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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.

Preparations

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

Javascript objects can have getter and setter functions that are called when a property is read from or written to.

For example, if you'd like an object that has a virtual person.fullName attribute that dynamically composes person.firstName and person.lastName:

```
var person = {

firstName: 'Guybrush',

lastName: 'Threepwood',

get fullName() {
return this.firstName + " " + this.lastName;
},

set fullName(name) {
var parts = name.split(" ");
this.firstName = parts[0];
this.lastName = parts[1];
}

};
```…

Linked content

Copy to clipboard without flash (clipboard.js)

We used zeroclipboard.js in some of our projects but now we switched to clipboard.js because it does not rely on flash. Flash support of the major browsers has ended.

Some more advantages of clipboard.js:

  • it consists only of a single javascript file, so it does not trigger additional requests with rails
  • it automagically provides user feedback by selecting the text it has copied
  • it provides callbacks for success and error which make it easier to add custom behaviour after copying to the clipboar…
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Cheat Sheet for the modern DOM API

See the attached link for a useful overview of modern (and classic) DOM API methods, like matches, contains, append, cssText, etc.

You will still need to look up some documentation, e.g. on how to modify a ClassList, but it's still better than browsing interfaces and superclasses of Element on MDN without knowing what to look for.

When coming from jQuery, also see the card on JavaScript without jQuery. This card includes a link to [You Don't Need jQuery](https://github.com/nefe/You-Dont-Need-jQuery/blob/maste…

JavaScript without jQuery (presentation from 2019-01-21)

Summary

  • We want to move away from jQuery in future projects
  • Motivations are performance, bundle size and general trends for the web platform.
  • The native DOM API is much nicer than it used to be, and we can polyfill the missing pieces
  • Unpoly 0.60.0 works with or without jQuery

Is jQuery slow?

```text
From: Sven
To: unpoly@googlegroups.com
Subject: performance on smartphones and tablets

Hello

I just used your framework in one project and must say,
I am really pleased with it – but only on a desktop computer.

Have you benchm…

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Things you probably didn’t know you could do with Chrome’s Developer Console

Collection of useful tools in the Chrome JavaScript console.

Make the whole page editable
This is not special to Chrome, but still a clever thing:
document.body.contentEditable=true 
Taking time
You can easily measure the time on the console with named timers:
console.time('myTime'); // Start timer
console.timeEnd('myTime'); // End timer and print the time
Reference previously inspected elements (from the Elements panel)
Variables $0, $1, … $n reference the nth-last inspected Element. $0 is the…

AngularJS 1: How to keep "ng-hidden" elements from flickering on page load

When you have an element you want to hide, you can add a ng-show='isOpen' attribute to that element. When you set isOpen to false on the scope, the element will be hidden.

However, when you load the page, the element is usually rendered by the browser before Angular has loaded and had a chance to hide it.

Generic fix (prefer)

The ng-cloak directive was designed for exactly this purpose. Add a ng-cloak attribute or class (and more, see the link) to any element you want to …

Linked contentAuto-destruct in 2 days

Unpoly 0.60.0 released: No jQuery required

You may browse a formatted and hyperlinked version of this file at https://unpoly.com/changes.

0.60.0

This is a major update with some breaking changes.

Highlights

  • jQuery is no longer required! Unpoly now has zero dependencies.
  • New up.element helpers to complement native Element methods. You might not even miss jQuery anymore.
  • Vastly improved performance on slow devices.
  • Utility functions that work with arrays and array-like values have been greatly improved.
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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…

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Does <html> or <body> scroll the page?

Scrolling overflowing elements with JavaScript

HTML elements with overflow-y: auto or overflow-y: scroll will get a scrollbar when their content is higher than their own height.

When you scroll an element , the element's scrollTop property is updated with the scrollbar's new position. You can also set element.scrollTop = 30 to scroll the element to a vertical pixel position counted from the top.

Scrolling the main viewport with JavaScript

The browser's main document viewport is also scrollable by default. The element that …

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Using ES6 without a transpiler

If your app does not need to support IE11, you can use most ES6 features without a build step. Just deliver your plain JavaScript without transpilation through Babel or TypeScript, and modern browsers will run them natively.

Features supported by all modern browsers include:

  • fat arrow functions (() => { expr })
  • let / const
  • class
  • async / await
  • Promises
  • Generators
  • Symbols
  • Rest arguments (...args)
  • Destructuring

You won't be able to use import and export, or use npm modules.

See this [ES6 compatibility mat…

Repeats

How to emulate simple classes with plain JavaScript

If you want a class-like construct in JavaScript, you can use the module pattern below. The module pattern gives you basic class concepts like a constructor, private state, public methods.

Since the module pattern only uses basic JavaScript, your code will run in any browser. You don't need CoffeeScript or an ES6 transpiler like Babel.

A cosmetic benefit is that the module pattern works without the use of this or prototypes.

Example

Here is an example for a Ruby class that we want to translate into Javascript using the module patter…

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The Easiest Way to Parse URLs with JavaScript

A very clever hack to parse a structured URL object is to create a <a> element and set its href to the URL you want to parse.

You can then query the <a> element for its components like schema, hostname, port, pathname, query, hash:

var parser = document.createElement('a');
parser.href = 'http://heise.de/bar';
parser.hostname; // => 'heise.de'
pathname = parser.pathname; // => '/bar'

if (pathname[0] != '/')
  pathname = '/' + pathname // Fix IE11

One advantag…

How to: Use Ace editor in a Webpack project

The Ace editor is a great enhancement when you want users to supply some kind of code (HTML, JavaScript, Ruby, etc).
It offers syntax highlighting and some neat features like auto-indenting.

Integrating it with Webpack as described in the documentation – by using ace-builds and ace-builds/webpack-resolver – failed pretty hard for me. Maybe because Rails' Webpacker is still on Webpack 2.
The following works for Ruby on Rails with Webpacker / Webpack 2.

  1. Do not use the `ace-builds…
Repeats

Javascript: Don't throw 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 throw synchronous exceptions when encountering fatal errors.

So avoid this:

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

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