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Repeats

Stop writing "require 'spec_helper'" in every spec

Simply add this to your .rspec instead:

--require spec_helper

If you are on rspec >= 3 and use a rails_helper.rb require this instead of the spec_helper:

--require rails_helper

If you are using parallel_tests and this is not working for you, .rspec might be ignored. Try using a .rspec_parallel file.

Fixing: Gem::Package::PathError: installing into parent path is not allowed

This might be a known issue with Rubygems 2.5.1. This will help:

gem update --system
External content

Flexbox vs. Grid

CSS Flexbox has become extremely popular amongst front-end developers the last couple of years. This isn’t surprising, as it has made it a lot easier for us to create dynamic layouts and align content within containers.
However, there’s a new kid in town called CSS Grid, and it’s got a lot of the same capabilities as Flexbox. In come cases it’s better than Flexbox, while in other cases it’s not.

If you are to take one lesson from this article, let it be this one:

Flexbox is made for one-dimensional layouts and Grid is made for tw…

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…

Repeats

Difference between respond_to/format and params[:format]

To return non-HTML responses (like XLS spreadsheets), we usually use the

respond_to do |format|
  format.xls do
    # send spreadsheet
  end
end

This is often, but not always the same as checking for params[:format] == :xls, so don't rely on this when e.g. one format checks for authorization and the other doesn't.

params[:format] is only set when a user explicitly puts a .xls at the end of the URL.

The format.xls block also responds when the user's browser requests the application/excel MIME type.

If Intern…

Repeats

IIFEs in Coffeescript

In JavaScript we often use Immediately Invoked Function Expessions (or IIFEs) to prevent local variables from bleeding into an outside scope:

(function() {
  var foo = "value"; // foo is scoped to this IIFE
})();

In Coffeescript an IIFE looks like this:

(->
  foo = "value" # foo is scoped to this IIFE
)()

There is also a shorthand syntax with do:

do ->
  foo = "value" # foo is scoped to this IIFE

You can also use do with arguments t…

Repeats

Generating test images on the fly via JavaScript

When you need test images, instead of using services like lorempixel or placehold.it you may generate test images yourself. You can do this via JavaScript.

Here is an ES6 function that generates a simple SVG image and returns it as a data: URI. All browsers support SVG, and you can easily adjust it yourself.

function svgUri(text) {
  let svg = `
    <svg width="320" height="240" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg">
      <rect x="0" y="0" width="320" height="240" style...
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…

Rails: How to provide a public link in a mail

Lets say we have a user with a contract whereas contract is a mounted carrierwave file.

Now we want to send the link to the contract in a mail. For this use case join the root_url with the public contract path in the mailer view:

Plain text email

URI.join(root_url, @user.contract.url)

HTML email

link_to('Show contract', URI.join(root_url, @user.contract.url).to_s)

Note: You need to follow [http://guides.rubyonrails.org/action_mailer_basics.html#g…

Repeats

RSpec 3 argument constraints use weak equality

If you expect method calls in RSpec 3, be aware that the argument matchers use very liberal equality rules (more like === instead of ==).

For example:

expect(subject).to receive(:foo).with(MyClass)

subject.foo(MyClass)      # satisfies the expectation
subject.foo(MyClass.new)  # also satisfies the expectation

expect(subject).to receive(:bar).with(/regex/)

subject.bar(/regex/)      # satisfies the expectation
subject.bar('regex')      # also satisfies the expectation

This is usually not an issue, except when your method argu…

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. …

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