Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Troubleshooting Stupid Problems

I hate spending a whole day trouble-shooting something, only to find that the problem was something little and dumb.

In this case, I was trying to set up an Oracle connection in Tomcat 5.0 (using the ojdbc14.jar thin Oracle JDBC driver) as a DataSource for access via JNDI. As you can guess from all that, there's plenty of places for things to go wrong. The configuration for all this is stored in an XML file. I tried all sorts of things to fix this. Capitalization of the named parameters, the driver name, the factory name, everything.

What did the problem turn out to be? A $. The password for the account I was using to connect to the database conatined a dollar sign. I got the password changed to something not using a $ sign, and everything suddenly worked.

Now, for any smart people out there: is this an XML issue? Is $ a special character? Does it need escaping? (Already faced that issue with an ampersand that needed escaping). Or is it a Tomcat specific issue? I'm pretty sure it's not an Oracle specific issue, at it seems to break the MySQL driver too, plus the connection worked fine if made straight from Java code.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Firefox Features Update

On the new find feature: there is a preference currently called "Enable Find As You Type" that enables the old behavior of being able to just start typing, and have the find features start working. That makes me happy.

Each feed that you've bookmarked you can manage options on: you can set the schedule for updating (it defaults to never updating right now), as well as set what kind of notification(s) you want when new posts have been added.

Edit: Updating/refreshing seems to be broken in this build. I'll play with the new features some more as bugs are fixed.

New Features for Firefox 1.0

I'm not sure about the wisdom of adding new features before the 1.0 release of Firefox, but I have to say that the two new features being added right now are pretty awesome.

The first new feature isn't technically new; it's just an improved UI for an old, beloved feature. The Find-As-You-Type (FAYT) feature has gotten a new toolbar that pops up. This gives a nice UI that will make what's going on more clear to new users. It also features the ability to choose to "highlight" the search term wherever it appears in the current document. This is a feature I've wanted for a long time, so I'm very happy to see it.

The default way to trigger this functionality has also changed. Prior to 1.0, FAYT worked on links only by default, and was triggered by simply typing (with the '/' character used to do full-text searching). I always switched it over to full-text searching when I started my profile anew. The new functionality is to do full-text searching by default, but require either the '/' character to trigger it, or Ctrl+f.

The other new functionality is being called "LiveMarks" right now. It's basically a way to integrate RSS into the browser. Special bookmark folder for RSS feeds can be created when you go to a page. I assume that it relies on tags on the page that allow feed auto-discovery. You use the Feed bookmark creation tool at that appears in the status-bar, and bookmark the feed. A folder is made for the feed you are bookmarking. Then, when going to the that folder in your bookmarks, all the posts from the feed are shown as bookmarks. I'm writing this post partially to check out how it indicates new posts in the feed.

My description of these features may not do them justice. So check out some screen-shots, or try out the features by using a recent build. Be prepared for bugginess, as these changes were checked-in recently, and are rapidly being worked on and cleaned up.