Read my latest article: 8 things I look for in a Ruby on Rails app (posted Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:59:00 GMT)

So long and thanks for all the hoodwinks

Posted by Thu, 20 Aug 2009 05:24:00 GMT


If you’re out there and come across this… know that one of my fondest memories on the internet was with you. Hoodink.d was one of the greatest things on the internet four years ago and I suspect that a very tiny fraction of the Ruby community has even heard of it.

Thanks hoodwink'd

Fortunately for me, I have a copy of the hoodwink git repository and was able to get it running tonight in hopes that I might find you lurking in the mousehole. I’m convinced that you are in a parallel internetverse. Perhaps you might send me an invite.

Hoodwink'd. do you remember?

I miss hoodwink… and if you stay missing, I’ll just miss hoodwink more.

In the meantime, I wonder how hard it’ll be to get hoodwink to run on rack.

the winker's satellite office » login

Wink you on the other side, Robby

p.s. you can find me in my own mousehole… should you want to send me an invite and/or feed me cheese.

Related Posts

Get to Know a Gem: Hpricot

Posted by Tue, 13 Feb 2007 14:48:00 GMT

In this new series, Get to Know a Gem, we’re going to take a look at hpricot.

What is Hpricot?

WhyTheLuckyStiff released Hpricot in July of 2006 in an effort to bring fast HTML parsing to the masses. It’s currently unknown what prompted it, but my guess would be that Why is secretly scraping all the pages on the internet that archive the future. To speed it up, Why has written the Hpricot scanner in C, to be much faster than the other options available in Ruby.


This process… is as always with most gems, very simple.

$ sudo gem install hpricot
Need to update 23 gems from
Select which gem to install for your platform (powerpc-darwin8.7.0)
 1. hpricot 0.5 (ruby)
 2. hpricot 0.5 (mswin32)
 3. hpricot 0.4 (mswin32)
 4. hpricot 0.4 (ruby)
 5. Cancel installation
> 1

Great, let’s now play with it!


In this first example, we’re going to use Hpricot to parse a web page through the Open-URI library. For this, we’ll need to require a few libs.

require 'rubygems'
require 'hpricot'
require 'open-uri'
Now that we have the libraries loaded, we can create a new Hpricot object and in this example, we’ll load the PLANET ARGON About page.

# Open the PLANET ARGON about page
page = Hpricot( open( '' ) )    

Great, let’s have some parsing fun. Let’s parse for the first instance of a div with a class name of team. Hpricot will return array of elements that meet your search request. "//div[@class='team']" ).size 
=> 7    

Great, this is a good sign that I need to add several people to the website. :-)

If we want to peak at the first instance of this class, we can do: "//div[@class='team']" ).first
=> {elem <div class="team"> "\n" {elem <div class="team_name"> {elem <strong> "Robby Russell" </strong>} ", Founder &#38; Executive Director" </div>}    ....SNIP

You’ll notice that there is a <strong> element within the results, which we can search deeper into this tree. "//div[@class='team']" ) "//strong" )
=> #<Hpricot::Elements[{elem <strong> "Robby Russell" </strong>}]>

Hpricot provides a method named inner_html, which will return the contents within the element. "//div[@class='team']" ) "//strong" ).inner_html
=> "Robby Russell" 

Let’s now iterate through each of the elements and output all of the team member names.

# search for each team member div and iterate through them "//div[@class='team']" ).each do |team|
  puts "//strong").inner_html

Robby Russell
Allison Beckwith
Brian Ford
Nicole Fritz
Alain Bloch
Audrey Eschright
Gary Blessington

So, there you have it. A quick and basic introduction into using Hpricot for parsing HTML content. You can use Hpricot for a wide variety of structured data, such as XML and CSS. For more examples, please visit the HpricotBasics page.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to guess that Why built this for hoodwink.d, which I’ve been a regular user of for a long time. I haven’t spent much time playing with the XPath syntax and playing around with Hpricot has given me a much better understanding of it.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am going to make Getting to Know a Gem a regular feature on my blog. If you know of a lesser known Gem that needs some attention, please send a suggestion to me.

Until next time…

Try Ruby

Posted by Tue, 29 Nov 2005 15:18:00 GMT

I was lucky enough to see this when it was in the alpha-beta-try-that-again stage.

Try Ruby

That’s right… _why has done it again. You might know him as that d00d who made hoodwink.d or that weird0 who made that poignant guide.

Have friends who are skeptical of Ruby??? tell them to… Try Ruby.

Have your parents had a chance to try ruby?

Maybe that weird uncle of yours needs to try ruby.

That guy who sneezed on you on the bus ride… tell him to try ruby.

I’m might get some stickers printed and litter Portland with Try Ruby stickers…

...the revolution begins… (again)

Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby in PDF form!

Posted by Tue, 13 Sep 2005 11:57:00 GMT

The famous, Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby has been released as a nicely formatted PDF.

Thanks to Leon Spencer for providing the world with this PDF.


Boys from the Hoodwink.d

Posted by Tue, 23 Aug 2005 17:43:00 GMT

hoodwink.d is going to change the world… or at least how we talk about you when you’re not looking. :-)

hint: _why

(click to view large version)