Kaptcha v2.3 And BuildMonitor v0.7

Jon released Kaptcha 2.3 which includes a patch I submitted about 2 months ago. This patch replaced imaging library with pixels. If you look closely at the new kaptcha image…

you will notice that the water effect (at the centre of the image) is now visible with pixels, whereas it wasn’t at all with imaging library in the original simplecaptcha implementation. I tested various settings of the water effect, and opted to minimise the effect so lowercase letters on a small font size are still easy on human eyes. Another change with 2.3 is the ripple effect on the characters. It’s not too obvious on the above image, but it’s more visible on uppercase letters with larger font size.

All in all, I think Kaptcha is a nice simple library that does the job. I started using it with Blojsom SCode Plugin, and contributed some improvements back to Kaptcha. Another (more popular) java-based captcha library is JCaptcha, which is also used by SCode Plugin. I’m not a big fan of JCaptcha for the simple reason that their generated captchas are hard to read. It’s interesting that similar comments were made on Hudson mailing list.

Now, on to Hudson Build Monitor. I just released BuildMonitor 0.7 last night. This version is compatible with the recently released Firefox 3.0.1, and it includes id-ID l10n as the first translation. Next version will have build executors monitoring. I’ve started working on the UI, but the data feed is yet to be added to Hudson core.

As you can see from the add-on page over at mozilla.org, this add-on still hasn’t received an approval for public access. I understand that the AMO editors (which all/mostly are volunteers) have been working hard with the crazy number of submissions per day since Firefox 3 release, but I believe that the current approval process will keep facing the same problem every time there’s a sudden jump in the number of add-on reviews, unless Mozilla allocates additional editors to help out. This is not a rant or gripe towards the editors, on the contrary, kudos to them for the work that they’ve been doing.

If I can suggest a change to the approval review process, I think it’s better to distribute the review tasks to the submitters by specifying a detailed list of tests that must be done by those submitters, and keep the tasks that the editors must do as minimal as possible. For example, if AMO provided me with 50 things to test, then I would go through the list, record the tests as a video, and put them on youtube. The reviewers can then just review the video, and still perform only the really really necessary checks, like scanning the source code for any obvious security issues.

So, Hudson users, please be patient, you have to keep logging in to add-ons.mozilla.org to download the add-on for now :).

Random Project Updates

Haven’t made any project related post since July last year, so here’s a list of little things I spent some time on:

  • While playing around with Firefox Web Developer Extension, I found out that some Maven reports generated invalid HTML which could break the reports layout with non-default vm templates. Hence MFINDBUGS-29, MCHECKSTYLE-74, and MCHANGES-83.
  • After integrating Kaptcha in SCode Plugin 0.5, I spent some time working on the Kaptcha project itself where most of the effort was on refactoring the original SimpleCaptcha code. That, and some other patches have made it to Kaptcha 2.1 and 2.2 .
  • I replaced all usages of JMock with EasyMock on all of my Java projects (I know, a stupid thing to do because EasyMock-ing is also no fun). Looking forward to giving Mockito a try at work. No, there will be no effort to replace EasyMock with Mockito regardless of the outcome.
  • As mentioned on my Slicehosted post, I rewrote Wish using Rails. I also spent more time playing with Ruby/Rails and I could see why some people love them. Personally, I’m still leaning towards Java. I think static typing is better in the long run. My take on the whole Ruby vs Java fiasco… people have different perspectives and opinions, there’s not one true programming language nirvana, Ruby and Java communities will learn to co-exist peacefully.
  • Since this blog is now using WordPress (damn, I hate upgrading WordPress everytime there’s a security fix), and because there hadn’t been any activity in Blojsom development, I decided to stop following Blojsom mailing lists for now. Nabble shows that I’ve been posting since July 2005 to February 2008, it didn’t feel that long at all :). I will still maintain the Blojsom plugins I created and I still have some patches to contribute to Blojsom core.

Kink, New SCode Flavor

Jon Stevens resurrected Simple Captcha in the form of Kaptcha. The good thing about Simple Captcha / Kaptcha is that it generates an image similar to the ones used at Yahoo!. Other than that, it’s really straightforward to use.

I quickly integrated Kaptcha into SCode Plugin by introducing KinkImageEngine, exposed to Blojsom via “kink” flavor. Here’s how it looks like:

This flavor will be included in SCode Plugin 0.5 (yet to be released).