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My name is Wayne Robinson and I'm a web applications developer from Queensland, Australia. In August 2005 I discovered Ruby on Rails and instantly fell in love. From that point forward, Ruby on Rails has been my language of choice for new projects however, I still use PHP to maintain some legacy applications.


Entries in programming (7)


Xeroizer now installable with gem

A minor update to the Xeroizer library, it is now installable with plain-old rubygems.

To install the latest alpha release:

gem install xeroizer

Please feel free to try it out and provide feedback through github.


Xeorizer Updated to Xero API V2.06

Well, that was quicker than I expected. 

Xeroizer has now been updated to support the Xero API V2.06 including:

  • Manual journal create/update/view (can only create draft invoices for now)
  • Inventory items create/update/view
  • Invoice line items can now be specified with the item_code which uses defaults for the item from Xero
  • PDF versions of invoices and credit notes can be retrieved with the Invoice#pdf([filename]) method
  • Payments can now have a reference specified on creation.

As always, remember this library is still only alpha-quality, so please make sure to test, test, test.



Xero API Release V2.06

Today Xero released some extra functionality to their API including JSON responses, manual journal entry, items and PDF invoices.

Of great interest to me is the ability to download PDF invoices directly from Xero which are formatted according to the chosen branding theme. This functionality will greatly decrease the time to market of my new application (still in stealth) by a few weeks and has me very excited.

My ruby library (Xeroizer) will be updated to work with these new features within the next week or so. Keep a watch on the project to keep up-to-date as changes are made and feel free to submit pull-requests for desired functionality. I usually respond within 24 hours.


Xeroizer ruby library

Given that Xero (cue the hyperbole about how Xero is great) has just updated their development API and they are planning to do this much more in the future, I have taken this opportunity to create my own ruby-based library for it.

This library builds off the awesome work done by Tim Connor for the first & second API releases.

My version changes things up a bit by:

  • adding Partner-application support
  • making data-access more ActiveRecord-like (although definitely not feature-complete) 
  • simplifying the definition (and redefinition as Xero continues to add to their API) of models to make keeping them up-to-date and testable easier.

I also plan on adding some features to the querying engine to make it easier to filter results whilst staying within the ruby language (and not having to drop into C#).

If you want to get started, check out the README or if you want to dive right into the code, head over to and clone a copy.

Note: This is an alpha-level version of the API. Feel free to increase functionality and test coverage and send me a GitHub pull-request for integration.


Everyone is a programmer

After reading this article I wrote this article with one mouse click I realised that the requirement for writing code is becoming more and more important to professions other than software development. 

This idea is slowly permuatating  through the world of systems engineering with more and more systems administrators choosing to write and maintain scripts to keep their servers up-to-date, backed up and running efficiently. However, the above article reminded me that many other professions could benefit from their staff

  1. knowing about the power of scripting/development
  2. knowing how to write/use scripting languages
  3. be allowed to automate their repetitive tasks by their employer

A quick search of the Internet doesn't reveal any courses targeted to non-technical employers/employees about an introduction to scripting & automating repetitive tasks. If I had the skills to develop training programs I would seriously consider developing something.

Of course, there also aren't any simple and affordable tools available to make this type of scripting accessible to your average non-programmer. Sure, every business machine has J/VBScript & VBA however, both these languages are pretty low-level when it comes to getting things done.

Any thoughts, training programs or tools available that I have missed out there?


yUML makes UML fun?

Thankfully, due to the way I work and the 'clients' I work for I have few requirements to diagramme the applications I work on. However, there is the odd occassion where I need to create documentation for less (or traditionally) technically-minded people.

This usually results in me pulling out OmniGraffle or Visio and fighting with GUI-based design tools for presentation that really just represents fairly simple relationships, but I think I've found an answer.

yUML is a UML digramming tool that uses a simple, text-base DSL to describe your diagrammes, rather than fighting with mice and grids to get everything to fit together nicely.

For example, the below diagramme is generated with this very simple code:


If you want a simple, command line script to generate these images, check out the yUML Me Gem (although you will have to install Gemcutter first).

yUML can also make class and activity diagrammes, so check it out today.


Xero is greater than the rest

Well, that title definitely sounds like a marketing introduction but I swear, I have no affiliation with Xero apart from thinking that they have some of the best SME accounting software that I've come across.

Being web-based, getting transaction feeds directly from banks, having multi-currency support, simple expense claims, fixed-asset register and most importantly, an API for developers; Xero is highly integrated and, most importantly (and rarely), is actually fun to use.

For the last week or so I have been hacking away at the Ruby xero_gateway library project started by Tim Connor and have been having quite a lot of fun. It's great to take a break from customer-facing software for a while and developing code that will be used by other developers.

If you want to check out Xero, head on over to their main site or their developer's site.

Now, shameless plug, if you are an SME and looking to get some extra efficiency by integrating your current business processes/software with your accounting package, give me a shout and I'm sure to be able to help you get more (time/information/money) from less.