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How to skip Sprockets asset compile during Capistrano deployment

For applications coming with lots of stylesheets and scripts, asset compilation might take quite long. This can be annoying when deploying a release that does not actually change assets.

When your app uses Sprockets, you can simply skip asset compilation and re-use the previous release's assets. [1]
That is especially easy via Capistrano. Capistrano will automatically symlink your release's public/assets to a shared directory, so all you need to do is skip the deploy:assets:precompile task.

Put the following code where you'd put other …

Repeats

Sass partial names must always begin with an underscore

Be careful to name any file @imported by SASS with a leading underscore.

SASS files not beginning with an underscore will be rendered on their own, which will fail if they are using variables or mixins defined elsewhere. (For me it broke only in production, which may be due to some settings in SASS-GEM/lib/sass/plugin/rails.rb.)

From the SASS docs:

The underscore lets Sass know that the file is only a partial file and that it should not be generated into a CSS file.

Repeats

Don't sum up columns with + in a SQL query if NULL-values can be present.

Don't sum up columns with + in a sql-query if NULL-Values can be present.

MySQL and PostgreSQL cannot sum up NULL values with the + value. The sum value will be NULL.

MySQL:

mysql> select 1 + 2 + 3;
+-----------+
| 1 + 2 + 3 |
+-----------+
|         6 |
+-----------+
1 row in set (0,00 sec)

mysql> select 1 + NULL + 3;
+--------------+
| 1 + NULL + 3 |
+--------------+
|         NULL |
+--------------+
1 row in set (0,00 sec)

Postgres:

```

test_database=# select 1 + 2 + 3;

?column?

    6 (1 row)

t…

Repeats

Git: Advisory for cherry-picks to production branches

We often have a separate production branch that lags a bit behind the more cutting edge master branch. Sometimes you want to move some, but not all commits from master to production. This can be done with a git cherry-pick.

However, this may lead to considerable pain later, since git does not understand the commits are actually "the same". Hazards are unnecessary and hard to resolve conflicts as well as incorrect auto-merges.

In order to avoid this, always merge the production branch back to the master after the cherry-pick. …

Repeats

Understanding SQL compatibility modes in MySQL and MariaDB

MySQL and MariaDB have an SQL mode setting which changes how MySQL behaves.

The SQL mode value is comprised of multiple flags like "STRICT_TRANS_TABLES, NO_ZERO_IN_DATE". Each flag activates or disables a particular behavior.

The default SQL mode varies widly between versions of MySQL and MySQL. In general, more recent versions of MySQL and MariaDB have stricter settings than older versions, and MySQL has stricter settings than the more liberal MariaDB.

If your app explodes af…

Repeats

Detect the current Rails environment from JavaScript or CSS

Detecting if a Javascript is running under Selenium WebDriver is super-painful. It's much easier to detect the current Rails environment instead.

You might be better of checking against the name of the current Rails environment. To do this, store the environment name in a data-environment of your <body>. E.g., in your application layout:

%body{'data-environment' => Rails.env}

Now you can say in a piece of Jav…

External content

User-defined Order in SQL

The attached article explains options you have to store the order of items in a database table.

The simplest solution of course is to use a position column. However the author explores some alternatives where you don't need to update multiple rows when you move a single item.

Repeats

Testing ActiveRecord callbacks with RSpec

Our preferred way of testing ActiveRecord is to simply create/update/destroy the record and then check if the expected behavior has happened.

We used to bend over backwards to avoid touching the database for this. For this we used a lot of stubbing and tricks like it_should_run_callbacks.

Today we would rather make a few database queries than have a fragile test full of stubs.

Example

Let's say your User model creates a first Project on cr…

RubyMine: You can disable inspections you don't care about

When you find yourself constantly ignoring a RubyMine warning, you can simple disable that warning and de-clutter your editor. E.g. in my Cucumber scenarios RubyMine underlines 90% of all lines because it does not know about spreewald, making the file really hard to read.

You can disable any unwanted inspection by opening File / Settings / Editor / Inspections and searching for the warning text.

What you disable or keep is up to your personal preference. I personally disable at least the following…

Geordi 1.9 released

New features:

geordi delete_dumps [directory]

Recursively search for files ending in *.dump and offer to delete those. When no argument is given, two default directories are searched for dump files: the current working directory and ~/dumps (for dumps created with geordi).

geordi drop_databases

Delete local MySQL/MariaDB and Postgres databases that are not whitelisted.

Authentication is handled via PAM for Postgres and MariaDB, via .my.cnf with fallback to mysql -p for MySQL. Different connection methods can be chosen via …

Store MySQL passwords for development

On your local system that only hosts non-critical development data and only you have access to, you can store MySQL's root password in your home directory so you can use mysql commands without prompt for passwords, i.e. when doing batch processing.

Of course, this has security implications. The password must be stored in plain text, so this method is out of the question if there's any confidential data in your databases. Assuming diligent screen-locking, an encrypted hard disk and correct permissions set on your credential file, it shoul…

Repeats

Don't assign time values to date attributes

Do not pass times to date attributes. Always convert times to dates when your application uses time zones.

Background

A time-zoned Time attribute on a Rails record is converted to UTC using to_s(:db) to be stored, and converted back into the correct time zone when the record is loaded from the database. So when you are not on UTC, time objects will be converted as follows.

>> Time.current
=> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 11:56:03 CET +01:00
>> Time.current.to_s(:db)
=> "2013-03-15 10:56:03" # This is now UTC

Problem

That will…

Repeats

How DECIMAL columns deal with numbers exceeding their precision or scale

When storing floating-point numbers such as prices or totals in an SQL database, always use a DECIMAL column. Never use FLOAT or kittens will die.

DECIMAL columns are parametrized with a precision and a scale. These parameters describe which numbers can be stored in that column. E.g. a decimal with a precision of 5 and a scale of 2 can store numbers from -999.99 to 999.99, but not 1000 or 1.234.

This card explains what various databases do when you try to store a number in a DECIMAL field, and that number exceeds that colum…

RSpec: Expecting multiple calls of the same method

If the argument list is the same every time:

expect(object).to receive(:foo).with('argument').and_return('response 1', 'response 2')

If the argument list differs between invocations:

expect(object).to receive(:foo).with('argument 1').ordered.and_return('response 1')
expect(object).to receive(:foo).with('argument 2').ordered.and_return('response 2')
External contentRepeats

What Ruby’s ||= (Double Pipe / Or Equals) Really Does

It is a common misunderstanding that all [op]=-operators work the same way, but actually they don't.

||= and &&=

Those are special cases, because the assignment will only happen if the first variable resolves to the right value (false or nil for || and true for &&).

Shortcut operator What's actually happening
a ||= b a || a = b
a &&= b a && a = b

But still, if reading a has any side effects, they will take place regardless of to what a resolves.

Other [op]=

Assignment will alwa…

Running Rails 2 apps with modern MariaDB SQL server

You might have some trouble running a Rails LTS 2 app with MySQL 5.7.

If you don't want to hack Mysql 5.6 into your modern Ubuntu or use the MySQL sandbox, you might want to try MariaDB 10.x.

MariaDB 10.x should work with both old and new Rails applications.

Switch to MariaDB

Remove MySQL:

```
sudo apt r…

Repeats

Common mistakes when storing file uploads with Rails

1. Saving files to a directory that is not shared between deploys or servers

If you save your uploads to a made up directory like "RAILS_ROOT/uploads", this directory goes away after every deploy (since every release gets a new). Also this directory is not shared between multiple application servers, so your uploads are randomly saved to one local filesystem or another. Fixing this afterwards is a lot of fun.

Only two folders are, by default, shared between our application servers and deployments: "RAILS_ROOT/storage" and `"RAILS…

Repeats

Rails: Adding view paths on the fly

Rails offers a way to prepend (or append) view paths just for the current request.

Example

A use case of this is a different set of view templates that should be used under certain circumstances:

class UsersController < ApplicationController

  before_action :prepare_views
  
  def index
    ...
  end    
  
  private
  
  def prepare_views
    if <condition>
      prepend_view_path Rails.root.join('app', 'views', 'special')
    end
  end
  
end

If <condition> is true, Rails will first look into app/views/special to find a…

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