Thomas Fuchs
Hi, I'm Thomas Fuchs. I'm the author of Zepto.js, of, and I'm a Ruby on Rails core alumnus. With Amy Hoy I'm building cheerful software, like Noko Time Tracking and Every Time Zone and write books like
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Autocompleting text fields in 3 minutes video [Updated 2x]

June 29th, 2005

Actually, it’s less than 3 minutes. But watch the video for yourself:

Autocompleting text fields with 2 lines of code video

The video shows how to use auto_complete_for and the text_field_with_autocomplete helper in the up-and-coming next Ruby on Rails version.

Update (second version of video): With a tiny bit more effort, you can even do something like this:

Customized autocompleting text fields with some more lines of code video

2. Update: A more detailed tutorial and another video on how to use this can be found on Adrian Agafiteis weblog!

The AJAX autocompleter itself is a part of the web 2.0 javascript libs—and can be used independently of Rails (if you really want to, that is).

New beta

June 28th, 2005

A new beta version of is ready for downloading:

So, what’s new inside?

  • Updated to Prototype 1.3.0
  • Added autocompleting text fields w/ AJAX
  • Added Effect.Transitions.pulse
  • Added Effect.Pulsate and Effect.Fold effect by Justin Palmer
  • Added transitions by Mark Pilgrim: .full, .none
  • Added effects by Mark Pilgrim: Effect.Grow, Effect.Shrink
  • Added Element.setContentZoom() function
  • Added expanded Effect.Highlight (“Yellow Fade Technique”) to have user-defined colors and autodetecting the background color
  • New overridable options on Draggables/Sortables: zindex, starteffect, reverteffect, endeffect

Important bugs nailed:

  • Fixed sortables that are absolutely positioned
  • Fixed draggables on pages with no droppables
  • Fix a Gecko engine flicker on Sortables in dragdrop.js
  • Sortable.serialize now honors the only option on Sortable.create

which use the AJAX capabilities of Prototype.

The latest Ruby on Rails trunk has dedicated helper support for this.

Documentation will follow when I release a 1.0 version.

Autocompleting text fields in next Rails version

June 26th, 2005

For some additional sugar on top of the next Ruby on Rails version which is due out soon, next to the effects and drag-and-drop scripts, there are yummy AJAX-powered autocompleting text fields (which will also be released on soon).

Do Google Suggest with 2 lines of code.

For a quick look on what you can do with this, sit back and watch the video.

Signal vs. Noise weblog on using for Backpack

June 23rd, 2005

37signals’ Signal vs. Noise weblog writes on how drag and drop came to Backpack:

It’s never been easier to bring higher-level interactivity to your web apps.

Be sure to check out the video on how intuitively drag-and-drop integrates with Backpack!

On his personal weblog Loud thinking, David writes:

But the real reason this is a big deal is because the rocket science department has been put on leave. With the Javascript library by Thomas Fuchs, that builds on the great Prototype library from Sam Stephenson, it’s silly easy to add advanced drag’n’drop to your Rails (or any) application.

By taking the complexity out of the ordeal, it becomes more accessible, less of a project, and more something you just do. Rails initial support for Ajax through Prototype had the same characteristics. Make it as easy as not to. And thus, Backpack was filled to the brim with Ajaxing goodies. Something it certainly wouldn’t have been if we were doing it old skool style with loads of custom Javascript build by experts.

So, the Web 2.0 Javascript libraries will be included with the next release of Ruby on Rails!

To get the very latest releases of the libraries, point your browser to the instructions on how to access the SVN repository – hosted on the Ruby on Rails development site of course.

Next thing to come to a browser near you: Upload Progress

June 22nd, 2005

Sean Treadway has just updated the upload progress patch for Rails to include some nice new features and make it even easier to use than before. Read more about it on Sean’s weblog!

And be sure to check out the new how-to video! 🙂 launched!

June 22nd, 2005

The Web is changing. The 30-year-old terminal-like technology it was originally is gradually giving way to new ways of doing things.

Web apps don’t have to stay behind the current graphical trends in ultra-rich-desktop-applications. And they don’t have to resort to fancy plug-ins that break usability and accessibility. Browsers and standards have reached a stage where advanced animations are finally possible to do with JavaScript.

In an attempt to consolidate into one place all the scripts that happened to come into existence over the last few months, I’ve finally managed to come up with this site. Hope you like it.


It’s coming soon to a browser near you…

June 19th, 2005

UPDATE 2005/06/21: Planned going online: TODAY!

Meanwhile, here is a great screenshot:

JavaScript drag-and-drop library maturing

June 19th, 2005

My JavaScript Drag-and-drop library extension for Prototype got some new features:

  • Sortables now work inside scrolled elements (demo page)
  • Sortables now accept an only parameter, to make only child elements with a specfic CSS class sortable, this way you can have non-sortable elements within your list or your floatables
  • Droppables now accept more than one CSS class when using accept.

Some other stuff that is on the TODO-List for a 1.0 release:

  • Make effects on dragging and dropping customizable (that is, make it completely override what happens when a drag starts and ends)
  • On Sortable, provide a way to give options to the underlying Draggables

You’ll find more, including some suggested features for a 2.0 release on the info page for the Drag-and-Drop extension.

Update: There seems to be some performance slowdown on Mozilla based browsers with the latest version. I’ve already made some optimizations, but more are needed. Please reports your findings on your browsers!

Fun stuff with Mac minis

June 16th, 2005

Besides doing serious projects (for food) I’m using some of my time for absolutely cool (IMHO) art projects, like this interactive 3D multimedia stuff.

The Mac minis came in handy because of their quite powerful 3D-acceleration. We attached an iSight for sound input, too.

One of the minis is now a development server, of course running Ruby on Rails.

Source code (for Processing) coming soon!

New FCGI gem released; fixes memory leaks

June 16th, 2005

If you aren’t running 0.8.6 of the Ruby FCGI bindings yet (which fixes a serious memory leak), head over to too-biased now!

Basically, the gem in the main gem repository has been updated, so you just have to do a

$ sudo gem install fcgi

to install the latest-and-greatest version. Be sure to uninstall any other versions of Ruby FCGI first.