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How do I get the path of the directory in which a bash script is located FROM that bash script.

For instance, lets say I want to use a bash script as a launcher for another application. I want to change working directory to the one where the bash script is located so I can operate on the files in that directory like so:

$ ./application
Answered By: dogbane ( 838)
DIR="$( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" && pwd )"

Is a useful one-liner which will give you the full directory name of the script no matter where it is being called from

These will work as long as the last component of the path used to find the script is not a symlink (directory links are OK). If you want to also resolve any links to the script itself, you need a multi-line solution:

while [ -h "$SOURCE" ]; do # resolve $SOURCE until the file is no longer a symlink
  DIR="$( cd -P "$( dirname "$SOURCE" )" && pwd )"
  SOURCE="$(readlink "$SOURCE")"
  [[ $SOURCE != /* ]] && SOURCE="$DIR/$SOURCE" # if $SOURCE was a relative symlink, we need to resolve it relative to the path where the symlink file was located
DIR="$( cd -P "$( dirname "$SOURCE" )" && pwd )"

This last one will work with any combination of aliases, source, bash -c, symlinks, etc.

Beware: if you cd to a different directory before running this snippet, the result may be incorrect!

To understand how it works, try running this more verbose form:


while [ -h "$SOURCE" ]; do # resolve $SOURCE until the file is no longer a symlink
  TARGET="$(readlink "$SOURCE")"
  if [[ $SOURCE == /* ]]; then
    echo "SOURCE '$SOURCE' is an absolute symlink to '$TARGET'"
    DIR="$( dirname "$SOURCE" )"
    echo "SOURCE '$SOURCE' is a relative symlink to '$TARGET' (relative to '$DIR')"
    SOURCE="$DIR/$TARGET" # if $SOURCE was a relative symlink, we need to resolve it relative to the path where the symlink file was located
echo "SOURCE is '$SOURCE'"
RDIR="$( dirname "$SOURCE" )"
DIR="$( cd -P "$( dirname "$SOURCE" )" && pwd )"
if [ "$DIR" != "$RDIR" ]; then
  echo "DIR '$RDIR' resolves to '$DIR'"
echo "DIR is '$DIR'"

And it will print something like:

SOURCE './' is a relative symlink to 'sym2/' (relative to '.')
SOURCE is './sym2/'
DIR './sym2' resolves to '/home/ubuntu/dotfiles/fo fo/real/real1/real2'
DIR is '/home/ubuntu/dotfiles/fo fo/real/real1/real2'

I've recently started maintaining someone else's JavaScript code. I'm fixing bugs, adding features and also trying to tidy up the code and make it more consistent.

The previous developer uses two ways of declaring functions and I can't work out if there is a reason behind it or not.

The two ways are:

var functionOne = function() {
    // Some code
function functionTwo() {
    // Some code

What are the reasons for using these two different methods and what are the pros and cons of each? Is there anything that can be done with one method that can't be done with the other?

Answered By: Greg ( 629)

The difference is that functionTwo is defined at parse-time for a script block, whereas functionOne is defined at run-time. For example:

  // Error

  var functionOne = function() {

  // No error

  function functionTwo() {

Sight is one of the senses most programmers take for granted. Most programmers would spend hours looking at a computer monitor (especially during times when they are in the zone), but I know there are blind programmers (such as T.V. Raman who currently works for Google).

If you were a blind person (or slowly becoming blind), how would you set up your development environment to assist you in programming?

(One suggestion per answer please. The purpose of this question is to bring the good ideas to the top. In addition, screen readers can read the good ideas earlier.)

Answered By: Jared ( 1021)

I am a totally blind college student who’s had several programming internships so my answer will be based off these. I use windows xp as my operating system and Jaws to read what appears on the screen to me in synthetic speech. For java programming I use eclipse, since it’s a fully featured IDE that is accessible.

In my experience as a general rule java programs that use SWT as the GUI toolkit are more accessible then programs that use Swing which is why I stay away from netbeans. For any .net programming I use visual studio 2005 since it was the standard version used at my internship and is very accessible using Jaws and a set of scripts that were developed to make things such as the form designer more accessible.

For C and C++ programming I use cygwin with gcc as my compiler and emacs or vim as my editor depending on what I need to do. A lot of my internship involved programming for Z/OS. I used an rlogin session through Cygwin to access the USS subsystem on the mainframe and C3270 as my 3270 emulator to access the ISPF portion of the mainframe.

I usually rely on synthetic speech but do have a Braille display. I find I usually work faster with speech but use the Braille display in situations where punctuation matters and gets complicated. Examples of this are if statements with lots of nested parenthesis’s and JCL where punctuation is incredibly important.


I'm playing with Emacspeak under cygwin I'm not sure if this will be usable as a programming editor since it appears to be somewhat unresponsive but I haven't looked at any of the configuration options yet.

Suppose a1, b1, c1, and d1 point to heap memory and my numerical code has the following core loop.

const int n=100000

for(int j=0;j<n;j++){
    a1[j] += b1[j];
    c1[j] += d1[j];

This loop is executed 10,000 times via another outer for loop. To speed it up, I changed the code to:

for(int j=0;j<n;j++){
    a1[j] += b1[j];
for(int j=0;j<n;j++){
    c1[j] += d1[j];

Compiled on MS Visual C++ 10.0 with full optimization and SSE2 enabled for 32-bit on a Intel Core 2 Duo (x64), the first example takes 5.5 seconds and the double-loop example takes only 1.9 seconds. My question is: (Please refer to the my rephrased question at the bottom)

PS: I am not sure, if this helps:

Disassembly for the first loop basically looks like this (this block is repeated about five times in the full program):

movsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [edx+18h]
addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [ecx+20h]
movsd       mmword ptr [ecx+20h],xmm0
movsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [esi+10h]
addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [eax+30h]
movsd       mmword ptr [eax+30h],xmm0
movsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [edx+20h]
addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [ecx+28h]
movsd       mmword ptr [ecx+28h],xmm0
movsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [esi+18h]
addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [eax+38h]

Each loop of the double loop example produces this code (the following block is repeated about three times):

addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [eax+28h]
movsd       mmword ptr [eax+28h],xmm0
movsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [ecx+20h]
addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [eax+30h]
movsd       mmword ptr [eax+30h],xmm0
movsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [ecx+28h]
addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [eax+38h]
movsd       mmword ptr [eax+38h],xmm0
movsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [ecx+30h]
addsd       xmm0,mmword ptr [eax+40h]
movsd       mmword ptr [eax+40h],xmm0

EDIT: The question turned out to be of no relevance, as the behavior severely depends on the sizes of the arrays (n) and the CPU cache. So if there is further interest, I rephrase the question:

Could you provide some solid insight into the details that lead to the different cache behaviors as illustrated by the five regions on the following graph?

It might also be interesting to point out the differences between CPU/cache architectures, by providing a similar graph for these CPUs.

PPS: The full code is at It uses TBB Tick_Count for higher resolution timing, which can be disabled by not defining the TBB_TIMING Macro.

(It shows FLOP/s for different values of n.)

enter image description here

Answered By: Mysticial ( 626)

Upon further analysis of this, I believe this is (at least partially) caused by data alignment of the four pointers. This will cause some level of cache bank/way conflicts.

If I've guessed correctly on how you are allocating your arrays, they are likely to be aligned to the page line.

This means that all your accesses in each loop will fall on the same cache way. However, Intel processors have had 8-way L1 cache associativity for a while. But in reality, the performance isn't completely uniform. Accessing 4-ways is still slower than say 2-ways.

EDIT : It does in fact look like you are allocating all the arrays separately. Usually when such large allocations are requested, the allocator will request fresh pages from the OS. Therefore, there is a high chance that large allocations will appear at the same offset from a page-boundary.

Here's the test code:

int main(){
    const int n = 100000;

    double *a1 = (double*)malloc(n * sizeof(double));
    double *b1 = (double*)malloc(n * sizeof(double));
    double *c1 = (double*)malloc(n * sizeof(double));
    double *d1 = (double*)malloc(n * sizeof(double));
    double *a1 = (double*)malloc(n * sizeof(double) * 4);
    double *b1 = a1 + n;
    double *c1 = b1 + n;
    double *d1 = c1 + n;

    //  Zero the data to prevent any chance of denormals.
    memset(a1,0,n * sizeof(double));
    memset(b1,0,n * sizeof(double));
    memset(c1,0,n * sizeof(double));
    memset(d1,0,n * sizeof(double));

    //  Print the addresses
    cout << a1 << endl;
    cout << b1 << endl;
    cout << c1 << endl;
    cout << d1 << endl;

    clock_t start = clock();

    int c = 0;
    while (c++ < 10000){

        for(int j=0;j<n;j++){
            a1[j] += b1[j];
            c1[j] += d1[j];
        for(int j=0;j<n;j++){
            a1[j] += b1[j];
        for(int j=0;j<n;j++){
            c1[j] += d1[j];


    clock_t end = clock();
    cout << "seconds = " << (double)(end - start) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC << endl;

    return 0;

Benchmark Results:

EDIT: Results on an actual Core 2 architecture machine:

2 x Intel Xeon X5482 Harpertown @ 3.2 GHz:

#define ONE_LOOP
seconds = 6.206

//#define ONE_LOOP
seconds = 2.116

#define ONE_LOOP
seconds = 1.894

//#define ONE_LOOP
seconds = 1.993


  • 6.206 seconds with one loop and 2.116 seconds with two loops. This reproduces the OP's results exactly.

  • In the first two tests, the arrays are allocated separately. You'll notice that they all have the same alignment relative to the page.

  • In the second two tests, the arrays are packed together to break that alignment. Here you'll notice both loops are faster. Furthermore, the second (double) loop is now the slower one as you would normally expect.

As @Stephen Cannon points out in the comments, there is very likely possibility that this alignment causes false aliasing in the load/store units or the cache. I Googled around for this and found that Intel actually has a hardware counter for partial address aliasing stalls:

5 Regions - Explanations

Region 1:

This one is easy. The dataset is so small that the performance is dominated by overhead like looping and branching.

Region 2:

Here, as the data sizes increases, the amount of relative overhead goes down and the performance "saturates". Here two loops is slower because it has twice as much loop and branching overhead.

I'm not sure exactly what's going on here... Alignment could still play an effect as Agner Fog mentions cache bank conflicts. (That link is about Sandy Bridge, but the idea should still be applicable to Core 2.)

Region 3:

At this point, the data no longer fits in L1 cache. So performance is capped by the L1 <-> L2 cache bandwidth.

Region 4:

The performance drop in the single-loop is what we are observing. And as mentioned, this is due to the alignment which (most likely) causes false aliasing stalls in the processor load/store units.

However, in order for false aliasing to occur, there must be a large enough stride between the datasets. This is why you don't see this in region 3.

Region 5:

At this point, nothing fits in cache. So you're bound by memory bandwidth.

2 x Intel X5482 Harpertown @ 3.2 GHz Intel Core i7 870 @ 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 2600K @ 4.4 GHz


Since the upgrade to iOS 6, we are seeing Safari's web view take the liberty of caching $.ajax calls. This is in the context of a PhoneGap application so it is using the Safari WebView. Our $.ajax calls are POST methods and we have cache set to false {cache:false}, but still this is happening. We tried manually adding a timestamp to the headers but it did not help.

We did more research and found that Safari is only returning cached results for web services that have a function signature that is static and does not change from call to call. For instance, imagine a function called something like:


This function receives the same input parameters over and over again, but the data it returns should be different every time.

Must be in Apple's haste to make iOS 6 zip along impressively they got too happy with the cache settings. Has anyone else seen this behavior on iOS 6? If so, what exactly is causing it?

The workaround that we found was to modify the function signature to be something like this:

getNewRecordID(intRecordType, strTimestamp)

and then always pass in a timestamp parameter as well, and just discard that value on the server side. This works around the issue. I hope this helps some other poor soul who spends 15 hours on this issue like I did!

Answered By: Kieran ( 333)

After a bit of investigation, turns out that Safari on iOS6 will cache POSTs that have either no Cache-Control headers or even "Cache-Control: max-age=0".

The only way I've found of preventing this caching from happening at a global level rather than having to hack random querystrings onto the end of service calls is to set "Cache-Control: no-cache".


  • No Cache-Control or Expires headers = iOS6 Safari will cache
  • Cache-Control max-age=0 and an immediate Expires = iOS6 Safari will cache
  • Cache-Control: no-cache = iOS6 Safari will NOT cache

I suspect that Apple is taking advantage of this from the HTTP spec in section 9.5 about POST:

Responses to this method are not cacheable, unless the response includes appropriate Cache-Control or Expires header fields. However, the 303 (See Other) response can be used to direct the user agent to retrieve a cacheable resource.

So in theory you can cache POST responses...who knew. But no other browser maker has ever thought it would be a good idea until now. But that does NOT account for the caching when no Cache-Control or Expires headers are set, only when there are some set. So it must be a bug.

Below is what I use in the right bit of my Apache config to target the whole of my API because as it happens I don't actually want to cache anything, even gets. What I don't know is how to set this just for POSTs.

Header set Cache-Control "no-cache"

Update: Just noticed that I didn't point out that it is only when the POST is the same, so change any of the POST data or URL and you're fine. So you can as mentioned elsewhere just add some random data to the URL or a bit of POST data.

Update: You can limit the "no-cache" just to POSTs if you wish like this in Apache:

SetEnvIf Request_Method "POST" IS_POST
Header set Cache-Control "no-cache" env=IS_POST

I have a 2.67 GHz Celeron processor, 1.21 GB of RAM on a x86 Windows XP Professional machine. My understanding is that the Android emulator should start fairly quickly on such a machine, but for me it does not. I have followed all instructions in setting up the IDE, SDKs, JDKs and such and have had some success in staring the emulator quickly but is very particulary. How can I, if possible, fix this problem?

Even if it starts and loads the home screen, it is very sluggish. I have tried the Eclipse IDE in Galileos, and Ganymede.

Answered By: Vikas Patidar ( 401)

Android Development Tools (ADT) 9.0.0 (or later) has a feature that allows you to save state of the AVD (emulator) and you can start your emulator instantly. You have to enable this feature while creating a new AVD or you can just create it later by editing the AVD.

Also I have increased the Device RAM Size to 1024 which results in very fast emulator.

Refer the given below screenshots for more information.

Creating a new AVD with the save snapshot feature.

Android emulator with save snapshot feature.

Launching the emulator from the snapshot.

Launching the emulator from the snapshot.


It seems to be the general opinion that tables should not be used for layout in HTML.


I have never (or rarely to be honest) seen good arguments for this. The usual answers are:

  • It's good to separate content from layout
    But this is a fallacious argument; Cliche Thinking. I guess it's true that using the table element for layout has little to do with tabular data. So what? Does my boss care? Do my users care?

    Perhaps me or my fellow developers who have to maintain a web page care... Is a table less maintainable? I think using a table is easier than using divs and CSS.

    By the way... why is using a div or a span good separation of content from layout and a table not? Getting a good layout with only divs often requires a lot of nested divs.

  • Readability of the code
    I think it's the other way around. Most people understand HTML, few understand CSS.

  • It's better for SEO not to use tables
    Why? Can anybody show some evidence that it is? Or a statement from Google that tables are discouraged from an SEO perspective?

  • Tables are slower.
    An extra tbody element has to be inserted. This is peanuts for modern web browsers. Show me some benchmarks where the use of a table significantly slows down a page.

  • A layout overhaul is easier without tables, see css Zen Garden.
    Most web sites that need an upgrade need new content (HTML) as well. Scenarios where a new version of a web site only needs a new CSS file are not very likely. Zen Garden is a nice web site, but a bit theoretical. Not to mention its misuse of CSS.

I am really interested in good arguments to use divs + CSS instead of tables.

Answered By: Konrad Rudolph ( 498)

I'm going to go through your arguments one after another and try to show the errors in them.

It's good to separate content from layout But this is a fallacious argument; Cliché Thinking.

It's not fallacious at all because HTML was designed intentionally. Misuse of an element might not be completely out of question (after all, new idioms have developed in other languages, as well) but possible negative implications have to be counterbalanced. Additionally, even if there were no arguments against misusing the <table> element today, there might be tomorrow because of the way browser vendors apply special treatment to the element. After all, they know that “<table> elements are for tabular data only” and might use this fact to improve the rendering engine, in the process subtly changing how <table>s behave, and thus breaking cases where it was previously misused.

So what? Does my boss care? Do my users care?

Depends. Is your boss pointy-haired? Then he might not care. If she's competent, then she will care, because the users will.

Perhaps me or my fellow developers who have to maintain a web page care... Is a table less maintainable? I think using a table is easier than using divs and css.

The majority of professional web developers seem to oppose you[citation needed]. That tables are in fact less maintainable should be obvious. Using tables for layout means that changing the corporate layout will in fact mean changing every single page. This can be very expensive. On the other hand, judicious use of semantically meaningful HTML combined with CSS might confine such changes to the CSS and the pictures used.

By the way... why is using a div or a span good separation of content from layout and a table not? Getting a good layout with only divs often requires a lot of nested divs.

Deeply nested <div>s are an anti-pattern just as table layouts. Good web designers don't need many of them. On the other hand, even such deep-nested divs don't have many of the problems of table layouts. In fact, they can even contribute to a semantic structure by logically dividing the content in parts.

Readability of the code I think it's the other way around. Most people understand html, little understand css. It's simpler.

“Most people” don't matter. Professionals matter. For professionals, table layouts create many more problems than HTML + CSS. This is like saying I shouldn't use GVim or Emacs because Notepad is simpler for most people. Or that I shouldn't use LaTeX because MS Word is simpler for most people.

It's better for SEO not to use tables

I don't know if this is true and wouldn't use this as an argument but it would be logical. Search engines search for relevant data. While tabular data could of course be relevant, it's rarely what users search for. Users search for terms used in the page title or similarly prominent positions. It would therefore be logical to exclude tabular content from filtering and thus cutting the processing time (and costs!) by a large factor.

Tables are slower. An extra tbody element has to be inserted. This is peanuts for modern web browsers.

The extra element has got nothing to do with tables being slower. On the other hand, the layout algorithm for tables is much harder, the browser often has to wait for the whole table to load before it can begin to layout the content. Additionally, caching of the layout won't work (CSS can easily be cached). All this has been mentioned before.

Show me some benchmarks where the use of a table significantly slows down a page.

Unfortunately, I don't have any benchmark data. I would be interested in it myself because it's right that this argument lacks a certain scientific rigour.

Most web sites that need an upgrade need new content (html) as well. Scenarios where a new version of a web site only needs a new css file are not very likely.

Not at all. I've worked on several cases where changing the design was simplified by a separation of content and design. It's often still necessary to change some HTML code but the changes will always be much more confined. Additionally, design changes must on occasion be made dynamically. Consider template engines such as the one used by the WordPress blogging system. Table layouts would literally kill this system. I've worked on a similar case for a commercial software. Being able to change the design without changing the HTML code was one of the business requirements.

Another thing. Table layout makes automated parsing of websites (screen scraping) much harder. This might sound trivial because, after all, who does it? I was surprised myself. Screen scraping can help a lot if the service in question doesn't offer a WebService alternative to access its data. I'm working in bioinformatics where this is a sad reality. Modern web techniques and WebServices have not reached most developers and often, screen scraping is the only way to automate the process of getting data. No wonder that many biologists still perform such tasks manually. For thousands of data sets.

Артём Царионов

I have RSI problems and have tried 30 different computer keyboards which all caused me pain. Playing piano does not cause me pain. I have played piano for around 20 years without any pain issues. I would like to know if there is a way to capture MIDI from a MIDI keyboard and output keyboard strokes. I know nothing at all about MIDI but I would like some guidance on how to convert this signal into a keystroke.

Answered By: T.J. Crowder ( 396)

I haven't done any MIDI programming in years, but your fundamental idea is very sound (no pun).

MIDI is a stream of "events" (or "messages"), two of the most fundamental being "note on" and "note off" which carry with them the note number (0 = C five octaves below middle C, through 127 = G five octaves above the G above middle C, in semi-tones). These events carry a "velocity" number on keyboards that are velocity sensitive ("touch sensitive"), with a force of (you guessed it) between 0 and 127.

Between velocity, chording, and the pedals, I'd think you could come up with quite a good "typing" interface for the piano keyboard. Chording in particular could be a very powerful technique — as I mentioned in the comments, it's why rank-and-file stenographers can use a stenotype machine to keep up with people talking for hours in a row, when even top-flight typists wouldn't be able to for any length of time via normal typewriter-style keyboards. As with machine stenography, you'd need a "dictionary" of the meanings of chords and sequences of chords. (Can you tell I used to work in the software side of machine stenography?)

To do this, the fundamental pieces are:

  • Receiving MIDI input. Don't try to do this yourself, use a library. Edit: Apparently, the Java Sound API supports MIDI, including receiving events from MIDI controllers. Cool. This page may also be useful.
  • Converting that data into the keystrokes you want to send, e.g. via the dictionary I mentioned above.
  • Outputting the keystrokes to the computer.

To be most broadly-compatible with software, you'd have to write this as a keyboard device driver. This is a plug-in to the operating system that serves as a source for keyboard events, talking to the underlying hardware (in your case, the piano keyboard). For Windows and Linux, you're probably going to want to use C for that.

However, since you're just generating keystrokes (not trying to intercept them, which I was trying to do years ago), you may be able to use whatever features the operating system has for sending artificial keystrokes. Windows has an interface for doing that (probably several, the one I'm thinking of is SendInput but I know there's some "journal" interface that does something similar), and I'm sure other operating systems do as well. That may well be sufficient for your purposes — it's where I'd start, because the device driver route is going to be awkward and you'd probably have to use a different language for it than Java. (I'm a big fan of Java, but the interfaces that operating systems use to talk to device drivers tend to be more easily consumed via C and similar.)

Update: More about the "dictionary" of chords to keystrokes:

Basically, the dictionary is a trie (thanks, @Adam) that we search with longest-prefix matching. Details:

In machine stenography, the stenographer writes by pressing multiple keys on the stenotype machine at the same time, then releasing them all. They call this a "stroke" of the keyboard; it's like playing a chord on the piano. Strokes frequently (but not always) correspond to a syllable of spoken language. Like syllables, sometimes one stroke (chord) has meaning all on its own, other times it only has meaning combined with following strokes. (Think "good" vs. "good" followed by "bye"). Although they'll be heavily influenced by the school at which they studied, each stenographer will have their own "dictionary" of what strokes they use to mean what, a dictionary they will continuously hone over the course of their working lives. The dictionary will have entries where the stenographic part ("steno", for short) is one stroke long, or multiple strokes long. Frequently, there will be several entries with the same starting stroke which are differentiated by their length and by the subsequent strokes. For instance (and I won't use real steno here, just placeholders), there may be these entries:

A     = alpha
A/B   = alphabet
A/B/C = alphabetic
A/C   = air conditioning
B     = bee
B/C   = because
C     = sea
D     = dog
D/D   = Dee Dee

(Those letters aren't meant to be musical notes, just abstract markers.)

Note that A starts multiple entries, and also note that how you translate a C stroke depends on whether you've previously seen an A, a B, or you're starting fresh.

Also note that (although not shown in the very small sample above), there may be multiple ways to "play" the same word or phrase, rather than just one. Stenographers do that to make it easier to flow from a preceding word to the next depending on hand position. There's an obvious analogy to music there, and you could use that to make your typing flow more akin to playing music, in order to both prevent this from negatively affecting your piano playing and to maximize the likelihood of this actually helping with the RSI.

When translating steno into standard text, again we use a "longest-prefix match" search: The translation algorithm starts with the first stroke ever written, and looks for entries starting with that stroke. If there is only one entry, and it's one stroke long, then we can reliably say "that's the entry to use", output the corresponding text, and then start fresh with the next stroke. But more likely, that stroke starts multiple entries of varying lengths. So we look at the next stroke and see if there are entries that start with those two strokes in order; and so on until we get a match.

So with the dictionary above, suppose we saw this sequence:


Here's how we'd translate it:

  1. A is the start of three entries of varying lengths; look at next stroke: C
  2. A/C matches only one entry; output "air conditioning" and start fresh with next stroke: B
  3. B starts two entries; look at next stroke: B
  4. B/B doesn't start anything; take the longest previous match (B) and output that ("bee")
  5. Having output B = "bee", we still have a B stroke in our buffer. It starts two entries, so look at the next stroke: C
  6. B/C matches one entry; output "because" and start fresh with the next stroke: A
  7. A starts three entries; look at the next stroke: B
  8. A/B starts two entries; look at the next stroke: C
  9. A/B/C only matches one entry; output "alphabetic" and start fresh with the next stroke: A
  10. A starts three entries; look at next stroke: B
  11. A/B starts two entries; look at next stroke: D
  12. A/B/D doesn't match anything, so take the longest previous match (A/B) and use it to output "alphabet". That leaves us with D still in the buffer.
  13. D starts two entries, so we would normally look at the next stroke — but we've processed all the strokes, so consider it in isolation. In isolation, it translates as "dog" so output that.

Aspects of the above to note:

  • You have a buffer of strokes you've read but haven't translated yet.
  • You always want to match the most strokes against a single entry that you can. A/B should be translated as "alphabet", not "alpha" and "bee".
  • (Not shown above) You may well have sequences of strokes that you can't translate, because they don't match anything in the dictionary. (Steno people use the noun "untranslate" -- e.g., with our dictionary, the strokes E would be an "untranslate".)
  • (Not shown above) Some theories of steno allow the same set of strokes to mean more than one thing, based on a broader context. Steno people call these "conflicts". You probably want to disallow them in your project, and in fact when steno used to be translated manually by the stenographer, conflicts were fine because they'd know just by where in the sentence they were what the right choice was, but with the rise of machine translation, conflict-free theories of steno arose specifically to avoid having to go through the resulting translated text and "fix" conflicts.
  • Translating in real time (which you'd be doing) means that if you receive a partial match, you'll want to hold onto it while waiting for the next chord — but probably only up to a timeout, at which point you'd translate what you have in the buffer as best you can. (Or maybe you don't want a timeout; it's your call.)
  • Probably best to have a stroke that says "disregard the previous stroke"
  • Probably best to have a stroke that says "completely clear the buffer without outputting anything"
Mark Struzinski

I'm taking my first crack at Ajax with jQuery. I'm getting my data onto my page, but I'm having some trouble with the JSON data that is returned for Date data types. Basically, I'm getting a string back that looks like this:


From someone totally new to JSON - How do I format this to a short date format? Should this be handled somewhere in the jQuery code? I've tried the jQuery.UI.datepicker plugin using $.datepicker.formatDate() without any success.

FYI: Here's the solution I came up with using a combination of the answers here:

function getMismatch(id) {
    { MismatchId: id },

    function (result) {

  return false;

function formatJSONDate(jsonDate) {
  var newDate = dateFormat(jsonDate, "mm/dd/yyyy");
  return newDate;

This solution got my object from the callback method and displayed the dates on the page properly using the date format library.

Answered By: Roy Tinker ( 688)

Eval is not necessary. This will work fine:

var date = new Date(parseInt(jsonDate.substr(6)));

The substr function takes out the "\/Date(" part, and the parseInt function gets the integer and ignores the ")\/" at the end. The resulting number is passed into the Date constructor.

Alec Smart

Is there something similar to @import in CSS in JavaScript that allows you to include a JavaScript file inside a JavaScript file?

Answered By: e-satis ( 727)

There is no import / include / require in javascript, but there are two main ways to achieve what you want:

1 - You can load it with an AJAX call then use eval.

This is the most straightforward way but it's limited to your domain because of the Javascript safety settings, and using eval is opening the door to bugs and hacks.

2 - Add a script tag with the script URL in the HTML.

Definitely the best way to go. You can load the script even from a foreign server, and it's clean as you use the browser parser to evaluate the code. You can put the <script /> tag in the head of the web page, or at the bottom of the body.

Both of these solutions are discussed and illustrated here.

Now, there is a big issue you must know about. Doing that implies that you remotely load the code. Modern web browsers will load the file and keep executing your current script because they load everything asynchronously to improve performances.

It means that if you use these tricks directly, you won't be able to use your newly loaded code the next line after you asked it to be loaded, because it will be still loading.

E.G : my_lovely_script.js contains MySuperObject

var js = document.createElement("script");

js.type = "text/javascript";
js.src = jsFilePath;


var s = new MySuperObject();

Error : MySuperObject is undefined

Then you reload the page hitting F5. And it works! Confusing...

So what to do about it ?

Well, you can use the hack the author suggests in the link I gave you. In summary, for people in a hurry, he uses en event to run a callback function when the script is loaded. So you can put all the code using the remote library in the callback function. E.G :

function loadScript(url, callback)
    // adding the script tag to the head as suggested before
   var head = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
   var script = document.createElement('script');
   script.type = 'text/javascript';
   script.src = url;

   // then bind the event to the callback function 
   // there are several events for cross browser compatibility
   script.onreadystatechange = callback;
   script.onload = callback;

   // fire the loading

Then you write the code you want to use AFTER the script is loaded in a lambda function :

var myPrettyCode = function() {

   // here, do what ever you want


Then you run all that :

loadScript("my_lovely_script.js", myPrettyCode);

Ok, I got it. But it's a pain to write all this stuff.

Well, in that case, you can use as always the fantastic free jQuery framework, which let you do the very same thing in one line :

$.getScript("my_lovely_script.js", function(){

   alert("Script loaded and executed.");
   // here you can use anything you defined in the loaded script