MacGDBp 1.4 Beta 1

Posted on 18 December 2010, in MacGDBp. 1 Comment.Tags: ,

I’m happy to announce the first beta of MacGDBp 1.4. This release represents nearly a year’s worth of work rewriting the entire internal structure of the application. As mentioned previously, MacGDBp 1.4 now communicates to the backend in an asynchronous manner. Not only does this change increase the robustness of the program, it should no longer beachball while waiting for responses from Xdebug. Because it took such a long time to stabilize this branch, there is very little in the way of new features for this release: almost all the work for this release was done for making the network changes and increasing stability.

One new point to be aware of is that the concept of “reconnect” is gone in this version. Instead, the debugger is now either attached to the backend or is detached. When attached, MacGDBp will start debugging any connections from Xdebug. When detached, MacGDBp will send the “detach” command immediately after receiving any new connections, aborting the debug.

There is one known issue:

You can download MacGDBp 1.4 Beta 1 from this page. Please try out this new version and file any new issues in the bug tracker.

Tracking Info:
Current SHA1: 1ffc93e
Version: 1.4.0.61 ß1
Last Release Build: 2010-12-18 14:18:34

RGB Converter 3.0

Posted on 11 December 2010, in RGB Converter. 2 Comments.Tags:

It’s been more than two years since the Dashboard widget RGB Converter received an update. This widget, which was first released in 2005, has been downloaded more than 12,000 times! The system WebKit update that occurred with Safari 5.0 introduced a layout bug.

I had been wanting to redesign the widget with the new “wheel” appearance for a while, but doing so with just HTML and CSS seemed very difficult. The primary issue is drawing the slices of the circle, which I don’t think is possible with CSS. With version 3.0, the widget is drawn primarily using the HTML5 <canvas> tag, which made this possible:

Download Now

Find out more on the product page. I hope you enjoy this update!

P.S. The source code is now also available through a public git repository.

Bugdar2 Update

Posted on 18 September 2010, in Bugdar. 2 Comments.Tags: ,

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Bugdar2 development, so I thought I’d post an update.

Over this summer, I managed to get a lot of work done for Bugdar2 and started working through the roadmap to the Alpha 1 milestone. The purpose of the Alpha 1 milestone was to do as much of the core backend as possible, without writing much templated UI. While I did end up writing some skeleton templates to test basic functionality, most of the backend work was tested through unit tests.

When I got to the point where I couldn’t do much more backend work without having interfaces to add and modify data, Alpha 1 was complete. The goal of the next milestone Alpha 2, which I’m currently working, is to get the basic UI shell up. I’ve started building the CRUD templates for entities like bugs, settings, usergroups, and attributes. In this milestone, the initial look and feel will come together and a round of string extraction (the first step towards localization) will occur.

Here’s two screen shots of Bugdar2 as it currently exists. These are very rudimentary and will evolve as more time is put into them.

NSAttributedString Spins a Nested Run Loop [u]

Posted on 31 May 2010, in Cocoa. No Comments.Tags: , ,

Today I spent some time debugging MacGDBp 1.4. The issue I was having was that socket data was being processed out of order, and I couldn’t figure out why. Until I stuck it in the debugger. It turns out that when you call -[NSAttributedString initWithHTML:documentAttributes:], it spins the run loop internally (making a nested run loop). If, for example, you have a socket scheduled on the main run loop in common modes, the socket will signaled if you create the NSAttributedString on the main thread. Here’s a stack trace:

#0 0x0000495e in -[DebuggerConnection handlePacket:] at DebuggerConnection.m:597
#1 0x000044e8 in -[DebuggerConnection readStreamHasData] at DebuggerConnection.m:508
#2 0x00003243 in ReadStreamCallback at DebuggerConnection.m:76
#3 0x9021cdd3 in _signalEventSync
#4 0x9021d7be in _cfstream_solo_signalEventSync
#5 0x9021ca88 in _CFStreamSignalEvent
#6 0x9021d707 in CFReadStreamSignalEvent
#7 0x906e7cd9 in SocketStream::dispatchSignalFromSocketCallbackUnlocked
#8 0x90694819 in SocketStream::socketCallback
#9 0x90694721 in SocketStream::_SocketCallBack_stream
#10 0x901d91ae in __CFSocketDoCallback
#11 0x901d8c97 in __CFSocketPerformV0
#12 0x90192ff1 in __CFRunLoopDoSources0
#13 0x90190c1f in __CFRunLoopRun
#14 0x901900f4 in CFRunLoopRunSpecific
#15 0x9018ff21 in CFRunLoopRunInMode
#16 0x989ee6e8 in -[NSHTMLReader _loadUsingWebKit]
#17 0x989e2ddb in -[NSHTMLReader attributedString]
#18 0x98842585 in _NSReadAttributedStringFromURLOrData
#19 0x9883f910 in -[NSAttributedString(NSAttributedStringKitAdditions) initWithData:options:documentAttributes:error:]
#20 0x98887a35 in -[NSAttributedString(NSAttributedStringKitAdditions) initWithHTML:options:documentAttributes:]
#21 0x988879a9 in -[NSAttributedString(NSAttributedStringKitAdditions) initWithHTML:documentAttributes:]
#22 0x0000acf7 in -[BSSourceView setFile:] at BSSourceView.m:93
#23 0x0000af91 in -[BSSourceView setString:asFile:] at BSSourceView.m:120
#24 0x00007bae in -[DebuggerController updateSourceViewer] at DebuggerController.m:264
#25 0x000081e4 in -[DebuggerController sourceUpdated:] at DebuggerController.m:353
#26 0x00005a6b in -[DebuggerConnection setSource:] at DebuggerConnection.m:839
#27 0x00004ecf in -[DebuggerConnection handleResponse:] at DebuggerConnection.m:694
#28 0x000049cc in -[DebuggerConnection handlePacket:] at DebuggerConnection.m:600
#29 0x000044e8 in -[DebuggerConnection readStreamHasData] at DebuggerConnection.m:508
#30 0x00003243 in ReadStreamCallback at DebuggerConnection.m:76
#31 0x9021cdd3 in _signalEventSync
#32 0x9021cd58 in _cfstream_shared_signalEventSync
#33 0x9019315b in __CFRunLoopDoSources0
#34 0x90190c1f in __CFRunLoopRun
#35 0x901900f4 in CFRunLoopRunSpecific
#36 0x9018ff21 in CFRunLoopRunInMode
#37 0x944ed0fc in RunCurrentEventLoopInMode
#38 0x944eceb1 in ReceiveNextEventCommon
#39 0x944ecd36 in BlockUntilNextEventMatchingListInMode
#40 0x98605135 in _DPSNextEvent
#41 0x98604976 in -[NSApplication nextEventMatchingMask:untilDate:inMode:dequeue:]
#42 0x985c6bef in -[NSApplication run]
#43 0x985bec85 in NSApplicationMain
#44 0x00002c44 in main at main.m:21

At frame 30, the socket callback gets signaled because data is ready. This happens on the outermost loop invocation, which is supposed to happen (yay!). At frame 22, the data for this most recent network packet is still being processed. At frame 21, there’s the call to initWithHTML for NSAttributedString. And at frame 15, trouble starts when the run loop gets spun again, while still processing sources from the first/outermost run loop invocation. At frame 2, while still processing the packet from frame 30, the socket source gets signaled again and new data is read and processed, while still processing the first piece of data. Sigh.

I haven’t yet decided how I’m going to get around this problem. The issue is that more data gets read from the socket before the current packet finishes handling, making a hot mess (it screws up internal state). The easiest conceptual solution is to push the socket stuff into its own thread on its own run loop, but that will require a fairly significant refactoring. Another option would be to schedule the socket in its own run loop mode, but then I’d be responsible for spinning the loop myself and would have to manage that carefully.

Update: I bit the bullet and refactored. In the long run, this is probably a good thing because it forced a separation of components that deal with CFNetwork itself and the response to the data received from it. It also split a 1032 line file into two files, one about 600 lines and one about 500 lines.

Unit Testing in phalanx

Posted on 27 April 2010, in Bugdar. No Comments.Tags: ,

In a previous post, I stated that Bugdar2 is powered by a brand-new PHP framework called phalanx that I had written from scratch. In this post, I’m going to talk a little about what’s been going on with Bugdar2. The past month or so have been very busy, but I’ve managed to start writing unit tests and do some work on MacGDBp 1.4.

Phalanx is not a typical MVC framework. While it aims to keep that style of separation, it does so in a very different way than most web frameworks. Zend Framework, for instance, uses a Controller class that has various action methods. In phalanx, the controller unit is replaced by an Event object.

What is an event? An event is essentially a three-stage function with explicit input and output values. When defining an event, clients must explicitly list the input values the event requires and the output values it will produce. This is important because it makes unit testing extremely easy: if you know what should happen, it is not difficult to test it. The three stages an Event goes through are WillFire(), Fire(), and Cleanup(). The only required method is Fire(), which is where the event does the work of transforming the inputs to the outputs. WillFire() provides an opportunity to cancel an event if preconditions are not met, and Cleanup() is called regardless of if an event was successfully fired or not.

Here is an example. This is the event that creates new bugs. It takes in a title and the body of the first comment (description). On return, it provides the bug and comment IDs. From here, it’s easy to verify the results: create an input dictionary, create the event, and post it to the pump to run it.

In the code, references are made to the EventPump. This is the class that is responsible for firing events. The following is the description of control flow in a web app: In the index.php page, a HTTPDispatcher is created; this class parses HTTP requests and synthesizes the Event object for that request. The resulting event is then passed to the EventPump via PostEvent(). Since that is the first event in the pump, it begins processing immediately. If another event is sent to the pump via PostEvent() or RaiseEvent() [preempting the current event], it will be processed, too. Once all events finish processing, the OutputHandler is notified to take the list of events and figure out which one(s) it needs to display output from. The ViewOutputHandler simply takes the last successfully completed event, gathers the output from the event, and passes that information to the template. When unit testing, we can do away with the Dispatcher and OutputHandler. Just synthesize events, send them to the pump, and test the outputs.

Currently, work on Bugdar2 consists mostly of writing these unit test cases. Currently I’m blocked by engineering the API for bug attributes. Because attributes are at the heart of Bugdar2, I want to make sure I get this part right. Attributes and usergroups are the last two features before Alpha 1 is complete.