s business and allowing me to feed it schema fragments all the way home.

So Watch Out For This…

If you are using XmlBeans, and you want to use a root XMLSchema to validate an XML document, but if the root XMLSchema contains <import /> statements, then you must have a schemaLocation present.

<import namespace=”http://some.other.namespace&#8221;  schemaLocation=”file:/some.where”/>

Only with the schemaLocation present will the core XmlBeans.compileXsd() function call out to your custom EntityResolver such that you can then map the requested ‘namespace’ to a physical input source. On the other hand the Xerces parser will work with the shorter format which is already present in my

<import namespace=”http://some.other.namespace&#8221; />

Now the only problem here is that I did not want to modify the XMLSchema artifacts I was extracting from the WSDL on the basis that I am offering a service based on the inputs supplied. However, I have been forced into a position of needing to inject a schemaLocation tag into all the XSD’s as I’m extracting them from the parent WSDL. That said I am not specifying a physical location for the schemaLocation, merely reiterating the same generic namespace. I do this to just force the trigger of the resolver events, from which I then use only the supplied namespace=”http://some.other.namespace&#8221; tag in conjunction with some context information that I know in relation to where I put the schemas in my file-system, to resolve and supply the linkage to the required schema. This is sufficiently generic that I don’t deem it to be overly intrusive into the base schema, and I end up with the following modified import statements:

<import namespace=”http://external.namespace&#8221;  schemaLocation=”http://external.namespace”/&gt;

With this format I get uniform behaviour between XmlBeans and Xerces. Both call out to my runtime resolvers which are then able to use a simple mapping scheme to supply the schema content and I now able to operate consistently.

This did take me a long time to diagnose, so hopefully it will be of use to others.

Spring MVC: Serving Static and Dynamic Content

April 6, 2010

I have been revisiting SpringMVC recently as a basis for creating a web application. I had a positive experience some time ago building out a RESTful abstraction layer across a range of disparate data-sources. primarily for programmatic access, so I wanted to build on that learning and create a fully featured web-app this time around.

Whilst I really like the Spring MVC framework, I am completely amazed that in some cases it is almost impossible to find simple explanations about relatively simple things involved in building out a web-application. This post is motivated by that lack of clarity, and after a few days of googling, I now believe I’ve evolved at least one of the myriad common-sense approaches to serving up both static and dynamic content from a Spring MVC applicaiton.

Firstly my environment:

Mac OS/X 10.6
Java 1.6.0_17
Spring 2.5.5
Tomcat 6.0.24

Secondly the goal was to create a simple presentation layer with a largely static html homepage, with embedded images, with links to Spring controllers which would deliver dynamic content through JSP’s. When I started down this road I had assumed this would be pretty common, but my experiences on google have proven that wrong so here goes…

As a backdrop for my own variations I used the very helpful article “Developing a Spring MVC Application step-by-step” which is great, but lulled me into a false sense of security before dropping me flat just as the real questions started emerging. I followed all steps in that tutorial and progressed very quickly to section 2, at which point I stopped, because I was less concerned with the addition of business logic, service PoJo’s and a persistence tier, than I was about breaking away from the text only presentation layer used in the example. So I have to point out – I’m not a presentation guy, I rarely move into the front-end discipline, but in this situation I have to – and as a result my inclination is immediatley to want to know how this static/dynamic stuff works.

So at section 2.1 in the tutorial I started to feel uneasy! Before I delve into this in detail let me backtrack.

1. I have a basic project structure as per the tutorial, with a web.xml and a <servlet>-context.xml for my primary controller. The relationship between these config files is covered in detail in the tutorial.

2. All of my JSP‘s live in the WEB-INF/jsp sub-folder of my source tree, and are packaged into that location in the WAR (I cover how these are located when I explain my view resolver later in the article) I deploy into tomcat.

3. I have a single index.jsp in the war/ root folder, and this index.jsp is referred to in my web.xml as follows:


No surprises here – I’m pushing all the HTM URL’s entering my application context (i.e. requests arriving at Tomcat for host/port/context-root) towards my frontEndController which I’ll come-back to in a short while, but more specifically you’ll see that I’m using the *.htm naming convention in my presentation layer for all the links into my application. In other words I’m not allowing users to directly reference *.JSP files in my app – I could use any suffix for that matter (*.private for example) given it is only relevant for routing requests for content into my controller so my MVC engine can deal with it.

Now – I did have a static HTML index.html as my welcome page in the WAR root folder from where it was directly accessible by Tomcat. As such I could type http://localhost:8080/myapp/index.html&#8217; and get my page back ok, but there is a Spring MVC/JSP convention for not doing this – but instead redirecting the request for the ‘welcome’ page into the MVC/JSP engine such that it becomes instrumented and visible to the spring context. This is covered in section 2.1 of the tutorial – but for the record my war/index.html is now war/index.jsp, and it contains the following:

<%@ include file=”/WEB-INF/jsp/include.jsp” %>
<%– Redirected – we can’t set the welcome page to a virtual URL. –%>
<c:redirect url=”/index.htm”/>
where include.jsp is the inclusion of the necessary JSP tag libraries to support features such as this redirecting:

<%@ page session=”false”%>
<%@ taglib prefix=”c” uri=”; %>
<%@ taglib prefix=”fmt” uri=”; %>

So what we have here is a request to my application for ‘/’ or ‘index.jsp’ will redirect to a request for virtual ‘index.htm’ page. This forces the request into my SpringMVC controller ‘frontEndController’ on the basis of the *.htm pattern-match. At that point I simply wanted to return a JSP, containing html source, but also containing static images. Try as I might I could not find a simple explanation of how to achieve this !!

So here it is. Firstly – only requests for dynamic content are be pushed into the frontEndController. The *.htm pattern is a ‘codename’ in my application context for ‘give me some JSP content’. Fine. But what about the statics that those dynamics might require?? !!WATCH-OUT!! I used a /ui/* pattern initially in my <servlet>-context.xml which caused me problems with static content. Any embedded CSS or IMG resources also fall under that path name, and as such all requests hitting tomcat for /ui/page.htm or /ui/img/banner.jpg were being pushed into my frontEndController – from where I could not serve the images, nor did I want to. As such changing to the *.htm pattern means that only the htm page names are pushed in the MVC controller and all embedded resources can be managed separately.

There are 3 key messages here. Firstly my index.jsp in the WEB-INF is not really dynamic (other than I have used a templating solution to assemble my pages but that is irrelevant here). But by handling it in this way I have ensured that ‘all’ html content is generated/served under the control of my MVC engine – and therefore visible to all the nice things such as logging, access control, and all the other stuff I aint even thought of yet that I’m able to implement as cross-cutters in my MVC context. I don’t have a blind-spot where my static content may be beign hammered yet I’m seeing low usage on my MVC generated content for example.

Secondly you do NOT have to implement a custom controller for JSP’s which ARE largely static content. The normal flow is that the <servlet>-context.xml for the relevant controller declated in web.xml offers a second level of routing. Normal convention would be to add an entry such as:

<property name=”urlMap”>
<entry key=”/index.htm” value-ref=”homepageController”></entry>

which pushed such requests to the POJO controller declared in that same XML file as below:

<bean name=”homepageController”
class=”com.myapp.web.HomepageController” />

But this forces me to implement a java object HomepageController to effectively do ‘nothing’ other than return a ‘view’name of ‘index.jsp’ which then returns the ‘static’ index.jsp to the client. Have no fear there is a better way – and we use something called the UrlFilenameViewController. As such – for any ‘pages’ that I want to serve in my MVC engine, which are static – I can re-wire the request as follows:

<property name=”urlMap”>
<entry key=”/index.htm” value-ref=”urlFilenameViewController” />
<entry key=”/static-about.htm” value-ref=”urlFilenameViewController” />
<entry key=”/termsandconditions.htm” value-ref=”urlFilenameViewController” />
<!– For direct mapping between URL (i.e. index.htm -> index) and the JSP to render –>
<bean id=”urlFilenameViewController”

By convention this means that I would need to have 3 JSP files in my WEB-INF/jsp index.jsp, static-about.jsp, and termsandconditions.jsp. The urlFilenameViewController simply converts the requested html resource name into a token, which is passed to the view-resolver in the same servlet context, which then needs to be configured to look in the WEB-INF/jsp folder as such:

<bean id=”viewResolver” class=”org.springframework.web.servlet.view.InternalResourceViewResolver”>
<property name=”viewClass” value=”org.springframework.web.servlet.view.JstlView” />
<property name=”prefix” value=”/WEB-INF/jsp/” />
<property name=”suffix” value=”.jsp” />

Hey presto ! We now have a consistent mechanism to serve up static html content as JSP from within the SpringMVC engine. I like symmetry and as such like to have my static and dynamic pages all being managed in a consistent way – but there may be plenty of counter arguments to suggest this approach has problems. (If so I’m very keen to hear them !).

Secondly the static content such as images, and CSS for example, should NOT be inside the WEB-INF folder, but instead such static resources referenced by the returned JSP pages, should live in the WAR root folder ‘where Tomcat can serve them directly’ to the user outside of the controller back-end. As such I have a war/img, and war/css folder alongside my war/WEB-INF folder. Any html content I generate from my JSP handling framework refers to static resources such as:

<img src=”img/application-logo.jpg” alt=”some text”/>

which means that User-Agents will resolve the address for the subsidiary resources to:


and this means that Tomcat can serve up those resources directly from the application without touching the SpringMVC engine. This now means that I have a seamless framework for taking all page requests into my controller architecture (even pages that may be largely static which I still want to be managed in a consistent way), and storing all supporting collateral in a simple place from where they can be served up.

This may seem like trivial or common-sense but it has taken me a long time to grind through the frustrating combination of too many option combinations offered by SpringMVC framework, and a lack of clear explanations on how to achieve this effectively including images or other static resources.

Hope this is useful.

Anglet Beach Rugby 2009

July 27, 2009

The morning of the big day

Originally uploaded by Wertster

The Leeds Winoes travelled to the amazing coastal venue of Anglet near Biarritz in the South of France this weekend to take part in one of the best beach-rugby events of the year. After an amazing effort we made it through to the second round before crashing out and retreating to the beer tent. What an unforgettable experience and what an amazingly well organised event. Can’t wait for next year.

Installing Metric_Fu on Centos/Red-Hat Linux

July 22, 2009

To gain the benefit of integrated code-quality analysis within my continuous integration process for my Ruby projects, I’ve been integrating the excellent Metric_Fu package by Jake Scruggs. I’ve now completed an installation on OS-X, CentOS and Red-Hat where I had some quirks to resolve on CentOS and RedHat. This post provides my view on the best install procedure I can offer.


First the underlying OS package pre-requisites…

sudo yum install libxml2           => v2.6.26-
sudo yum install libxml2-devel     => v2.6.26-2.1.2
sudo yum install libxslt           => v1.1.17-2
sudo yum install libxslt-devel     => v1.1.17-2
sudo yum install ImageMagick       => v6.2.8.0-3.el5.4(see note)
sudo yum install ImageMagick-devel => v6.2.8.0-3.el5.4

Note the version of the ImageMagick package I have installed. There is a version depenency here with the rmagick gem which is installed in the next section. As far as I can see, for this version of the ImageMagick package, you must install the v1.x gem. As such I installed the highest version of the gem v1.15.17 below the v2.x.x baseline. If you have later versions of this ImageMagick package then I believe you can avoid this particular issue.

The TrueType Fonts dependency…

The rmagick gem has an installation dependency on the the presence of a set of true-type fonts in the base OS installation. On both the CentOS and RedHat installs I have done, this issue has been present. So before we go ahead and install the gems, we need to rectify this issue.The dependency relates to the presence of the /usr/share/fonts/default/TrueType folder which needs to be created with the following steps. (Note – you don’t need to install these fonts if you already have TrueType fonts installed – in which case skip to the next section).

yum install rpm-build wget
rpm -ivh cabextract-1.2-1.i386.rpm 
rpmbuild -ba msttcorefonts-2.0-1.spec
rpm -ivh /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/noarch/msttcorefonts-2.0-1.noarch.rpm
cd /usr/share/fonts/default
ln -s /usr/share/fonts/msttcorefonts/ TrueType

Now the Gems…

Then install the gems:

sudo gem sources -a
sudo gem install jscruggs-metric_fu

Note at this point one of the installed depenencies, the ‘flog’ gem at v2.1.2, has an issue that will prevent it from running. I have explicitly modified the following file to get this to work:

vi /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/flog-2.1.2/bin/flog

Change the line: flogger.flog_files ARGV to flogger.flog ARGV and save the file. This is only a quick-n-dirty solution to get the flog integration to work within metric_fu.

sudo gem install reek
sudo gem install roodi
sudo gem install gruff
sudo gem install rmagick -v 1.15.17

When these gem installations complete you’re now ready to play with Metric_Fu. For more information on next steps refer to this article about some more version specific fixes or Jakes Metric_fu home.