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Write A Web App In Nine Lines Of Code With Sinatra

One of the trends we've seen on the Web this year has been the proliferation of URL shortening services, to the extent that TinyURL is no longer the default choice. This growth has been driven by the popularity of Twitter with its enforced 140 character message limit and by seamless integration with mobile device Twitter clients such as Tweetie. However, questions over the longevity of these services and the permanence of the links they serve has also led to a new trend of hosting your own. As it seems to be all the rage I thought it would be a fun little exercise to write one for this blog using Sinatra.

Back Up Your Rails Application To The Cloud

Now that my new blog is live I needed a way to take daily back-ups of the MySQL database to a remote server for safekeeping. Writing a custom Rake task is perfect for this purpose.

Putting My Blog On Rails

This is a post that I've been waiting to write for a long time. I have spent what at times has seemed like forever developing a new blog application in my spare time to run my website on.

Back In Business!

As you can see I’m finally back in the blogging business, after ten months on sabbatical! What an earth have I been up to in all that time? On the positive side, I’ve moved house, gone on holiday to Cuba, acquired a lovely cat named George, bought lifetime Web-hosting and fallen in love with Ruby on Rails.


I’ve decided to take a break from updating this site. There’s a lot going on in my real life right now and I need to recharge my batteries.

Twos Complement

Unbelievably, another year has passed and this site is now two years old. A lot has happened over the past year. I was threatened with legal action, SitePoint recruited me to write for them and I decided to diversify away from Windows.

Lost Opportunities

For the first time since I started this site in May 2003, I have exercised self-censorship and removed some content. I have deleted the articles Opportunity Of A Lifetime and Opportunity Knocks and all comments associated with them. What started as a name and shame exercise in response to a piece of unsolicited e-mail, has turned into something rather unpleasant.

We Are One

It's hard for me to believe, but it's a year today since I first clicked the Publish button in CityDesk and uploaded this site. Actually, that's not quite true because I did have a preview site hidden behind a teaser for quite a while, which John Conners managed to pick up from his referrer logs when I inadvertently cliked on a link to his site!

RSS Feeds Upgraded

I've upgraded all of the RSS feeds on this site to RSS 2.0 format. I've done this because I had a few comments that my posts were doubling up in some news aggregators after I edited a post after publishing it.

A Lesson Learnt

In Get Your Back Up I talked about how I safeguard my data and proudly proclaimed that in seven years of home PC computing I've not lost a single byte of data. And that's still true. On the desktop.

Back In Business

I've restored the comments and feedback page functionality to this site by creating a new MySQL database. Frankly, I was tired of waiting for my hosting provider to fix the problem, which has been dragging on for over a fortnight now.


There's been some discussion recently about Mailinator, a web application that provides instant, disposable e-mail addresses. Apart from being struck by what a brilliantly simple and useful idea this is (and wondering why I didn't think of it!), I was also interested to notice that Mailinator is a Jakarta Struts application.

Your Patience Is Appreciated

The more observant amongst you will have noticed that this site has been down since Thursday. Unfortunately my hosting company have been having problems with a rogue script running amok on their web server.


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