Archive for August, 2005

Cool Tool Friday: Symbolic Links on Windows

Cool Tool Friday: Symbolic Links on Windows

One of the biggest problems I had in transitioning from Mac to Windows for development was not having symbolic links anymore. Symbolic links allow you to create references to files that the operating system and all your applications treat as the actual file. In other words, it allows you to keep a file in one location, but trick your OS into thinking it’s in another location.

Symbolic links are extremely valuable for development. On Linux and OS X, I like to keep my source trees in a project directory, and symbolically link into that directory from other places (or instance, from my web root for web apps). I’ve found it also enables me to simplify my classpath when doing Java development. The problem is that symbolic links aren’t supported on Windows. At least, I thought they weren’t until Danny Dura showed me Junction Link Magic.

Junction Link Magic allows you to create the Window’s equivalent of symbolic links, and as far as I can tell, works perfectly. The interface is intuitive, and the application is completely free. And any application with so many warnings about being for experienced users only has to good!

Free Flash Lite 1.1 Online Seminar

Bill Perry Jonathan Duran is going to be giving an free online seminar this Wednesday on the new mobile features in Flash 8. From the site:

Join the Macromedia Mobile and Devices product team for a live, 90 minute online seminar and learn how you can develop rich, engaging, and easy-to-use content using the new mobile authoring features in Flash Professional 8.

The morning slot is already filled, but there’s an evening slot (9:00PM – 10:30PM Eastern) that still has some openings. If you’re interested, better hurry.

JavaScript Flash Tag Update

If you use the JavaScript Flash Tag object for rendering Flash tags client-side, I just checked in an update you might want to grab. I added a missing parameter (which is useful for Flash Player 8) and fixed a bug that was cropping up on older versions of Internet Explorer. You can grab the new source and read the revision notes here.

The API hasn’t changed at all, so you can drop it right in to your existing code with no problems.

Free Studio 8 Launch Seminars

You can check out some of the new features of Studio 8 first hand (for free) at a Macromedia studio 8 Launch Seminar. From the website:

We’ll demonstrate Studio 8’s exciting new features, many of which were developed based on input by people like you. While space is limited, we certainly hope you can join us.

In North America, seminars will be held in:

  • Boston
  • Vancouver
  • Calgary
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • McLean, VA
  • Montreal
  • New York
  • Ottawa
  • San Francisco
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC

Outside of North America, seminars will be held in Australia, China, India, New Zealand, and in South Asia. These look like a really good way to quickly get up to speed on new Studio 8 features. And it’s cheaper than a movie, so bring a date!

Remapping Your Windows Key

Warning: There have been reports that applying this hack can cause certain keys to stop functioning. I recommend using other techniques for remapping your keys which are mentioned in the comments.

I’ve been using Windows for a couple of weeks now, and although I still keep my Powerbook close by, I’ve actually adapted to the Windows world better than I expected to. I’m using a ThinkPad T41 which I like a lot, but for some reason, ThinkPads don’t have "Windows" keys (perhaps to make them more Linux friendly?).

Anyway, I’m the kind of person who makes frequent use of keyboard shortcuts, so I decided to figure out how to remap my right alt key as a Windows key. Fortunately, someone already figured it out, and wrote a tutorial. It involves modifying the registry, but it’s actually very simple to do. The tutorial shows you how to map your left alt key, and doesn’t actually provide a copy-and-pastable version of the patch, so here’s mine (which maps the right alt key, not the left):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,5B,E0,38,E0,38,E0,5B,E0

Naturally, I take no responsibility for completely hosing your machine, and I highly recommend testing it on a co-workers computer first while he’s in the copy room or at lunch.

Also, let me know if you have any other cool Windows tips (post them here for everyone to enjoy).

Studio 8 Resources

By now, anyone who reads this blog probably knows that Macromedia announced Studio 8 today, so I won’t get into details about something you already know. Rather, I wanted to point out some good resources for learning about what’s new.

First, check out Greg Rewis’s new blog. Greg is the Macromedia Studio Evangelist, and he’ll be using his blog to post details about several important new features (like today’s post about code collapse in Dreamweaver). Scott Fegette has started a "Feature of the Day" campaign on his blog, and will post about a new Studio 8 feature each day until the actual launch. And finally, there’s the new MXNA Studio 8 Smart Category which will show you what the rest of the Macromedia community is saying about the announcement.

If you come across any other good resources, feel free to post them here.

Search + Ajax = MXNA Suggest

I’m experimenting with making the MXNA search more useful, so I decided to borrow some ideas from Google and build MXNA Suggest. MXNA Suggest lets you search interactively by suggesting terms that other people have searched for in the past as you type. The terms MXNA Suggest returns are ordered by relevance, which is determined by the number of times people have searched for them. In addition to being a potentially useful search interface, it’s also an interesting research tool. It’s sort of a quick and even fun way to see what terms are most popular in the Macromedia community.

MXNA Suggest is still very much in an "alpha" stage which means I’ve just been hacking away at it in my free time, and therefore it has not been thoroughly tested. That said, it does seem to work pretty well, although it took a lot of work to get it that way. I’m a big Ajax/JavaScript fan, but it can get very frustrating when developing across browsers and platforms (even with all the most modern browsers). If you view the source code, you’ll see areas where I had to branch based on browser, and if you use it enough, you might even find a bug or two I haven’t fixed yet (for instance, in Safari, hitting the up and down arrow will make the selection jump two items at a time instead of one because Safari throws two key down events for the arrow keys for some reason I couldn’t possibly begin to explain).

Continue reading…

JavaScript Support for Eclipse

I’m looking for a good JavaScript plugin for Eclipse. I see there are several out there. Can anyone recommend one in particular?