Regular expressions: positive and negative lookaheads and lookbehinds

Do you work with regular expressions sometimes? If you do, and you don’t know about lookbehinds and lookaheads, you are missing out on a fantastic feature. I’m just pasting in something I said to some colleagues. Use your imagination and Google to extract the rest of the blog post ;)

[10/30/14, 10:11:44 PM] Kevin Kaland: man
[10/30/14, 10:11:53 PM] Kevin Kaland: lookaheads and lookbehinds in regex are awesome
[10/30/14, 10:11:58 PM] Kevin Kaland: I can’t believe I survived so long without them
[10/30/14, 10:12:46 PM] Kevin Kaland: you ever done a find/replace to change stuff like




and wound up accidentally with stuff like because you double-replaced?
[10/30/14, 10:13:07 PM] Kevin Kaland: if you use the regex (?<!site\.)nav\. for your find then this can’t happen
[10/30/14, 10:13:52 PM] Kevin Kaland: it won’t match it if it already has the site. in front. it’s called a negative lookbehind. negative meaning “it is not there” and lookbehind meaning that it checks before a particular string. there’s also positive look(ahead|behind)s, which make sure things are there.
[10/30/14, 10:14:08 PM] Kevin Kaland: but that text doesn’t become part of the actual match, which is the nice thing

Posted in Life of a Web Developer, Regex, Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Considering developing Google Calendar/Todoist integration

People have been expressing discontent with Todoist‘s lack of Google Calendar synchronization. Using Sunrise Calendar is an OK workaround, but it’s not quite two-way synchronization, and not everyone wants to use the app.

So it seems like there’s a market for a third-party solution, and I’m considering developing one and charging money for it.

Interested? Then click here to sign up for the interest list!

See you there,
Kevin Kaland
WizOne Solutions

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I’ve open-sourced Spendflow; it’s a Meteor.js application

Spendflow, an application I’ve been developing on and off over the past year, is now open-source. What is perhaps more interesting is that it’s a Meteor application developed in CoffeeScript. Although Meteor is gaining traction and nearing 1.0, there are still not that many published applications built in Meteor.

I hope Spendflow will be a good example of how to structure a Meteor application of its kind (or that community feedback will soon make it so).

Get the code on GitHub:

Read the full post on the Spendflow blog.

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Disabling default rsync of the Vagrant Docker provider

Discovered today that Vagrant automatically rsyncs files to the Host VM when the Docker provider is used on a system that doesn’t natively support Docker.

Sometimes, though, one wants to sync the files to a custom location, and might get errors when trying to sync them to two locations on the Host VM (as I was).

To turn off Vagrant’s default sync, use the same syntax you would to turn off the /vagrant shared folder otherwise:

config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", disabled: true

Thanks to @adamjt on GitHub for the tip:

Posted in DevOps, Life of a Web Developer, Technology, Vagrant | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

lefnire.js: the weirdest Node.js API consumer ever

It must have all started with a joke on iRC that my friend lefnire, creator of HabitRPG, might just be an advanced Node.js program.

A few weeks later, a buddy and I took this to its logical conclusion.

But even with novelty projects, there are things to be learned, and this project has exposed me to npm modules I probably otherwise never would have used. I’m going to go over a few of the architectural highlights (npm and not) in no particular order.


After you npm install lefnire, typing lefnire runs him.

screenshot of lefnire.js

If you said, “ASCII art?” you would be correct. This was a friend’s idea, and it’s become a staple of the application.

API integration with the superagent and github modules

Currently, lefnire.js is lightly integrated with the HabitRPG and GitHub APIs. The HabitRPG API integration uses straight superagent requests. The GitHub API calls use github.

When you say something containing “habit down,” he makes an API call to to check.

When you ask him by his IRC name (I’ll be getting to IRC stuff in a second), he queries the GitHub API to find out the number of issues labeled “critical” for HabitRPG on GitHub.

IRC integration with the node-irc module

What would an automaton be without being able to log on to IRC and interact? lefnire.js uses node-irc to accomplish this. The library is pretty robust and follows Node.js patterns well. This is a fantastic example of an application that thrives on asynchronous execution. When you ask him if “habit is down,” and it is, that thread of execution will block. However, it won’t stop the bot from responding, thanks to the event listener model implemented by node-irc.

Mood and the Sentimental module

Another interesting feature is a rudimentary implementation of mood, which is basically just a number between 0 and 30 (0′s the best). This doesn’t do too much yet. It affects his behavior a little bit. The number of GitHub criticals is the baseline metric.

This is then adjusted up or down by how positive or negative Sentimental analyzes the up to the 30 most recent GitHub Events from lefnire to be. This is mostly issue comments, pull requests comments, and commit messages.

When lefnire is in-channel, it also adjusts mood based on Sentimental text analysis of what he says.

No database yet, so everything except what I can retrieve again through API calls is lost if I ctrl-C the bot and stop it.


Those are the main highlights of the current implementation. A lot of things are planned. I doubt anyone would want to contribute to this, but I’d certainly be excited to receive some pull requests.

GitHub repository:


Posted in APIs, Life of a Web Developer, Node.js, Projects, Technology | Leave a comment

Fixing duplicate field collection item references in Drupal due to Content Translation bug

I just left a comment in the Field Collection issue queue and thought it’d be good to spread it more widely; maybe people need this fix.

For anyone still getting burned by this bug (or for that matter getting burned by using Node Clone on nodes with field collections), first apply my previous patch (or bderubinat’s, but I haven’t tested that one). That will stop further damage.

To repair your previous entries and ensure that, for example, removing a field collection entry doesn’t remove it from other nodes from which you didn’t want it removed, you can implement this script I’ve detailed in a gist:

It will give new item_ids to field collection items that it detects as appearing more than once. All my testing has indicated this is safe, but if not, please leave a comment on the gist. I hope this helps someone.

Thanks to Project Ricochet for sponsoring my time on this.

Posted in Drupal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Introducing Internationalization 404 for Drupal

I released a new module for Drupal a couple days ago called Internationalization 404. This module helps you automatically use Content Translation-translated localized language versions of your 404, 403, and home pages.

Normally, you have to install Internationalization Variables (i18n_variable) and separately configure the options for these pages per-language. This module saves you time and automatically sends visitors to the correct page. Should you decide to use specific language versions with i18n_variable, this module will respect that configuration and not interfere.

All you have to do is enable the module for it to start working. No configuration required. Disable it to turn off the functionality.

Install it from the project page.

Thanks to Project Ricochet for sponsoring this work.

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HabitRPG and Remember the Milk Synchronization on the Command-Line

If you, like me, are a user of both HabitRPG and Remember the Milk, you may have been looking for a way to link the two. I developed habitrpg-todo-sync (HabitRPG Todo Synchronization) to do just that.

The README file explains in good detail how to use it.

Come on, just tell me how to use it

OK, here’s the quick version (you need NPM installed, which you get with Node.js):

npm install -g habitrpg-todo-sync


It will tell you what to do from there.

Full synchronization

You might be interested in running

habitsync -a

to do a full synchronization of your tasks. By default, it only retrieves the last week of them.

Don’t synchronize everything

You may not want to get all your tasks. habitrpg-todo-sync can make use of Remember the Milk’s advanced search interface (ever tried typing something like addedWithin: 1 week ago in their search box?). Here’s how:

habitsync –filter=”list:Name of Your List”

You can do anything you can do with their interface.

And you can combine command-line options:

habitsync -a –filter=”list:Smart List You Want To Sync”

Run on a schedule

You can run it manually or add it to cron. I have this in my crontab, which runs it every hour against (which is often more likely to be working). To put it in yours, you generally run

crontab -e

and then add the following line:

# min hour mday month wday command
*/60 * * * * /usr/local/bin/habitsync -qB

You can separate each argument with spaces or tabs, and you don’t need the first line. I just included it for completeness.

It doesn’t do what I want.

Tell me! I really want to hear back from users of it. When I don’t, I assume nobody cares, and I improve it much more slowly. Report issues on GitHub.

Posted in APIs, Node.js, Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

DrupalCamp alert: DrupalCamp Gothenburg 2013!

If you haven’t been following any of the calendars listing DrupalCamps, you may have missed the arrangement that’s coming up in Gothenburg, Sweden in a couple weeks. This wouldn’t be surprising, since it’s being marketed in Swedish. People of all languages are welcome, however, so I thought I’d somewhat rehash the post I made in Norwegian.

The camp’s pitch is: “A one-day conference focused on the Drupal CMS. Come along and learn more about Drupal and the web, and have a great day in Gothenburg in late Spring.”

Sessions are here:

As with most DrupalCamp sites, volunteer work lies behind the site you see. A lot of people contributed really great work. Fantastic designs and solid development resulted in the site you see today. I was also involved, mostly behind the scenes. I helped with server administration, Git coordination, transferring the site to another server, and mostly with coordinating the web team’s efforts. It was the first time I had spent as much time helping organize a DrupalCamp (and I’ve been to quite a few; I’ve even volunteered at a couple).

If you’re in Europe or in the area, I encourage you to check it out. You can follow them on Twitter at @DrupalGBG.

Google Translate is getting better and better :)

Posted in Drupal, Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment