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Merging two JavaScript objects

Let's say you want to merge the properties of two JavaScript objects:

let a = { foo: 1, bar: 2 }
let b = { bar: 3, baz: 4 }

let merged = merge(a, b) // => { foo: 1, bar: 3, baz: 4 }

Depending on your build, there are several ways to implement merge().

When you have ES6

When you have an ES6 transpiler or don't support IE11, you may use the spread operator (...) to expand both objects into a new object literal:

let merg...

Test Driven Development with Cucumber and RSpec

Test Driven Development is the paradigm to "first write a test, then implement the code". This guide shows how to apply it in practice, with Cucumber and RSpec as integration and unit test frameworks.

Hierarchical approach

I like to view TDD as a process with three levels:

  • Cucumber level (integration test)
  • Code level
  • RSpec level (unit test)

During development you are frequently changing levels. It may look something like this:

Integration _                    _
Code         \__      ___     __/
Spec            \____/   \__...

Webmock normalizes arrays in urls

Typhoeus has a different way of representing array params in a get request than RestClient.

Typhoeus: http://example.com/?foo[0]=1&foo[1]=2&foo[2]=3
RestClient: http://example.com/?foo[]=1&foo[]=2&foo[]=3

Webmock normalizes this url when matching to your stubs, so it is always http://example.com/?foo[]=1&foo[]=2&foo[]=3. This might lead to green tests, but in fact crashes in real world. Rack::Utils.build_nested_query might help to build a get re...


Use find_in_batches or find_each to deal with many records efficiently

Occasionally you need to do something directly on the server -- like having all records recalculate something that cannot be done in a migration because it takes a long time.

Let's say you do something like this:


Even though you may have been successful with this on your development machine or the staging server, keep in mind that production machines often hold a lot more records. Using all may just work, even with lots of records, but when you iterate over such records and fetch associati...

Linked content

PostgreSQL: Difference between text and varchar columns

PostgreSQL offers three character types for your columns:

  • character varying(n) (also called varchar or just string): Contents are limited to n characters, smaller contents are allowed.
  • character(n): All contents are padded with spaces to allocate exactly n characters.
  • text: There is no upper or lower character limit (except for the absolute maximum of 1 GB).

The documentation states:

There is no performance difference among these three types, apart ...


HTTP Client in RubyMine

RubyMine has a HTTP Client that can be useful to test web APIs.
Just create a .http scratch file an write your request in it.
The request can then be executed with the "Run all requests in File" button above the file.

Some alternatives:

The format for request is like this:

Method Request-URI HTTP-Version
Header-field: Header-val...

Select2 alternatives without jQuery

Select2 is a fantastic library for advanced dropdown boxes, but it depends on jQuery.

We have used Selectr with some success, but that project is no longer maintained.

Choices.js has also been used in production and works. It uses the powerful Fuse search library for filtering list items.

We're currently testing out tail.select, which looks good but says it's still...


How to use Active Job to decouple your background processing from a gem

In a web application you sometimes have tasks that can not be processed during a request but need to go to the background.
There are several gems that help to you do that, like Sidekiq or Resque.

With newer Rails you can also use ActiveJob as interface for a background processing library. See here for a list of supported queueing adapters.
For ...

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Howto: Select2 with AJAX

Select2 comes with AJAX support built in, using jQuery's AJAX methods.
For remote data sources only, Select2 does not create a new element until the item has been selected for the first time. This is done for performance reasons. Once an has been created, it will remain in the DOM even if the selection is later changed.

If you have a huge collection of records for your select2 input, you can populate it via AJAX in order to not pollute your HTML with lots of <option> elements.

All you have to do is to provide...

Linked content

Testing for XSS in Markdown Fields

If you render markdown from user input, an attacker might be able to use this to inject javascript code into the source code of your page.
The linked github page is a collection of common markdown XSS payloads which is handy for writing tests.

Producing arbitrary links:

[Local Storage](javascript:alert(JSON.stringify(localStorage)))
[In Quotes]('javascript:alert("InQuotes")')

Using onload...


Error handling in DOM event listeners

When an event listener on a DOM element throws an error, that error will be silenced and not interrupt your program.

In particular, other event listeners will still be called even after a previous listener threw an error. Also the function that emitted the event (like element.dispatchEvent() or up.emit()) will not throw either.

In the following example two handlers are listening to the foo event. The first handler crashes, th...


Do not use transparent PNGs for iOS favicons

Safari on iOS accepts an apple-touch-icon favicon that is used for stuff like desktop bookmarks. Always define a solid background color for them.

If you use PNGs with a transparent background, Safari will use just set a black background on your pretty icon. This is almost never what you want.
You can fix that by applying a white background via ImageMagick like this:

convert a...

Don't ever use the float type for database columns

Like in any language, a FLOAT will eventually corrupt data due to rounding errors.

Please use DECIMAL, which has well-defined behavior for rounding and range overflows.


Don't mix Array#join and String#html_safe

You cannot use Array#join on an array of strings where some strings are html_safe and others are not. The result will be an unsafe string and will thus be escaped when rendered in a view:

unsafe_string = '<span>foo</span>'
safe_string = '<span>bar</span>'.html_safe
[unsafe_string, safe_string].join(' ') # will incorrectly render as '&lt;span&gt;foo&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span&t;bar&lt;/span&gt;'


The solution is not to call html_safe on the joined array and if you thought it would be, you [don't understand how XSS protecti...

Ruby: Using the pry debugger in projects with older Ruby versions

In case you want to use pry with an older version of Ruby, you can try the following configurations.

Ruby 1.8.7

Your pry version must not be greater than 0.9.10.

gem 'pry', '=0.9.10'
gem 'ruby-debug'
gem "ruby-debug-pry", :require => "ruby-debug/pry"
gem 'pry-nav'
gem 'ruby18_source_location'

Ruby 1.9.3

Your pry version must not be greater than 0.9.9.

gem 'debugger', '=1.1.4'
gem 'pry-debugger', '=0.2.0'
gem 'pry', '=0.9.9'

Known errors

No source for ruby-1.9.3-p551 p...

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The ultimate guide to Ruby timeouts

An unresponsive service can be worse than a down one. It can tie up your entire system if not handled properly. All network requests should have a timeout.

Here’s how to add timeouts for popular Ruby gems. All have been tested. You should avoid Ruby’s Timeout module. The default is no timeout, unless otherwise specified. Enjoy!

Migrate data between Redis servers

There is a reasonable simple way to move data between Redis servers: Simply temporarily configure the new server as a replica of the old server.

To do this:

  1. Make sure the new Redis server can access the old server. If they are on different networks, a simple SSH tunnel will do.
  2. Connect to the new server using redis-cli.
  3. Tail the log of the redis server (found in /var/logs/redis) in another terminal.
  4. Make sure the server is currently master and not already a replica (check INFO replication)
  5. Enable replication with `REPL...

Nokogiri: CSS syntax for XML namespaces


CSS selectors are a very simple tool to select elements from a Nokogiri document. However, the colon in the XML namespace syntax does not work with CSS. When selecting namespaced elements, you need to replace their colon (soapenv:Envelope) with a pipe (soapenv|Envelope):

document = Nokogiri::XML(xml)
nest = document.at_css 'soapenv|Envelope soapenv|Body elem nest'
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