Capistrano Takes the HighLine, I Mean Road

James Edward Gray

1 min read

May 13, 2007

Capistrano Takes the HighLine, I Mean Road

If you are following the Capistrano preview releases, you may have noticed a new dependency. Capistrano now depends on HighLine, an open source input library by yours truly.

The reason for the switch is that Capistrano needed a reliable way to grab passwords in a cross-platform way. That turns out to be a lot harder than you might guess. On Unix, termios can make short work of such challenges, but that’s an extra C extension install and it doesn’t work on Windows.

HighLine combines the knowledge of several platform gurus to use the right solutions in the right place. Even with all that knowledge as an advantage Capistrano’s maintainer, Jamis Buck, still had concerns. termios can’t be made a HighLine dependency, since we want to stay cross-platform and when defaulting to stty HighLine was a little flaky for the way Capistrano users might need it. Jamis and I discussed these concerns and HighLine was patched with better support for Capistrano’s needs. Jamis later added the dependency and HighLine benefited from another round of expert knowledge.

It still impresses me how much we can accomplish with the super friendly open source model of development. Thanks for the input Jamis!

Mark Dalrymple

Reviewer Big Nerd Ranch

MarkD is a long-time Unix and Mac developer, having worked at AOL, Google, and several start-ups over the years.  He’s the author of Advanced Mac OS X Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide, over 100 blog posts for Big Nerd Ranch, and an occasional speaker at conferences. Believing in the power of community, he’s a co-founder of CocoaHeads, an international Mac and iPhone meetup, and runs the Pittsburgh PA chapter. In his spare time, he plays orchestral and swing band music.

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