Friday, June 26, 2009 iGoogle Gadget

Check out my iGoogle Gadget. It allows you to view, edit, and delete you snipts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 WebApp Microframework - REST WebApp Microframework - REST

I have added two new interfaces to the framework under the namespace JawTek.Web.REST. One to handle the HTTP verb PUT called IWebAppPut and one to handle the HTTP verb DELETE called IWebAppDelete.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 WebApp Microframework

Just posted an article on the WebApp Microframework. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Friday, May 8, 2009 Projects Now Online!

I just put online. This sub-domain will replace the /projects/ folder on my old hosting. Projects will slowly be migrated to this new location but in the meantime check out the CMS system used by the site at!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Unwritten guide to Yahoo Query Langauge

I've recently have had a chance to play around with the Yahoo Query Language in the redesign of my homepage. I have found serveral uses for this versitile tool for AJAX developers. The three function I found to be the most useful would have to be the JSON, FEED, and HTML data queries. I recommend that you open the Yahoo Query Language Console so you can run the queries I list to get a feel for what data is returned.


The first and most obvious usage is the JSON data query:

Query 1. JSON from Yahoo Pipes
select * from json where
and itemPath = "value.items"
and categories.module = "regex"

Although the above query is fairly simple there are a few details that we can look at. The statement (as will all YQL statements) starts with the 'select' keyword. That is followed with '*', this symbol designates that you want all data elements to be returned. If you wanted to limit the number of fields returned by the query you would list those fields in place of the '*' symbol.

After the 'from' keyword is where you list the datasource, in this case json is the datasource. The datasource is followed by the 'where' keyword, this section of the query is where the important stuff happens. In the where clause is where you list the requirements that the data must meet in order to be returned by YQL. JSON has two pre-defined fields to filter against in the 'where' clause, they are as follows:

-(Required) Set this equal to the url where the JSON document can be found.
-(Optional) Set this to select a sub-set of the data. In the previous query the contents of the base value's 'items' field is selected as the base for the datasource. Think of it as the xpath for JSON.

In addition to these predefined fields you can also filter against any field in the datasource. In the example query (Query 1.) we have listed that the 'categories' must contain a 'module' field that equals 'regex'.

Note: Another good reason to use the JSON datasource is when you have to consume via Javascript an api that doesn't support callbacks (JSONP). You can run the api through a YQL query to wrap it in a callback.


The FEED datasource is one that can be easy or hard depending on the kind of feed you will be consuming (RSS or Atom).

Query 2. FEED from Atom feed on
select title, content.content,published, link.href from feed where
and content.type = 'html'
and link.rel = 'alternate'

Query 3. FEED from RSS feed on
select title, description, pubDate, link from feed where

I'll spare you the basics this time and just focus what makes FEED different from JSON. The first thing you probably noticed is the fact that Atom (Query 2.) query is longer than the RSS (Query 3.) query, this has nothing to do with YQL but more to do with the differences in the two formats. Where Atom is more verbose and takes more filtering to get the data you want RSS being the older of the two formats contains less data. Now I'm not going to say one is better than the other but what I will say is that Atom has the potential to allow you to be more specific in what data you colletc while at the same time it can make for some large queries. FEED just like JSON allows you to filter on any field defined in the feed but only has on pre-defined field:

-(Required) Set this equal to the url where the feed can be found.

Note: Because Atom and RSS give the same elements different names, your Javascript will have to be prepared to deal with that.


The final datasource I'll discuss is HTML. The HTML datasource is usefull when the data you want is in an HTML Document. You could use it to get data from a site that doesn't make it's data available through JSON or a FEED.

Query 4. HTML query to scrape data from Yahoo Finance
select * from html where
and xpath='//div[@id="yfi_headlines"]/div[2]/ul/li/a'

Now what separates the HTML datasource from the previous two is that you do everything through pre-defined fields. It does not seem possible to filter on elments, atleast not that I've found. This isn't an issue since the query relies on xpath which is a very powerful. There are four pre-defined fields:

-(Required) The url of the HTML document you would like to query
-(Optional) The xpath to search the document with. The finer points of xpath are beyond this article but the xpath in the query (Query 4.) says, starting anywhere ('//') look for a 'div' with ('[]') the attribute ('@') 'id' set to the value 'yfi-headlines' going down one element ('/') to the second ('[2]') div. From there go down ('/') each 'ul' to all 'li's to get all 'a's.
-(Optional) This field is to define the Character Set of the html document you are quering. A value is not required here as YQL automatically determines the character set of the html document.
-(Optional) I have not been able to determine the usage of this field. The console tells you that the only allowable value for it is 'me'.

Note: Although I list the xpath field as optional I highly recommend against leaving it blank because it defaults to '/html/body' which means everything in the body.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Web2Notify R1 Released!

JawTek's latest project Web2Notify has been released. Web2Notify is designed to bridge the gap between the web and your notify client (i.e. Growl™, Snarl™, Mumbles™).

So let's say you have one of your favorite Web 2.0 apps running in the browser that is sitting in the background while you do something else. As the app updates itself it may come across something it want's to send you a message about without interrupting what your working on. Currently the only method by which a Javascript application can send a message that escapes the browser chrome is the alert() function that pops up a little message box in front of what ever your doing, which in the case of letting you know that there is new mail or that a different song is playing is at best overly obnoxious.

What Web2Notify does is it adds functionality to Javascript that allows messages to be sent to the local notification client, currently it only has support for Window's native message balloons or Snarl, but as the project progresses more clients and operating systems will be included. The best part is that a web app doesn't have to have support for Web2Notify built in, it can be added using userscripts!

Web2Notify can be found at:

And userscripts that add Web2Notify functionality can be found at:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Green Laptops

A movement that began with the One Laptop Per Child now is starting to see commercial distributions. Everex has produced the CloudBook (Pictured left) a laptop that is only 9 inches, weighs 2 pounds, has a battery life of 5 hours, and has a price tag of $399 approx. While Asus has been marketing the Eee PC (Pictured below). The Eee PC measures up to 7 inches, weighs 2 pounds, while having a battery life of 5 hours. The Eee PC can be found for as little as $299 (for the 2g model). One thing that greatly separates these new green laptops (besides their sizes) is where they get their applications. Both of these laptops use Web 2.0 apps for their base means of providing applications to their users. If you are familiar with JawTek and our ambitions you can see why we find this very exciting. As these Green pc's catch on high quality web-based applications will need to be developed.