For Comment: Gem Browser

It occurred to me that the way I was finding Gems was by making notes
of what I saw coming across this list and various other disorganized
ways. That didn’t seem too bright and searching RubyForge didn’t
always turn things up as I expected. So, having a dull hour or two, I
cobble a browser together.

Obviously, this is a really crude attempt and I’m just looking for
comments regarding whether it’s useful:

http://gemmy.calicowebdev.com

It’s only running on one mongrel and I’ve done little to optimize it.
The searching is performed using ferret. Comments welcome on this as
well.

Currently searchable fields are gem name, author, and description. If
this seems like a bright idea, I’ll probably add user annotations and
tags for starters and make them searchable as well.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 12:20:54PM +0900, s.ross wrote:

It’s only running on one mongrel and I’ve done little to optimize it.
The searching is performed using ferret. Comments welcome on this as
well.

Currently searchable fields are gem name, author, and description. If
this seems like a bright idea, I’ll probably add user annotations and
tags for starters and make them searchable as well.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

It appears to be broken. There’s no submit button, and hitting Enter
doesn’t do anything when I’ve entered a term in the Find box. Am I
misusing it somehow?

On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 02:53:54PM +0900, Chad P. wrote:

http://gemmy.calicowebdev.com

It appears to be broken. There’s no submit button, and hitting Enter
doesn’t do anything when I’ve entered a term in the Find box. Am I
misusing it somehow?

Okay, so I figured out it doesn’t work without accepting a cookie (a
misfeature, in my opinion). There’s also the problem that there’s no
way
to link directly to a given search, as far as I can tell.

Is there some reason that a blank Find field shows 25 results?

I like having an online gem search tool with a clean interface like
this.

On Sun, Mar 16, 2008 at 8:20 PM, s.ross [email protected] wrote:

http://gemmy.calicowebdev.com

It’s only running on one mongrel and I’ve done little to optimize it.
The searching is performed using ferret. Comments welcome on this as
well.

Currently searchable fields are gem name, author, and description. If
this seems like a bright idea, I’ll probably add user annotations and
tags for starters and make them searchable as well.

I don’t understand the results it gives me for ‘gtk’

martin

On Mar 17, 2008, at 11:11 PM, Chad P. wrote:

Okay, so I figured out it doesn’t work without accepting a cookie (a
misfeature, in my opinion). There’s also the problem that there’s
no way
to link directly to a given search, as far as I can tell.

Yeah, there’s really no reason it needs to set a cookie right now.
But… I’m thinking there may be a need in the future for session
storage and that will require cookies.

Regarding linking to a given search, I’m pretty sure I don’t
understand… do you mean like a permalink to a given result set?

Is there some reason that a blank Find field shows 25 results?

Programmer decision :slight_smile: I decided to make a blank field equal to * and
only show 25 results at a time. Again, I had to take a stab at it, and
that was my initial take.

I like having an online gem search tool with a clean interface like
this.

Thanks. I was totally blown away by what I learned by spielunking the
gems just a little with this search. I hope it’s as much fun for
others as it is for me.

Please let me know if you have other thoughts on this.

On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 04:59:00PM +0900, s.ross wrote:

On Mar 17, 2008, at 11:11 PM, Chad P. wrote:

Okay, so I figured out it doesn’t work without accepting a cookie (a
misfeature, in my opinion). There’s also the problem that there’s
no way
to link directly to a given search, as far as I can tell.

Yeah, there’s really no reason it needs to set a cookie right now.
But… I’m thinking there may be a need in the future for session
storage and that will require cookies.

Then refusing cookies should break session storage, but not basic search
functionality.

Regarding linking to a given search, I’m pretty sure I don’t
understand… do you mean like a permalink to a given result set?

Yes.

Is there some reason that a blank Find field shows 25 results?

Programmer decision :slight_smile: I decided to make a blank field equal to * and
only show 25 results at a time. Again, I had to take a stab at it, and
that was my initial take.

You might want to indicate what’s going on. I think that’s a pretty
neat
idea for how to handle it, but I might suggest something like making the
selected results (pseudo-)random and starting them off with a heading
that says “25 Random Gems:”.

I like having an online gem search tool with a clean interface like
this.

Thanks. I was totally blown away by what I learned by spielunking the
gems just a little with this search. I hope it’s as much fun for
others as it is for me.

Please let me know if you have other thoughts on this.

Something I didn’t say explicitly: I’m sure you’ll be adding some more
to
the interface if you keep working on this. Please don’t clutter things
up too much, though. As I said, I like the clean interface, and making
it look like the search results at RubyForge (for instance) would be a
Bad Thing. Take your cues from the main page of Google, and not Yahoo!,
or from reddit, and not Digg.

On Mar 18, 2008, at 10:49 AM, Martin DeMello wrote:

tags for starters and make them searchable as well.

I don’t understand the results it gives me for ‘gtk’

martin

Gtk is a bit of a special case. Anyone who understands ferret, please
chime in here. My understanding is that shorter words tend to get less
weight. I get one hit for “gtk” and two for “gtk”. I’d like to
improve this kind of case. Part of this is how the gems are named and
part that the string is short. Again, if anyone knows ferret and has
suggestions, I’m all ears.

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 8:06 AM, s.ross [email protected] wrote:

  • Added a bit more commentary to the results count to explain why only
    25 are shown when 2300 are found.
  • Added obligatory dumb logo.
  • Added some “help” text (as if people who need Ruby Gems need help!).

The goal of this tool is to be pretty quick and pretty functional and
pretty bare bones. Just the facts.

As always, I’m interested in your comments and suggestions –
particularly whether search is finding what you expect and whether
help is helpful or a waste of time.

You could #uniq the version numbers and list platforms as well.

Hi–

A few updates to http://gemmy.calicowebdev.com.

  • Added description field if one is present. This is typically either
    blank or the same as the summary, but where it differs, it is expanded
    on demand.
  • Added more weight to gem name in an attempt to tweak full-text
    matching accuracy.
  • Removed “it just breaks” dependency on cookies.
  • Added a bit more commentary to the results count to explain why only
    25 are shown when 2300 are found.
  • Added obligatory dumb logo.
  • Added some “help” text (as if people who need Ruby Gems need help!).

The goal of this tool is to be pretty quick and pretty functional and
pretty bare bones. Just the facts.

As always, I’m interested in your comments and suggestions –
particularly whether search is finding what you expect and whether
help is helpful or a waste of time.

Thanks

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 04:06:01PM +0900, s.ross wrote:

  • Added a bit more commentary to the results count to explain why only
    25 are shown when 2300 are found.
  • Added obligatory dumb logo.
  • Added some “help” text (as if people who need Ruby Gems need help!).

The goal of this tool is to be pretty quick and pretty functional and
pretty bare bones. Just the facts.

As always, I’m interested in your comments and suggestions –
particularly whether search is finding what you expect and whether
help is helpful or a waste of time.

It looks excellent.

  • Description: The way the description has been added is great. The
    font
    is a touch small, and a way to unexpand it again after expanding might
    be
    nice, though I suppose the unexpand isn’t really important.
  • Cookies: Glad to hear it doesn’t break without cookies now. Thank
    you.
    Even though I’m accepting cookies from the site, websites that fail
    without cookies bother me – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
  • 25 results: Are you planning to add some functionality for seeing the
    rest of the results at some point, or just expect that people will
    refine
    their searches somehow if they don’t get the results they wanted?
  • Logo: I like “{ zippy graphic omitted }”. Don’t take my preference in
    this for objective advice, though.
  • Help: In my opinion, the way you have the help text presented is
    excellent. Keep it.

I tend to keep JavaScript turned on in my browser, but there are (of
course) others who do not. The fact the Gemmy Gem Browser is unusable
without JavaScript seems like an unnecessary limitation. This probably
isn’t the most important problem to fix, but you might consider it for
the future, in case someone wants to use it from Lynx, or even write a
command line script in Ruby that accesses results from GGB.

I’ll have to give it a more thorough going-over later to see how I like
the result sets.

Thanks for putting in the time on this.

Nitpicky, but in the help text you’ve got:

  • word AND absurd => boolean search for either “word” or “absurd”

That should be “word OR absurd”

J.

On Mar 19, 2008, at 1:12 PM, Jared Ashman wrote:

Nitpicky, but in the help text you’ve got:

  • word AND absurd => boolean search for either “word” or “absurd”

That should be “word OR absurd”

J.

Oops

On Mar 19, 2008, at 12:53 PM, Chad P. wrote:

It looks excellent.

  • Description: The way the description has been added is great. The
    font
    is a touch small, and a way to unexpand it again after expanding
    might be
    nice, though I suppose the unexpand isn’t really important.

In the queue.

  • Cookies: Glad to hear it doesn’t break without cookies now. Thank
    you.
    Even though I’m accepting cookies from the site, websites that fail
    without cookies bother me – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Point taken.

  • 25 results: Are you planning to add some functionality for seeing
    the
    rest of the results at some point, or just expect that people will
    refine
    their searches somehow if they don’t get the results they wanted?

Lower in the queue. I personally feel that the more people think
about their question, the better their answers will be. I’ll
consider

pagination if people think it’s important

  • Logo: I like “{ zippy graphic omitted }”. Don’t take my
    preference in
    this for objective advice, though.

I had to put a dig in :slight_smile:

  • Help: In my opinion, the way you have the help text presented is
    excellent. Keep it.

Thanks

I tend to keep JavaScript turned on in my browser, but there are (of
course) others who do not. The fact the Gemmy Gem Browser is unusable
without JavaScript seems like an unnecessary limitation. This
probably
isn’t the most important problem to fix, but you might consider it for
the future, in case someone wants to use it from Lynx, or even write a
command line script in Ruby that accesses results from GGB.

This is exposed as a REST service, so anyone can do searches via
a simple HTTP protocol. Pretty cool, eh?

On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 05:05:21AM +0900, s.ross wrote:

This is exposed as a REST service, so anyone can do searches via
a simple HTTP protocol. Pretty cool, eh?

Err . . . yeah, it is.

On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 12:20:54PM +0900, s.ross wrote:

Obviously, this is a really crude attempt and I’m just looking for
comments regarding whether it’s useful:

http://gemmy.calicowebdev.com

Looks interesting to me, but it’s really more a search tool than a
browser.

I think it would be nifty to use the rubyforge trove categorization to
create a tree view of all the gems.

Paul

On Mar 24, 2008, at 8:07 AM, Paul B. wrote:

Looks interesting to me, but it’s really more a search tool than a
browser.

Yes, that’s what it is right now. My hope is that one day it can
evolve into a bit more. I have some thoughts about getting the rdocs
into the mix. What would make it more browser-like to you?

On Mar 24, 2008, at 11:43 AM, Thomas P. wrote:

it does not find " Summary: roo can access the contents of
OpenOffice-,
Excel- or Google-Spreadsheets" if i search for ‘spreadsheet’.

Yes, this is a limitation of the tokenizer in ferret. If you type in
spreadsheet* you will get the results you expect (I think). I’m
considering making wildcard searching the default, but many developers
feel that they are “smart enough” to tweak their own searches, which
is why I left it with default behavior initially.

roo contains the word Spreadsheets, but it is in the context “Google-
Spreadsheets”, so it is not tokenized as Google, Spreadsheet but
rather as “Google-Spreadsheet”. Similarly, for spreadsheet-excel, the
tokenizer kills it.

If you are looking for the most results, use a wildcard at either end
(spreadsheet). If you think you’re close, but not sure, use fuzzy
matching (spreadsheet~), and refine your searches like this:
spreadsheet~ AND open*.

–steve

On 17/03/2008, s.ross [email protected] wrote:

Obviously, this is a really crude attempt and I’m just looking for
comments regarding whether it’s useful:

http://gemmy.calicowebdev.com

it does not find " Summary: roo can access the contents of OpenOffice-,
Excel- or Google-Spreadsheets" if i search for ‘spreadsheet’.

-Thomas

On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 12:20:54PM +0900, s.ross wrote:

Thanks in advance for your comments.

I posted something about this in my personal weblog, and got this
response:

http://sob.apotheon.org/?p=375#comment-330556

The text of it says:

I also use the full file navigation functionality, which lets me
navigate the distribution’s directory structure and look inside the
various files. Especially handy for reading full source code. I’d love
to see that included here.

I just figured I’d pass it along.

On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 4:20 AM, s.ross [email protected] wrote:

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Another thing that would be nice: hyperlinked dependencies

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