2008 Headshot

The Life Unwired

with Ben Combee

Previous Entry Add to Memories Share Next Entry
Some Ad-Hoc Web Development Tools
2008 Headshot
unwiredben
In my job here at HP, I often need to reproduce bugs in our webOS browser or test out little web services. There are two tools I'm using more and more for these little ad-hoc tasks.

First is Dropbox. I've been using Dropbox for a few years now to sync files between my various computers, and it works great for that. What I've been playing with a lot lately is the Public folder. Anything you put in that folder becomes available to other users or devices via a easily copied URL. You can use that URL both as HTTP and HTTPS, and it seems to support a wide range of content types without problem.

My best practice is to put things in subfolders of public with not-easily guessable names. All the URLs for public items look like http://dl.dropbox.com/u//, so while you can't get an index and see all the public items someone has up, putting everything into the root folder means that its easier for people to guess the URLs for items that you might have up.

To make it easier to get to those URLs on my devices, I tend to use bit.ly (or it's shorter version, j.mp) to turn the long URL into a short opaque identifier.

A second useful tool is one I just started using last week: http://jsapp.us. I think of this as an equivalent to our own Ares tool, but for node.js server apps. You get a Bespin-based code editor, some file storage, and an easy way to run your node code on their services. You wouldn't want to make giant systems with this, but it's great for writing a 20 line script to test out HTTP error code generation or user authentication methods.

A final tool that I find myself using almost every day is our own Ares Debugger. If you're doing anything webOS and haven't tried it, please go to http://ares.palm.com/AresDebug and try it out. It will suck the JavaScript right off the device or emulator, let you set breakpoints, single step, and inspect variables.