Hacking Thy Fearful Symmetry

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A New Year, a New Dancecard

created: January 3, 2014, last updated: January 11, 2014

First thing first: Happy New Year y'all! Health, happiness, and all that jazz to each and everyone of youses!

So the Holidays are over -- or almost over, if you are one of the few lucky souls. Which means that we have to get back into the saddle. Considering that, ahem, some of us have just fallen off the grid and into the eggnog for the last two weeks, that's easier said than done. In order to jog those hacking muscles back into shape, I decided to revisit an idea that I outlined in the Holidays of 2012: dancecard.

To recap, when I start a new Dancer (or Catalyst application, I always have to drop in the JavaScript libraries I'm using. That's tedious. Instead, I would like to have a little tool that invites chosen libraries to come and dance with the app. A kind of Tanzkarte, if you will.

For the 2014 edition of this dancecard, I decided to take a slightly different approach. Instead of keeping a repository of the libraries locally, I wanted to be even lazier and simply have a main registry that would point to the download location or the git repository of the libraries.

For the moment I won't go into the details of the code. Mostly because I pretty much banged the keyboard like a semi-hangover monkey for the last 2 hours, and it reflects in the quality of the codebase. Let it just be said that the git repo is at the usual place, and that I used MooseX::App to build the app.

So, what did those few hours of hacking gave me? Well, with the config file ~/.dancecard/config.yaml, which looks like


---
browser_command: firefox %s
libs:
    backbone:
        location: http://backbonejs.org/backbone.js
        website: http://backbonejs.org
        documentation: http://backbonejs.org
        dependencies:
            - underscore
    underscore:
        location: http://underscorejs.org/underscore.js
        website: http://underscorejs.org
        documentation: http://underscorejs.org
...

I can now get a list of all libraries I have at my disposal:


$ dancecard list
INSTALLED LIBS
    no lib installed
AVAILABLE LIBS
    underscore
    bootstrap
    backbone
    slippy
    font-awesome

Of course, I can also install any of those. And... look Ma: dependencies are handled automatically!


$ dancecard install backbone
 backbone installed
 underscore installed

Something I also often do is peruse the online documentation of those libraries. Noticed those 'documentation' urls in the yaml registry? It's there so that I can do


$ dancecard doc bacbone

and have the documentation page opened automatically in firefox. Or, for maximum laziness, I can also do


$ dancecard doc --installed

which will open the documentation url of every library found in the current project.

Next Steps

If anyone shows interest into the thing, I'll bundle the app for CPAN consumption. As for features, things that I'll probably tackle for my own use are:

  • tags (no software is true software without tags nowadays),
  • virtual libraries (just as a mean to install a group of libraries in a single go),
  • fish completion (I wuv the fish shell)
  • cached local documentation ('cause hitting the 'Net each time I look for a piece of documentation fills me with guilt)
  • an online main registery of libraries,
  • and whatever else I may think of.
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