Friday, December 30, 2011

PostgreSQL Mac Preferences

Unlike many coders, I'm not overly fond of the command line. Yes it's quick, but only provided you can remember the commands!. Too often, I find myself hunting through obscure documentation (and StackOverflow...) to find the right command, even for relatively simple things.

I much prefer to use a GUI (ideally with keystrokes for invoking its frequently-used functions). Not only does it free me from the burden of committing pointlessly complex keywords and arguments to memory - it just feels nicer!

So it was when I made the switch from MySQL to PostgreSQL (due to an instinctive mistrust of the former's new corporate owners) that I was disappointed to find that PostgreSQL relies on the command line in a major way. A simple task like starting & stopping the server is far from a no-brainer - you have to find the relevant script, set the environment variables just so, and even switch to the right user (with some installations). Compare this to MySQL, which has a swish System Preferences screen for starting, stopping and enabling auto-startup.

Well, today I am pleased to announce the release of PostgreSQL Preferences for Mac OS X.

Please see installation instructions below, and be sure to check out the User Guide - although given the above rant, I'm hoping it's so intuitive to use that you won't need to look at this much!

So now you can happily avoid struggling with mundane activities like starting / stopping servers - and concentrate on the more important business of designing great websites!
Update 30-August 2015: Links and screenshots updated to latest version.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

GWT DecoratorLayoutPanel

I've been experimenting with GWT and GWT Designer lately. I get the feeling that a version or two down the road, these are going to give me a massive productivity boost. Right now, I still find myself stuck trying to figure out why things aren't working as I expect.

For example the new GWT 2.0 Layout framework does not sit well with the pre-2.0 widgets such as DecoratorPanel. Try adding a LayoutPanel to a DecoratorPanel - it won't work, you'll just see nothing inside the DecoratorPanel.

To get round this, I've implemented a DecoratorLayoutPanel, which subclasses LayoutPanel and so can contain any Layout-compatible widgets. I've added the source code below - feel free to copy/reuse/extend as you like, and I'd welcome any feedback!


 * <p>
 * A {@link LayoutPanel} that wraps its contents in stylized boxes, which can be
 * used to add rounded corners to a {@link Widget}.
 * </p>
 * <p>
 * This class aims to be a drop-in replacement for
 * {@link}.
 * However, it uses a {@link LayoutPanel} to layout the 9-box, whereas
 * {@link} uses a DOM table.
 * The benefit is that this panel can contain other {@link LayoutPanel} widgets, which
 * {@link} cannot do successfully.
 * </p>
 * <p>
 * All of the same class names used in {@link}
 * are used here, e.g. .gwt-DecoratorPanel, .topCenter, .bottomRightInner
 * </p>
 * <p>
 * Important differences to {@link}:
 * <ul>
 * <li>.middleCenter should not be given height and width of 100%, as this will cause
 * unexpected behaviour.</li>
 * <li>The size of the corners is set in the constructor, but note that this can be
 * overridden in CSS.</li>
 * </ul> 
 * </p>
public class DecoratorLayoutPanel extends LayoutPanel implements AcceptsOneWidget {
     * The default style name.
    private static final String DEFAULT_STYLENAME = "gwt-DecoratorPanel";
     * Wrapper for middle center widget.
    private LayoutPanel container;

     * Middle center widget
    private Widget widget;
     * Create new instance using default size of corners.
    public DecoratorLayoutPanel() {
        this(5, Unit.PX);
     * Create new instance using specified size of corners.
     * @param size Height and width of corners
     * @param unit Unit to use for size 
    public DecoratorLayoutPanel(double size, Unit unit) {
        /* Container for center widget */
        this.container = new LayoutPanel();            
        /* All inner widgets */
        Widget topLeftInner = new HTML(" ");
        Widget topCenterInner = new HTML(" ");
        Widget topRightInner = new HTML(" ");
        Widget middleLeftInner = new HTML(" ");
        Widget middleCenterInner = this.container;
        Widget middleRightInner = new HTML(" ");
        Widget bottomLeftInner = new HTML(" ");
        Widget bottomCenterInner = new HTML(" ");
        Widget bottomRightInner = new HTML(" ");
        /* Add to LayoutPanel */
        /* Set default positioning - can override using CSS */
        this.setWidgetLeftWidth(topLeftInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetLeftRight(topCenterInner, size, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetRightWidth(topRightInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetTopHeight(topLeftInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetTopHeight(topCenterInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetTopHeight(topRightInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetLeftWidth(middleLeftInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetLeftRight(middleCenterInner, size, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetRightWidth(middleRightInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetTopBottom(middleLeftInner, size, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetTopBottom(middleCenterInner, size, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetTopBottom(middleRightInner, size, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetLeftWidth(bottomLeftInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetLeftRight(bottomCenterInner, size, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetRightWidth(bottomRightInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetBottomHeight(bottomLeftInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetBottomHeight(bottomCenterInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        this.setWidgetBottomHeight(bottomRightInner, 0, unit, size, unit);
        /* Set CSS Styles */
     * Set the center middle widget.
     * @param widget The widget to add
    public void add(Widget widget) {
     * Overloaded version for IsWidget.
     * @see #add(Widget)
    public void add(IsWidget w) {
     * Set the center middle widget.
     * @param w The widget to add
    public void setWidget(IsWidget w) {
    private void setOneWidget(Widget w) {
        // validate
        if (w == widget) {
        // remove the old widget
        if (widget != null) {
        // logical attach
        widget = w;

        if (w != null) {