Still time to enter the Darwin Race of Languages

Do you think that hand tweaked C code runs circles around managed code (C#, Java, VB.NET)?  Or do you think that your Just In Time compiled managed code gets the job done more securely than those bit sniffing dinosaurs?  Anxious to prove that Delphi is still relevant?  Want to win some cutting edge component libraries from DevExpress?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, there is still time to enter the Darwin Race of Languages.  The brainchild of Sevensteps CTO Bart Roozendaal, the Darwin Race is pitting a slate of challengers using the compiler and IDE of their choice to write a utility that will solve one of three problems.  The projects are the following:

  • Temperatures and CPU load
    A utility that will measure CPU temperatures and CPU load on remote computers
  • Multi clipboard utility
    The utility should hold several entries that were place on the clipboard earlier. In effect it should replace the clipboard.
  • GUI to a command line program
    A GUI front end for the gbak database command line driven program for the Firebird database.

Each entry will be judged on the software itself and how you documented the design and development of the application.  The goal is not to see which development is best tool, but to see what tools are the best for different types of jobs.  To see where the strengths are and where are the weaknesses of each tool, using real world types of the problems.  The documentation part will share the development process and show how different people come up with solutions for similar problems.

There are already a bunch of sponsors lined up.  DevExpress will be giving away a a license for DXperience Enterprise or the VCL Subscription.  If you wint, you get to pick one of them.  I have DXperience and most of the VCL components, you can’t go wrong with either one of them.

The race is on already, but there is still time to join.  There are a bunch of participants already signed up, covering C#, Delphi, VB, and something on the Mac platform.  Java is not yet represented, does someone out there want to pick up the Java gauntlet?

Installing the “Copy as Plain Text” add-in in Firefox 3

I’ve installed Firefox 3 over Firefox 2 and it’s been a big improvement in performance and UI experience.  But it doesn’t work with all of the add-on extensions that are available for Firefox 2.  There are some nice extensions that were written for Firefox 2 that have not been updated for Firefox 3.  One that I use a lot is the “Copy Plain Text” add-in, written by Jeremy Gillick.  This extension provides a “Copy as Plain Text” option so that you can copy text from a page and have the formatting stripped out.

The problem is that Jeremy hasn’t released a version that will run under Firefox 3.  When Firefox installs an add-on extension, it checks the version of the extension and prevents older extensions from being installed.  While this is a good thing in preventing extensions that broke with Firefox 3, it’s an annoyance for the ones that work just fine.  I’m not sure what happened Jeremy Gillick, but appears that he has abandoned his simple, but cool extension.

While reading the comments left on the add-on page, I saw that a user named “ervee” (eRVee Moskovic , and that is how he capitalizes it.) had patched “Copy Plain Text” so that it will install with Firefox 3.  It appears that he changed a single line in the install.js file that was bundled in the extension from the line that contained

const gVersion = “0.3.3”;
const gVersion = “0.3.3b”;

And that single letter “b” is all that was needed to allow Firefox 3 to install this extension.

Ervee posted his modified extension as

If you download his modified version of the extension, you have to tell Firefox 3 how to install it.  Save the extension to a local folder, then open the fire from within Firefox 3 by selecting “Open File” from the “File” menu.  You will then be prompted with the Software Installation dialog. Click install and then restart Firefox when prompted.

An alternative method (documented here) would be to open the “Add-ons” dialog by selecting “Add-ons” from the “Tools” menu.  Once that dialog has opened, minimize the main form and drag the extension file to the dialog. You will then be prompted with the Software Installation dialog. Click install and then restart Firefox when prompted.

Either way should work, I did the former and the extension is working just fine with Firefox 3.  Thanks “ervee”!