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Carrierwave: Built-in resize methods

Carrierwave includes some handy helper methods you can use to resize your images. Here is a quick summary of them, if you need more details read the docs. You can also use all command line options from RMagick directly if these helpers are not good enough for you.

resize_to_limit(width, height)
resize_to_fit(width, height)

Trigram indexing as an alternative to PostgreSQL fulltext search

For searching in large database tables we usually use PostgreSQL's fulltext search capabilities.

While this works reasonably well for content primarily consisting of prose, it is not necessarily a good solution for all use cases. The main issue is that it is only possible to search for prefixes of text tokens, which can potentially be unexpected for users.

One example are dates:

If you index the text 2019-01-23 15:16, PostgreSQL will create the following tokens: 2019, -01, -23, 15 16. A user searching for 01-23 wi…

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Ruby: What extend and include do

All Rubyists should be familiar with the common definitions for include and extend. You include a module to add instance methods to a class and extend to add class methods. Unfortunately, this common definition isn’t entirely accurate. It fails to explain why we use instance.extend(Module) to add methods to an instance. Shouldn’t it be instance.include(Module)? To figure this out we’re going to start by discussing where methods are stored.

  • include: Adds methods from the provided Module to the object
  • extend: Calls include on the single…

Capybara will not find links without an href attribute

Capybara will fail to find <a> tags that are missing an href attribute. This will probably happen to you every now and then on JavaScript-heavy applications.

An example would be an AngularJS application where the following HTML actually works. [1]

<a ng-click="hello()">Hello</a>

Capybara will fail to find that link, even though looking it up via the DOM shows it:

>> find_link("Hello")
Capybara::ElementNotFound: Unable to find link "Hello"

>> find("a").text
=> "Hello"

To make find_link and click_link work…


How not to turn your application into a spam relay

Spammers have started abusing other application to send their spam. This works like this:

  • The application has some form that allows to send e-mails to arbitrary users. This can be something like a newsletter sign-up with a double-opt in, a registration confirmation e-mail (or even password reset e-mail), or something similar.
  • The e-mail also includes some reflected text. For example, a user may be able to give their name, and the name is used within the e-mail. The spammer will then abuse that text to include his advertisment.



Heads up: pg_restore --clean keeps existing tables

When restoring a PostgreSQL dump using pg_restore, you usually add the --clean flag to remove any existing data from tables.

Note that this only removes data from tables that are part of the dump and will not remove any extra tables. You need to do that yourself.

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How to drop all tables in PostgreSQL

To remove all tables from a database (but keep the database itself), you have two options.

Option 1: Drop the entire schema

You will need to re-create the schema and its permissions. This is usually good enough for development machines only.


GRANT ALL ON SCHEMA public TO postgres;
GRANT ALL ON SCHEMA public TO public;

Applications usually use the "public" schema. You may encounter other schema names when working with a (legacy) application's database.

Note that f…


How to use Rails URL helpers in any Ruby class

In Rails 3+, you can use:

class Project
  delegate :url_helpers, to: 'Rails.application.routes'

  def project_path

For Rails 2, use the attached Modularity trait. It will give any Ruby class a method #url_writer, on which you can call URL helpers:

class Foo
  does 'write_urls'
  def self.class_method
  def instance_method

Ruby: Natural sort strings with Umlauts and other funny characters

Why string sorting sucks in vanilla Ruby

Ruby's sort method doesn't work as expected with German umlauts:

["Schwertner", "Schöler"].sort
=> ["Schwertner", "Schöler"] # you probably expected ["Schöler", "Schwertner"]

Also numbers in strings will be sorted character by character which you probably don't want:

["1", "2", "11"].sort
# => ["1", "11", "2"] # you probably expected ["1", "2", "11"]

Also the sorting is case sensitive:

["a", "B"].sort
# => ["B", "a"] # yo...

7 Rules for Creating Gorgeous UI

A great two-part article about various hacks you can use to create great-looking screen designers when you're not a designer.

Part 1 contains:

  • Light comes from the sky
  • Black and white first
  • Double your whitespace

Part 2 contains:

  • Learn the methods of overlaying text on images
  • Make text pop— and un-pop
  • Only use good fonts
  • Steal like an artist

Rails: How to send a test mail directly from the console

I use this Code Snippet quite often to debug issues with mails on staging and production servers. It allows you to send a custom mail directly from the console.

  from: "system@example.com", 
  to: "user@example.com",  
  subject: "Test mail from #{Rails.application.class}", 
  body: "This is just a test."
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Spreewald 1.12 no longer depends on jQuery

In the past, some Spreewald steps (most prominently the "… should be visible") only worked, if the application under test used jQuery. This is no longer necessary.

Please don't re-introduce jQuery for new steps.

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Updated: SSH: X-Forwarding

Added instructions on how to configure sshd

RubyGems can't find bundle executable although Bundler is installed

I had this error:

> gem install bundler
Successfully installed bundler-2.0.1
1 gem installed

> bundle install
Traceback (most recent call last):
	2: from /home/henning/.rbenv/versions/2.5.1/bin/bundle:23:in `<main>'
	1: from /home/henning/.rbenv/versions/2.5.1/lib/ruby/2.5.0/rubygems.rb:308:in `activate_bin_path'
/home/henning/.rbenv/versions/2.5.1/lib/ruby/2.5.0/rubygems.rb:289:in `find_spec_for_exe': can't find gem bundler (>= 0.a) with executable bundle (Gem::GemNotFoundException)

The cause was that Bundler 2 requires RubyG…

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Updated: Install RubyMine under Ubuntu

RubyMine gibt es jetzt als Snap, eine neuere Art, Pakete zu installieren. Vorteil ist, dass man einem channel (wie stable, 2017.3/stable) folgt und automatisch die aktuellste Version des Channels installiert wird.


Tailoring Rails error messages for models and attributes

Rails has generic error messages you can define in your locale .yml files. You may override those application-wide error messages using model or attribute scope like this:

        invalid: is invalid # used for any invalid attribute in the application
          invalid: does not work # used for invalid car attributes
              invalid: not allowed to drive # used if the car's ...
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