Using continuous integration testing to test the iRail API backend

December 3rd, 2010

Test result matrixToday, I discovered that ‘Brussel Noord’ was missing from the station list provided by the iRail API. This could be a serious problem as the list is used by developers to do auto-completion and searching [1]. The data is also used by clients to go from initial state (stations loaded, please select two) to the information providing state.

It’s possible that the end-user can assert that there really is a problem (as he or she might know the station exists). But not before investing some effort in a check for typos; maybe restarting the app; or as to no avail, curse in agony hoping for a better response the second time around. Whatever the action, the results will be the same: the widget creator shall hence forth be deemed as unreliable in the users’ mind.

As there is really no way of telling that the station list is correctly loaded, there can also be no measure of quality of the service provided by the iRail API. As I explain in this post I attempt to rectify that situation by providing our fellow iRail developers with the beginnings of something called continuous integration.

[1] luckily the error occurs on the development branch, no need to worry if you are an end-user of iRail

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iRail API wrapper using jQuery

November 26th, 2010

iRail The Project (developer site) has a developed a public API to query Belgian train information from. They decided to push forward after our Belgian railroads tried to put a stop to them. I praise their good will and courage, and because these kinds of data want to be open, I will put my code where my mouth is: I have written a javascript API wrapper using jQuery which makes it possible to easily query Belgian railroad data on your website.

You can have a look at the demo on

If your would like to contribute, write more testcases or help with the documentation, don’t hesitate to fork or download the code from

If you’d like to read up on the saga, there is more information on tuinslak’s blog:

serving files from linux to mac

November 22nd, 2010

OSX finder sharedI took some time this weekend to figure out how to do filesharing from linux to mac using the AFP protocol.

My findings are here: HOWTO: Serve files using AFP/netatalk from Fedora Linux to Mac OSX Leopard clients