3579 cards

MySQL: Creating many records works faster in a transaction

When you need to insert many records into the same table, a fast way to do it is to have a single INSERT statement describing multiple rows. Unfortunately there is no way to do this through ActiveRecord.

What you can do to save time is to open a transaction and save multiple records within that transaction:

transaction do
  500.times { Model.create! }

Although you will still trigger 500 INSERT statements, they will complete considerably faster.

When I trie…

CSS: Flex and "min-width"

min-width is known as a CSS property that can be set to define a least width for an element. Surprisingly, it can also be used to set something that feels like max-width.

min-width in a flex context

While the default min-width value is 0 (zero), for flex items it is auto. This can make block elements take up much more space than desired, even stretching their container beyond the screen edge on small screens.



Using local fonts with Webpack / Webpacker

When we want to use our own (or bought) fonts in an application with Webpack(er), we have two options. We can

  • put the fonts directly into your Webpack's assets folder or
  • write an npm package with an own sass file that can be imported from the Webpack manifest.

Load fonts from your assets folder

The first option turns out to be straightforward: Import the stylesheets in the index.js of the pack you're using:

// webpack_source_path/application/index.js

import './stylesheets/reset'

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Updated: Install Chromedriver on Linux

Can be also installed via apt image.

rails_state_machine 1.1.2 released

Fixed bugs where calling valid? would change the record's state.

How to fix parallel_tests with Redis on powerful machines

When you have a powerful machine with 16 cores, you might run into an error like

Refusing to use Redis db#16

          The Redis DB number should be between 2 and 15, since we're using db#1
          for development and the default Redis config has 16 databases, starting
          with db#0.

The easiest way to fix this is limiting the number of parallel processes that are used in parallel cucumber runs.
To do this, you can set an environment variable in your ~/.bashrc:


Shortcut for getting ids for an ActiveRecord scope

You can use .ids on an ActiveRecord 4+ scope to pluck all the ids of the relation

User.where("users.name LIKE 'Foo Bar'").ids

# same as
User.where("users.name LIKE 'Foo Bar'").pluck(:id)

MySQL: Careful when using database locks in transactions

We tend to use database transactions as a magic bullet to get rid of all our concurrency problems. When things get really bad, we might even throw in some locking mechanism, but then are usually done with it.

Unfortunately, transactions semantics in databases are actually very complicated, and chances are, your making some incorrect assumptions.

The MySQL innodb engine actually has [four different modes](ht…

How to fix: Session hash does not get updated when using "merge!"

tl;dr: Do not use merge! for session hashes. Use update instead.


Let's assume you're modifying the Rails session. For simplicity, let's also assume your session is empty when you start (same effect when there is data):

# In our example, we're in a Rack middleware
request = Rack::Request.new(env)
request.session.merge! :hello => 'Universe'
=> {}


Even worse: When you inspect your request.session like above (e.g. in a debugger shell, o…


Do not rescue inline in Ruby

When you are calling a method that may raise an exception that you don't care about, you might think of doing something like this:

@user = User.power_find(something) rescue User.new

Do not do that! You will be rescuing away StandardError and all its subclasses, like NameError – meaning that even a typo in your code won't raise an error.

Instead, rescue the exception type that you are expecting:

@user = begin

Bootstrap 4 skin for the Rome datepicker

Here is how to make Rome datepicker look like the rest of your Bootstrap 4 application.

Rome comes with very little basic styling. While we could redefine its classes, we can configure the classes Rome applies to its elements to make it look like this:

Example Image

Since Bootstrap 4 comes with several helpful utility classes, and requires fewer markup/containers, we can achieve Bootstrap 4 experience by applying a few classes via the styles setting.

You still need to include `ro…


Rails: Passing array values to tag helpers like link_to

From at least Rails 4, the ActionView tag helper turns Array values of HTML options into a single space-separated string.
This means you can pass an array to :class options:

extra_classes = %w[one two]

= link_to 'Dashboard', root_path, class: ['btn', 'btn-primary', *extra_classes]
=> Dashboad

= content_tag 'div', 'Hello World', class: %w[alert alert-info]
=> <div class="alert alert-info">Hello World</div>

= …


You can implement basic object-fit behavior with background images

So you want to use object-fit, but you also need to support Internet Explorer.

One option is to use lazysizes as a kinda-polyfill. Another option is to implement the requirement with background-size: contain, and background-size: cover, which is supported in IE9+.

E.g. to make an image cover a 100x100 px² area, cropping the image when nece…


How to tackle complex refactorings in big projects

Sometimes huge refactorings or refactoring of core concepts of your application are necessary for being able to meet new requirements or to keep your application maintainable on the long run. Here are some thoughts about how to approach such challenges.

Break it down

Try to break your refactoring down in different parts. Try to make tests green for each part of your refactoring as soon as possible and only move to the next big part if your tests are fixed. It's not a good idea to work for weeks or months and wait for ALL puzzle pieces to…

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Debugging AJAX requests with better_errors

better_errors is an awesome gem for enhanced error pages in development, featuring a live-REPL for some light debugging.

To debug the exception you got on an AJAX-Request, visit /__better_errors on your app's root path (e.g. http://localhost:3000/__better_errors). It shows the error page for the last exception that occurred, even when it has been triggered by an AJAX request.

Upgrade guide for moving a Rails app from Webpack 3 to Webpack 4

Webpacker is Rails' way of integrating Webpack, and version 4 has been released just a few days ago, allowing us to use Webpack 4.

I successfully upgraded an existing real-world Webpack 3 application. Below are notes on everything that I encountered.
Note that we prefer not using the Rails asset pipeline at all and serving all assets through Webpack for the sake of consistency.


  • Remove version locks in Gemfile for webpacker
  • Remove version locks in package.json for webpack and webpack-dev-server
  • Install by ca…

Running external commands with Open3

There are various ways to run external commands from within Ruby, but the most powerful ones are Open3.capture3 and Open3.popen3. Since those can do almost everything you would possibly need in a clean way, I prefer to simply always use them.

Behind the scenes, Open3 actually just uses Ruby's spawn command, but gives you a much better API.


Basic usage is

require 'open3'

stdout_str, error_str, status = Open3.capture3('/some/binary', 'with', 'some', 'args')
if status.success?…


Guide to localizing a Rails application

Localizing a non-trivial application can be a huge undertaking. This card will give you an overview over the many components that are affected.

When you are asked to give an estimate for the effort involved, go through the list below and check which points are covered by your requirements. Work with a developer who has done a full-app localization before and assign an hour estimate to each of these points.

Static text

  • Static strings and template text in app must be translated: Screens, mailer templates, PDF templates, helpe…
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