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Capybara, Selenium, Webkit and your Mobile Site

Your app now has mobile-friendly views. Do they have any Webkit-specific functionality that you want to test in-browser? Or rather, why are you testing your mobile views in desktop Firefox? Is it because Capybara/Selenium support for Webkit browsers was sketchy? Worry no more. Chrome 12, Capybara 1.0, and Selenium 2 are your new best friends.

So install Chrome, make sure your Gemfile has Capybara set to >= 1.0, bundle install and let's get configuring.

Update your SpecHelper

You have to tell Capybara that you want to use Selenium/Webdriver and Chrome. Put this in your spec_helper.rb file

Capybara.register_driver :selenium_chrome do |app|, :browser => :chrome)

Chrome & chromedriver

While there's been limited Selenium support in Chrome for a while, with release 12 there is an entirely new and complete automation interface to Chrome. To use it you need a platform-specifc chromedriver binary in order to connect Webdriver and Chrome. Download it, make sure it's executable, and put it on your path.

Chrome likes to update, so stay on the general release (if you can) to reduce update frequency. You can even take steps to prevent Chrome from updating, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.


That should be enough to get your Capybara specs to start using Chrome. You'll want to play with your setup and maybe only run some specs with this driver.


Webdriver does not appear to support Safari. This may matter to you if you're using this setup to approximate Mobile Safari. But for the types of tests you're likely writing for Selenium it should be good enough. After all, every mobile Webkit build is slightly different.

While complete (in terms of browser features) and far faster than previous Selenium-Chrome pairings, it's still slow-ish - for example, typing isn't nearly as fast as Firefox. So you might not want to make this your default stack for your entire Rails app.

You might make it your only stack if you're testing a Webkit & JavaScript only framework, say an HP webOS application using Enyo.

But that's another post.

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Ending Support for Tweed, our Twitter client for HP webOS

Over the past two years we've worked on Tweed, our webOS Twitter client, we've learned a lot about mobile development, JavaScript techniques and of course the Twitter client space. But the landscape has changed a lot recently so we've been thinking a lot about Tweed.

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Version 1.20: Photo tweets and other bug fixes

Version 1.20 is available in the App Catalog.

  • photo tweets (only TwitPic and Posterous)
  • video upload switched from TwitVid to Posteous (authentication issues)
  • refresh on lists would reload current tweets
  • lists causing duplicate/false notifications

Limited Media Upload Options

As Twitter is migrating to its new authentication mechanism, the various photo services are also doing their migration. However, they are in different stages of readiness, so at the moment only TwitPic and Posterous photo upload are supported.

Similarly, video upload has been switched to Posterous because of authentication support.

In a rush to release this version, some text in Tweed was not translated to the various languages and will only appear in English (though this version of Tweed is available in all international Palm App Catalogs).

Sorry again for the hassles with the new authentication model.

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Tweed 1.6: User Search, Copy Tweets, Internationalization

Version 1.6 has been submitted and should be in the App Catalog soon.


  • Load More showing gaps in home timeline (should finally be really fixed)
  • List notifications were false/repeats in some cases
  • links that had all capital letters didn't work
  • notification stability improvements (more may be needed though)

Features and Changes

  • Goto User (tap App menu, Goto User)
  • User Search (as you type in search box, option for user search will be presented)
  • Copy Tweet (gesture-tap of tweet -- hold finger in gesture area, then tap tweet )
  • Internationalization beta

Internationalization Beta

Tweed has been translated to the various languages for which webOS is available.

With this version, pricing returns to $2.99, though updates for existing paid users are free.

Tweed Tweed

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Tweed 1.5: Bug Fixes and Video Beta

Version 1.5 has been submitted and should be in the App Catalog soon.


  • Load More showing gaps in home timeline ( see below)
  • Links causing app to freeze
  • Notifications not clearing on loading the timeline
  • Wrong (and really big) notification counts in dashboard

Forward Gesture/Compose is still broken -- seems to be problem in webOS 1.4 update. (This seems broken in web browser application as well)

Features and Changes

  • basic/beta TwitVid integration for uploading video

Load More

Before 1.3, some users had gaps in their home timelines when clicking "Load More". We tried to fix this in 1.3 and probably made things worse.

We are going back to the previous methods we had in 1.2. While users may still see gaps, the problem seems to on the Twitter side. In more expansive testing, it seems that the Twitter API occasionally return the wrong tweets for Load More. We are trying to find out more from Twitter

While we think the Load More behavior will be better, we don't think this is fully resolved and might be outside our control.

Opening Links and Frozen App

This is a bit complicated. We thought our update to 1.3 fixed this. It did, for some users, it didn't for others.

Apparently there are some bugs in Palm's installer that have led to some files not being overridden, even though they changed. Upon testing, we've discovered version 1.3 installations that still have some of the 1.2 files.

We are hoping this update forces an overwrite of the files in question, but it may not for everyone. For those that still have trouble with links freezing the app:

  • try deleting Tweed first, then re-install -- this should clear out old files
  • if it still doesn't work, please email us at

Video Beta

We have integrated TwitVid uploads with Tweed. We consider this a beta and expect users to experience some problems. Honestly we wanted to let people experiment sooner than later.

The largest problem is upload stability -- video files can be sizable and the upload may fail, especially over cell. We suggest using video with wifi only.

There are some webOS challenges unfortunately to making this integration more robust. The file upload mechanism in webOS doesn't allow for resuming a failed upload: it is all or nothing. For larger files (like video), this is a bit fragile.

We are hoping Palm will provide other upload mechanisms that will allow us to make this more robust, but honestly, we are a bit stuck unless they make these changes.

We plan to make add features to Tweed to provide better feedback about progress and help make retries easier.

Free Version

As we announced some time ago, we are no longer continuing development on the free version of Tweed. We haven't the resources to continue developing two versions of the application.

Unfortunately, webOS 1.4 has broken Tweed and this is something we weren't expecting. However, we still aren't in a position to support both versions (free version is no longer in US catalog), so users of 0.9.x won't be getting an update. We are sorry for this and understand it will make Tweed unusable for many/most users of this version.

To make it easier for free users to upgrade to the paid version, we are going to reduce the price of Tweed from $2.99 to $0.99 for the next few weeks. As with all Palm apps, updates are free.

Tweed Tweed

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webOS Workshop Tech Talk posted

As promised, the video from the webOS Workshop we held on January 23rd is posted on our talks page.

It's full of tips & tricks for developing webOS applications, including a live "pairing" session with the audience.

Slides (such as they are) are posted here.

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What’s so funny ’bout pseudo-classical inheritance (in JavaScript)?

Our customers are asking for richer interfaces and user experiences. And so we - and by "we" I mean the Rails development community - are writing more and more JavaScript. We've gone from ignoring JS (using RJS server-side) to rendering JSON and writing our own jQuery plugins.

But in this transition some of us left our objects & design patterns on the server. Just because you're writing a click handler in JavaScript doesn't mean it couldn't, or shouldn't, be a method on an object.

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Tweed 1.3: RT Style setting, bug fixes

Version 1.3 has been submitted and should be in the App Catalog soon.


  • Load More showing gaps in home timeline
  • TweetPhoto: upload and in-app photo viewing restored
  • can remove account if username changed on Twitter
  • RT's now show timestamp of RT, not original tweet
  • webOS 1.4 issues are fixed (for upcoming webOS update)

Features and Changes

  • specify RT style: old, new or prompt (per tweet) tions

Tweed Tweed Tweed

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Report: Palm webOS Workshop 1/23

Sarah Allen approached Pivotal back in December wanting to host a Palm webOS hack session. She knew that there was curiosity among the San Francisco Rails community about the platform and wanted to have a hands-on coding day where they could learn.

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Tweed and Paid Palm Pre Apps

In the past, we've been asked if we planned to charge for Tweed. Until recently, we hadn't made a decision. Tweed began as an application we developed to learn Palm webOS, and it grew into something we started to depend on, so we decided to release it to the App Catalog.

At this point, Tweed has a thriving user base and continues to grow in its maturity and capabilities. However, this does come with considerable costs to Pivotal Labs and we can't indefinitely subsidize the entire cost of development. So, we've decided to make Tweed a paid application in the App Catalog.

We are committed to continuing to develop and support Tweed. Charging for it will let us keep bringing you new features, like the ones in the 1.0 release.

Existing Tweed users can continue to use the current version, (0.9.16) and you can still grab a copy until the paid apps are available; it will not timebomb and we're happy for you to keep using it. However, it will be removed from the App Catalog when the paid version replaces it. Hopefully you'll find the new features compelling enough to upgrade. (Unfortunately it will install as a new application, so you will have to re-enter your accounts and you will lose existing timeline markers and bookmarks. Sorry, this is a consequence of the new App Catalog and we have no influence over this.)

For Canadian users, Tweed will continue to be free until Palm launches a commerce enabled App Catalog in Canada. (This will be true for new Palm Pre markets as well.)


There will be a variety of new features available in the initial 1.0.0 release of the paid application.

  • true, direct photo upload (no more email)
    • TwitPic, TwitGoo, TweetPhoto, yFrog, Posterous
  • new notifications dashboards
  • full-screen view of user profile image (tap user picture on user profile scene)
  • preference for number of tweets on fetch
  • ability to change password
  • show number of tweets in user profile
  • direct messages can include photos




While we have lots planned for Tweed, some items of note include:

  • themes
  • landscape support
  • / url shorteners
  • Flickr upload support
  • more...


Tweed will normally cost $3.99. However, for the next few weeks, to help ease the transition, we will offer Tweed for the discounted price of $1.99.

We thank you all of using Tweed. While we know some of you will be disappointed that Tweed will be a paid-only application, we hope you will enjoy the new Tweed.

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