Design for users is an oft cited, well grounded mantra in programming circles. However, us developers often forget about a principle user group: other developers. This post details a typical, frustrating afternoon for a developer dealing with new technologies.
Here’s the situation: I want to update Chromium’s
userstyle CSS file with the
latest Fanboy element hider rules. As hackers do, my first instinct is to write
a script to do it for me. A few lines of Python later, and I’m faced with this:
Traceback (most recent call last): ... urllib.error.URLError: <urlopen error [Errno 10060] A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond>
“Uh?! It must be that damn corporate firewall again.” Now, I’ve seen this one
before and, armed with another script (to set up
cmd with the correct proxy
settings… yes, I’m running Windows here), I try again… with no joy:
File "C:\Python31\lib\http\client.py", line 684, in _tunnel for header, value in self._tunnel_headers.iteritems(): AttributeError: 'dict' object has no attribute 'iteritems'
“I’ll fix it later”, I think as I copy/paste the file manually.
“Hmm, I wonder if anyone’s thought of minifying
userstyles?” With Fanboy’s CSS
file, being ~4500 lines, it can’t be a bad idea. Having not used
for a year or so now, I thought I’d take a look to see where the development has
come since then.
The YUI Compressor homepage currently looks like this:
“OK, well, where’s the download link”. That’s a screenshot in a Chromium app window and still there’s another 2/3’rds to go. Scanning amongst the wall of text, I finally notice the unassuming download link:
Latest (presumedly stable) build was 2009?!
Oh, well, I’ve come this far, I might as well try it:
java -jar yuicompressor-2.4.2.jar Custom.css Exception in thread "main" java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke0(Native Method) at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(Unknown Source) at sun.reflect.DelegatingMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(Unknown Source) at java.lang.reflect.Method.invoke(Unknown Source) at com.yahoo.platform.yui.compressor.Bootstrap.main(Bootstrap.java:20) Caused by: java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Illegal group reference at java.util.regex.Matcher.appendReplacement(Unknown Source) at com.yahoo.platform.yui.compressor.CssCompressor.compress(CssCompressor.java:86) at com.yahoo.platform.yui.compressor.YUICompressor.main(YUICompressor.java:178) ... 5 more
The first result of a Google for
yui InvocationTargetException returns a bug
report, with a comment mentioning a fix(?) was committed in 2010. “OK,
fine. It’s impossible to not notice the ‘Fork me on GitHub’ banner, so there
must be a newer build there.”
“Damn, there are no pre-packaged builds. Nevermind, I’ll try building myself.”
build.xml file, I head over to download Apache Ant. While, I’ve
ant before (I more versed with
make), I know it’s a mature
project, so things should go smoothly, right?
A quick Google for apache ant gives me those handy links to directly jump to pages. “Hmm, what are those called again?”; google sitelinks. “Great! relevant-looking results”.
“This Help Centre is not currently available in your language.” “Argh!!” Just because I live in China, doesn’t mean I can speak Chinese. Where’s an English fall-back option? Oh, forget it.
Anyway, those links are called “mini sitelinks”. Back to the apache ant search… I want to download it, and oh, great, there’s the download link straight away.
Nice, a nice easy download link.
java -jar ivy-2.2.0.jar :: loading settings :: url = jar:file:/C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/user/My %20Documents/dwn/unsorted/apache-ivy-2.2.0-bin-with-deps/apache-ivy-2.2.0/ivy-2. 2.0.jar!/org/apache/ivy/core/settings/ivysettings.xml :: resolving dependencies :: org.apache.ivy#ivy;2.2.0 confs: [core, httpclient, oro, vfs, sftp, standalone, ant, default, test , source]
Zzz. About a minute later and nothing happend. “Resolving dependencies… Oh, it’s trying to download something.” Firing up the aforementioned “cmd proxy setter” script, but no, still nothing.
Something’s up here. I’ll rollback. Arbitrarily, I tried a DDG search instead.
Nice, an “official site” badge. I wonder how they determine that. Hmm, this is looking different…
Damn it! If this is
ant, what did I just download? Pft, nevermind. Proceed to
the download link.
Good, nice and easy. Moving on…
ant Unable to locate tools.jar. Expected to find it in C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\li b\tools.jar Buildfile: build.xml does not exist! Build failed
Huh?! “Build failed”? I just wanted to see if it’ll run okay. And what’s this Java error? You didn’t mention anything about Java.
ant -h Unable to locate tools.jar. Expected to find it in C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\li b\tools.jar ant [options] [target [target2 [target3] ...]] Options: ... -buildfile <file> use given buildfile -file <file> '' -f <file> '' ...
Hmm, seems like an option to specify the
build.xml location (though, isn’t
[target] is?). Anyway, let’s try that:
ant -buildfile "C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Doc uments\dwn\unsorted\yuicompressor-2.4.2\yuicompressor-2.4.2\build.xml" Unable to locate tools.jar. Expected to find it in C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\li b\tools.jar Buildfile: C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\dwn\unsorted\yuicompr essor-2.4.2\yuicompressor-2.4.2\build.xml -load.properties: -init: build.classes: [javac] C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\dwn\unsorted\yuicomp ressor-2.4.2\yuicompressor-2.4.2\build.xml:23: warning: 'includeantruntime' was not set, defaulting to build.sysclasspath=last; set to false for repeatable buil ds BUILD FAILED C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\dwn\unsorted\yuicompressor-2.4.2 \yuicompressor-2.4.2\build.xml:23: Unable to find a javac compiler; com.sun.tools.javac.Main is not on the classpath. Perhaps JAVA_HOME does not point to the JDK. It is currently set to "C:\Program Files\Java\jre6" Total time: 0 seconds
BUILD FAILED. Ah, now you tell me that I explicitly need JDK.
OK (beleaguered by this point), let’s grab JDK.
Despite my efforts (oh yes, yes, I tried), there’s no getting round this one.
Things don’t have be this hard! Design for users, yes, but don’t neglect fellow developers. Writing an API? Always prefer simple, well defined interfaces. Laboriously writing documentation for the sake of busywork? Stop. Rethink your design. It can always be simpler.
Developers are users too.