Parallelize Development Using Git Worktrees

You can use git worktree to manage multiple working trees attached to the same repository. But why should I use git worktree?

You can use more than one working tree to ...

... run tests while working on another branch
... compare multiple versions
... work on a different branch without disturbing your current branch

Creating a new working tree is as simple as creating a new branch. You only need to execute git worktree add <path> <branch>. When you are done, you can remove the working tree with git worktree remove <Worktree>...

Carrierwave: Deleting files outside of forms

TL;DR Use user.update!(remove_avatar: true) to delete attachments outside of forms. This will have the same behavior as if you were in a form.

As you know, Carrierwave file attachments work by mounting an Uploader class to an attribute of the model. Though the database field holds the file name as string, calling the attribute will always return the uploader, no matter if a file is attached or not. (Side note: use #present? on the uploader to check if the file exists.)

class User < ApplicationRecord
  mount :avatar, ...

Use Time.current / Date.current / DateTime.current on projects that have a time zone

Basically, you now need to know if your project uses a "real" time zone or :local, and if config.active_record.time_zone_aware_attributes is set to false or not.

  • With time zones configured, always use .current for Time, Date, and DateTime.

    ActiveRecord attributes will be time-zoned, and .current values will be converted properly when written to the database.
    Do not use and friends. Timezone-less objects will not be converted properly when written to the database.

  • With no/local time zone use, `...

Whenever: Don't forget leading zeros for hours!

Whenever is a Ruby gem that provides a nicer syntax for writing and deploying cron jobs.

Leading zeros are important for whenever if you use the 24-hours format!

This schedule.rb:

every, at: '3:00', roles: [:primary_cron] do
  runner 'Scheduler.delay.do_things'

will lead to this crontab entry (crontab -l) with the default configuration:

0 15 * * * /bin/bash -l -c 'cd /var/www/my-project/releases/20180607182518 && bin/rails runner -e production '\''Scheduler.delay.do_things'\'''

Which would run on 3...

Heads up: RSpec's diffs may not tell the truth

RSpec provides a nice diff when certain matchers fail.

Here is an example where this diff is helpful while comparing two hashes:

{a:1}.should match(a:1, b:2)

Failure/Error: {a:1}.should match(a:1, b:2)
  expected {:a=>1} to match {:a=>1, :b=>2}
  @@ -1,3 +1,2 @@
   :a => 1,
  -:b => 2,

Unfortunately, this diff is not as clever as it would need to. RSpec's instance_of matchers will look like errors in the diff (even if they are not), and time objects that differ only in milliseconds won't appear in the ...

Spreewald, Cucumber: Selector for the nth element

The recommended additional setup of the spreewald gem, a useful set of cucumber steps, includes adding a file for defining custom selectors which can be used as prose within steps:

When I follow "Edit" within the controls section

Where the controls section can be any arbitrary defined css selector within selectors.rb

Often it can be useful to select the nth element of a specific selector. Luckily, this can ...

How to make sure that manual deploy tasks (scheduled in Pivotal Tracker) are executed on deploy (with Capistrano)

We regularly have tasks that need to be performed around a deploy. Be it to notify operations about changed application behavior, be it to run a little oneline script after the deploy. Most database-related stuff can be handled by migrations, but every once in a while, we have tasks that are much easier to be performed manually.

Writing deploy tasks

Here is how we manage the deploy tasks themselves:

  • Deploy tasks are written inside the Pivotal Tracker story description, clearly marked (e.g. with a headline "Deploy task")
  • We disting...

JavaScript: Don't throw synchronous exceptions from async functions

TLDR: A function is hard to use when it sometimes returns a promise and sometimes throws an exception. When writing an async function, prefer to signal failure by returning a rejected promise.

The full story

When your function returns a promise ("async function"), try not to throw synchronous exceptions when encountering fatal errors.

So avoid this:

function foo(x) {
  if (!x) {
    throw "No x given"
  } else
    return new Promise(funct...

XHR is not JSON

When a Rails controller action should handle both HTML and JSON responses, do not use request.xhr? to decide that. Use respond_to.

I've too often seen code like this:

def show
  # ...
  if request.xhr?
    render json: @user.as_json
     # renders default HTML view

This is just plain wrong. Web browsers often fetch JSON via XHR, but they (should) also send the correct Accept HTTP header to tell the server the data they expect to receive.

If you say request.xhr? as a means for "wants JSON" you are ...

What collapsing margins are, how they work and when margins do not collapse

Imagine you have 2 HTML boxes. The first one has a margin-bottom of let's say 30px and the second one a margin-top of 20px. After rules of collapsing margins have been applied we have a margin of 30px (not 50px) between these two boxes . This is because no addition of both margins takes place but the maximum of both is applied. This behavior is called collapsing margins.

Oftentimes it is a good behavior but collapsing margins can be annoying, too. For example child el...

Be careful to use correct HTTP status codes for maintenance pages

When your public-facing application has a longer downtime for server maintenance or long migrations, it's nice to setup a maintenance page to inform your users.

When delivering the maintenance page, be very careful to send the correct HTTP status code. Sending the wrong status code might get you kicked out of Google, or undo years of SEO work.

Popular footguns

Here are some ways to shoot yourself in the foot during maintenance:

  • If all your routes send a "200 OK" with a HTML body "We're b...

Devise: How to send asynchronous emails

By default, Devise sends all emails synchronously with deliver_now.

To change that, Devise's readme suggests overwriting the send_devise_notification method like this:

class User

  def send_devise_notification(notification, *args)
    devise_mailer.send(notification, self, *args).deliver_later

However, there is one problem: When deliver_later enqueues the mail with ActiveJob, the job arguments are logged. In case of a password reset, this includes the password reset token, which should not be logged.


Restarting all God tasks

To restart all tasks monitored by God, don't use god restart. This command is only meant to soft-restart a given process or group.

Instead you should:

god stop
god terminate
god start -c yourgodconfig.god

How to work around selenium chrome missing clicks to elements which are just barely visible

Chromedriver (or selenium-webdriver?) will not reliably scroll elements into view before clicking them, and actually not click the element because of that.

We've seen this happen for elements which are just barely in the viewport (e.g. the upper 2px of a 40px button). Our assumption is that the element is considered visible (i.e. Capybara::Selenium::ChromeNode#visible? returns true for such elements) but the Selenium driver wants to actually click the center of the element which is outside of the viewport.

We don't know who exactly i...

HTML: Auto fill-in OTP received in text message (SMS)

Browsers can auto fill-in one time codes if advised. Use it like this:

<input autocomplete="one-time-code">


Browser support is pretty good since mid-2022 (Chrome 93+, no Firefox).

Upgrade Rails: Awareness list


This card is a collection of guides and things to have in mind when upgrading to a specific version. It is not meant to be complete, so please feel free to contribute!

General workflows

Upgrade to Rails 7

Upgrade to Rails 6

  • [...