OnSwipe redirect code

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Firefox extensions can behave like stand alone applications.

XUL Solutions: Creating an uninstall script for an extension
XUL Solutions: Creating a post-install script for an extension

This is one interesting thing that I found today. One of the most common things done when an application is installed is to verify that the installation has been proper and things are where they are. Also the very basic requirement for any "clean" application is to leave no traces of its presence when it is uninstalled. This is easily possible in case of stand alone applications which are either straight forward executables or else have standard installers and uninstallers. They can set registry values, hook up with Program files (or package managers in Linux) and finally do the cleaning when time comes. But things are not as simple with Firefox extensions, because the platform, i.e Firefox, is not as extensive as a full fledged operating system. So I was always under the impression that these extensions are installed and run in the controlled environment constantly monitored by FF. But as it appears, I was wrong. Firefox indeed provides install and uninstall events which you can hook on to and do the necessary cleaning up.

The technical details are in that blog posts. Read it up and have some clean extensions. :-)


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Learning from others project --- One big opportunity at VTU

VTU students are very aware of the way final year projects are done. I having completed my bachelors, am fully aware of the practices for the 8th sem project. But it appears that the same thing happens with our post-graduate students also. And this realization was made possible by none other than loafer Sethji . It was his brother's (elder of course) M.Tech final sem project. Sethji arranged (bought, actually) for a network based project. The project was about "Frame Relay Networks". The people who sold the project are not some scientists. So there document also had a lot of similarity with Wikipedia (no wonder). The code wasn't really that complex as it was Java (managed programming). Its not these technicals because of which I am writing here. Its the learning that the project gave me in course of me trying to stuff the concepts through the heads of setu, so he could eventually pass on the knowledge to his brother.

Not that Setu is a bad or slow learner, but the process took more time than I initially expected. Initial explanations by him made me think that things are pretty simple. Some of my initial assumptions about a few things being hard-coded did turn out to be true. But I never understood why anything like this was required. After some 3 hours of googling, reading and other eye/brain straining exercises I finally got some things stuffed into my head first, which were subsequently passed on to setu. As of now I assume that he has got hold of the concept, but I am not entirely sure what he will explain to his brother as he already seems to be pissed off with working on his brother's project (which is totally fair considering that fact that he himself worked for 3 days on his own final sem project).

Whatever the story or the background or the future might be, I must be thankful to Setu's brother for having made Setu get a project without which probably I would never have know what a "Frame Relay" is. Now about the technicals of the concept/project I have another post on another blog with a set of links to articles/documents from where I read about it and a bit of my own documentation for the laymen (aka me).

Now whats interesting about such practices is the opportunity that it provides for opportunists. In this case I happen to learn about this technology when I was no where near it from any angle. There will be many such opportunities, its just a matter of cashing them. This dialog from a Hindi movie makes perfect sense here: "Har minute ek bakra paida hota, aur two usko halaal kane ke liye" which essentially means for every dumb guy out there there will two others ready to exploit.

If there are guys waiting for someone to help them, there will be someone ready to make him a cash cow. So quickly decide what you want to be.

Frame Relay --- An old but interesting cost-cutting network innovation

[Yet to write this up]