How to: Fix json 1.8.3 with Ruby 2.5

The gem json fails to install for Ruby 2.5 if you use a version equal or below 1.8.3.

Run bundle update json --conservative to solve this issue.

The backtrace you will encounter looks like this:

Building native extensions. This could take a while…
ERROR: Error installing json:
ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

current directory: /home/user/.rbenv/versions/2.5.3/lib/ruby/gems/2.5.0/gems/json-1.8.3/ext/json/ext/generator /home/user/.rbenv/versions/2.5.3/bin/ruby -I /home/user/.rbenv/versions/2.5.3/lib/ruby/si...
Linked contentRepeats

Active Record and PostgreSQL — Ruby on Rails Guides

Rails guide that covers PostgreSQL-specific column types and usages for Active Record.

You should especially keep in mind the special datatypes that PostgreSQL offers. \
Types like json and array take away a lot of the pain that you had on MySQL projects.

Example use cases for array are tags or storing foreign keys (instead of a join model). You can even index them.

Documenting your Rails project's Node.js version in .nvmrc

Not all versions of Node.js are compatible with each other. Also npm packages may require a minimum or maximum version of Node.js.

To make sure that all developers use a compatible version of Node.js, your Rails project should declare the required Node.js in a file called .nvmrc.

When a .nvmrc exists, developers can cd in your project directory and activate the project's node version with

nvm use

There are some hacks to automatically activate a Node version as yo…

Yarn: How to recognize that you are using a different node version than your colleagues

The issue in this card can occur if the node_modules directory is checked into your Git repository. We usually recommend to exclude node_modules from version control.

In any case you should document which version of node to use in your project in a .nvmrc file.

I saw a strange behaviour after we introduced webpack in one of our projects and finally found out the reason: The person who committed the files used a node version that is older than mine.

Every time I wanted to run my rai…


Sass: Do not use comments between selector definitions

Sass lets you easily specify multiple selectors at once like this:

    outline: 1px solid red

This will add a red outline on either real hover or when the has-hover class is present. However, adding a comment will void the definition of that line:

  &.has-hover, // From hoverable.js <-- DON'T
    outline: 1px solid red

… will simply drop the &.has-hover part.


RubyMine's clipboard can hold more than one string

By pressing Ctrl + Shift + V you can select a recently copied string for pasting.

Bundler: How to install version 1 instead of 2 (latest version)

When installing a gem you can use version comparators like >= or ~>. That way it is possible to fetch the latest version of Bundler 1 with this command:

gem install bundler -v '~>1'

How to install bundler for Ruby < 2.3 is a common usecase where you might need Bundler 1.


Git: Show commits that have touched specific text in a file

If you want to find the commits that touched a specific text in a file, use git log -S 'text in the code' -- path/to/file.

Here is an example, where the move of the convert_number_column_value(value) method in active record is traced (simplified output):

git log -n 1 --pretty=oneline -S 'convert_number_column_value(value)' -- activerecord/lib/active_record/base.rb
ceb33f84933639d3b61aac62e5e71fd087ab65ed Split out most of the AR::Base code into separate modules :cake:

git show ceb33f84933639d3b61aac62e5e71fd087ab65ed…


Finding a method name on a Ruby object

Wondering how a specific method on an object is exactly named? You can use Enumerable#grep to detect it in the array of methods.

@user.methods.grep /name/ # => [:name, :first_name, :last_name]

You can also call #private_methods or #public_methods. To find only relevant methods, it is suggested to subtract generic methods like this:

User.methods - Object.methods
User.methods - ActiveRecord::Base.methods
@user.methods - Object.instance_methods
@user.methods - ActiveRecord::Base.instance_methods

Using regular expressions in JavaScript

Regular expressions in Javascript are represented by a RegExp object. There also is a regex literal as in many other languages: /regex/. However, they are used slightly differently.

Regex literal

  • Usage: /foo+/
  • Shorthand for creating a regular expression object

RegExp() object

  • Usage: Regexp("foo+") or new RegExp("foo+")
  • No surrounding slashes required (they're the literal markers)
  • Since the argument is a string, backslashes need to be escaped as well: RegExp("\\d+")


  • Regex objects [never eq…

How to recognize CVE-2019-5418

If you get requests with values for formats like this:

{:locale=>[:de], :formats=>["../../../../../../../../../../etc/services{{"], :variants=>[], :handlers=>[:erb, :builder, :raw, :ruby, :coffee, :haml]}

or fails like this:

Invalid query parameters: invalid %-encoding (../../../../../../../../../etc/passwd%%0000.html)

Someone tries to exploit CVE-2019-5418.
If you use the latest Rails (or latest Rails LTS) you're…

Linked contentDeprecated

Execution of shell code in Ruby scripts

Deprecated ways to execute shell code in Ruby

This is just a reference for legacy code. For new code, always use capture3.

%x{ } or backticks – quick and easy

Returns the standard output of running the given command in a subshell. This is an alias for `…`, and you can use string interpolation.


name = 'ls'
result = `which #{name}`

It does not escape anything you inject in the string.

If you want to find out if the call was …

How to: Migrate from CoffeeScript to ES6

It is quite easy to migrate from CoffeeScript to ES6. You can use decaffeinate to convert your CoffeeScript source to modern JavaScript.


  • Install the NPM module globally yarn global add decaffeinate
  • Add the following line to your ~/.bashrc to export the Yarn binaries in your Bash
export PATH="$PATH:$(yarn global bin)"
  • Run decaffeinate to get the converted modern JavaScript file.


  • decaffeinate will add some [suggestions](https://gith…

Why two Ruby Time objects are not equal, although they appear to be

So you are comparing two Time objects in an RSpec example, and they are not equal, although they look equal:

expected: Tue May 01 21:59:59 UTC 2007,
     got: Tue May 01 21:59:59 UTC 2007 (using ==)

The reason for this is that Time actually tracks fractions of a second, although #to_s doesn't say so and even though you probably only care about seconds. This means that two consecutive calls of probably return two inequal values.

Consider freezing time in your tests so it is not dependent on the speed of the executi…


The many gotchas of Ruby class variables

TLDR: Ruby class variables (@@foo) are dangerous in many ways. You should avoid them at all cost. See bottom of this card for alternatives.

Class variables are shared between a class hierarchy

When you declare a class variable, it is shared between this and all descending (inheriting) classes. This is rarely what you want.

Class variables are bound at compile-time

Like unqualified constants, class variables are bound to your current scope *whe…

Fun with Ruby: Returning in blocks "overwrites" outside return values

In a nutshell: return statements inside blocks cause a method's return value to change. This is by design (and probably not even new to you, see below) – but can be a problem, for example for the capture method of Rails.

Consider these methods:

def stuff
  puts 'yielding...'
  puts 'yielded.'

We can call our stuff method with a block to yield. It works like t…


Webpack: Automatically generating an icon font from .svg files

Over the years we have tried several solution to have vector icons in our applications. There are many ways to achieve this, from SVGs inlined into the HTML, SVGs inlined in CSS, JavaScript-based solutions, to icon fonts.

Out of all these options, the tried and true icon font seems to have the most advantages, since

  • icon fonts are supported everywhere
  • they perform well and require no JavaScript at all
  • their icons align nicely with text
  • their icons automatically inherit color and size of the surrounding text

The big issue used to b…

Cucumber: Inspecting the Chrome download folder to test file downloads with Selenium

We already have some approaches on how to test file downloads withe selenium. Nonetheless here is another approach, which inspects the Chrome download folder. This way you do not need a separate logic on whether a file is served from a controller or a public path. The DownloadHelpers might also be re-used for reading e.g. a PDF file and checking its content.

Note: The step below will override a [spreewald step](https://gith…

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