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Rails: Rest API post-mortem analysis

This is a personal post-mortem analysis of a project that was mainly build to provide a REST API to mobile clients.

For the API backend we used the following components:

  • Active Model Serializer (AMS) to serializer our Active Record models to JSON.
  • JSON Schema to test the responses of our server.
  • SwaggerUI to document the API.

It worked

The concept worked really good. Here are two points that were extraordinary compared to normal Rails project with many UI components:

  • Having a Rails application, that has no UI components (only…
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Structuring Rails applications: the Modular Monorepo Monolith

Root Insurance runs their application as a monolithic Rails application – but they've modularized it inside its repository. Here is their approach in summary:

Strategy

  • Keep all code in a single repository (monorepo)
  • Have a Rails Engine for each logical component instead of writing a single big Rails Application
  • Build database-independent components as gems
  • Thus: gems/ and engines/ directories instead of app/
  • Define a dependency graph of components. It should have few edges.
  • Gems and Engines can be extracted easier once nece…

Understanding SQL compatibility modes in MySQL and MariaDB

MySQL and MariaDB have an SQL mode setting which changes how MySQL behaves.

The SQL mode value is comprised of multiple flags like "STRICT_TRANS_TABLES, NO_ZERO_IN_DATE". Each flag activates or disables a particular behavior.

The default SQL mode varies widly between versions of MySQL and MariaDB. In general, more recent versions of MySQL and MariaDB have stricter settings than older versions, and MySQL has stricter settings than the more liberal MariaDB.

If your app explodes …

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How to split up a git commit

Quick steps

  1. git rebase -i -> mark your commit with edit
  2. git reset HEAD~ (remove the marked commit, but keep its changes)
  3. Make several commits
  4. git rebase --continue

Detailed instructions

Basically, you will review the last n commits and stop at the splittable commit. Then you'll undo that commit and put its changes into new commits at your liking.

  1. Review commits (rebase)

    git rebase -i HEAD~3
    # or
    git rebase -i origin/master
    

    Git will give you a list of commits, younge…

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Automated "git bisect" will make your day

So you're hunting down a regression (or just a bug) and want to use git bisect to find out when it was introduced? Smart kid.
If you have a shell command ready to reveal if your current state is good or bad, you can have git do most of the work for you.

Using git bisect run <your command> you can tell git that your command will reveal the issue; git on the other hand will use the return value of that call to decide if the state is good or bad. …

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How to view a file from another branch

Just run git show branch:file. Examples:

git show HEAD~:bin/command
git show origin/master:../lib/version.rb
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Differences between transactions and locking

Web applications can be used by multiple users at the same time. A typical application server like Passenger has multiple worker processes for a single app. In a distributed deployment setup like we use at makandra you will even have multiple application servers, each with their own worker pool.

This means that your code needs to deal with concurrent data access. The two main tools we use to cope with concurrency are database transactions and distributed locks. These two are not interchangeable. You ca…

Geordi 2.7.0 released

  • Fixed #68: The "cucumber" command now fails early when @solo features fail.
  • Added: The "setup" command now prints the db adapter when prompting db credentials.
  • Fixed #71: When used without staged changes, the "commit" command will print a warning and create an empty commit. Any arguments to the command are forwarded to Git.
  • Fixed: The "commit" command will not print the extra message any more.
  • Added: The "commit" command prints a (progre…
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Bookmarklet to generate a Pivotal Tracker story from Zammad Ticket

This is a bookmarklet you can add to Chrome or Firefox which will allow you to create a story in Pivotal Tracker from a Zammad ticket. This might come in handy when creating stories for SWAT Teams.

But first you will have to set two variables in the script below:

  • pt_project_id: the ID of the Pivotal Tracker Project you want to add stories to. This can be found as part of the URL of the project (https://www.pivotaltracker.com/n/projects/<pt_project_id>)
  • pt_token: the Pivotal Tracker token used for authentication. Can be found in y…
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How to bulk-unwatch many repositories on Github

To easily opt out of notifications for a large number of Github repositories, go to https://github.com/watching.

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Use a global .gitignore file to ignore stuff from your machine

Sometimes you want git to ignore certain files that appear on your machine. You can do this in 3 ways:

  • Per project, in the project's .gitignore file
  • Per project, in a local exclude file
  • Globally on your machine

Downsides of per-project .gitignore entries

While it might be tempting to set it per project (other devs might benefit from it), you

  • need to do it each time for every project
  • "pollute" a project's .gitignore file with stuff…

Guidelines for Pull Requests and Code Reviews

Projects with more than one developer should always consider to enforce code review even for small changes to improves the overall code health of the system. Here are some guidelines that can help you to accomplish this task.

Github

How to write the perfect pull request

Google

Google's Engineering Practices documentation

Thoughtbot

[Thoughtbot' Code Review Guideline](https://github.com/thoughtbot/guides/tree/master/cod…

A collection of useful design resources for developers

This collection contains some useful design resources for developers. Many of them were mentioned in the Refactoring UI tutorials.

Tutorials

Dra…

Adding makandra-rubocop to an existing code base

Introduction

Most of the time it is a tedious task to apply a code style guide to an existing code base as there are likely to be a lot of conflicts. At makandra we are using makandra-rubocop to have code style checks. Here is some advice on how to add makandra-rubocop efficiently.

Run rubocop in parallel

To bost performance rubocop can process in parallel (just not in combination with every switch):

$ rubocop --parallel # or short: $ rubocop -p

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Capistrano: How to find out which version of your application is currently live

When deploying, Capistrano puts a REVISION file into your application's release directory. It contains the hash of the commit which was deployed.

If you want to know the currently deployed release, simply SSH to a server and view that file.

$ cat /var/www/my-project/current/REVISION
cf8734ece3938fc67262ad5e0d4336f820689307

Capistrano task

When your application is deployed to multiple servers, you probably want to see a result for all of them.
Here is a Capistrano task that checks all servers with the :app role.

```rub…

Bash script to list commits by Pivotal Tracker ID

The main benefit of our convention to prefix commits by their corresponding Pivotal Tracker ID is that we can easily detect commits that belong to the same story. You can either do that manually or use the bash script below by copying it somewhere to your .bashrc.

```bash
# Usage: ptcommits '#123456'
function ptcommits {
if test "$1"
then
git log –oneline | grep "$1" | grep "^[a-z0-9]*" -o | xargs –no-run-i…

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A community-curated list of flexbox issues and cross-browser workarounds for them

This repository is a community-curated list of flexbox issues and cross-browser workarounds for them. The goal is that if you're building a website using flexbox and something isn't working as you'd expect, you can find the solution here.

As the spec continues to evolve and vendors nail down their implementations, this repo will be updated with newly discovered issues and remove old issues as they're fixed or become obsolete. If you discover a bug that's not listed here, please report it so everyone else can benefit.

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How to: Use git bisect to find bugs and regressions

Git allows you to do a binary search across commits to hunt down the commit that introduced a bug.

Given you are currently on your branch's HEAD that is not working as expected, an example workflow could be:

git bisect start # Start bisecting
git bisect bad # Tag the revision you are currently on (HEAD) as bad. You could also pass a commit's SHA1 like below:
git bisect good abcdef12345678 # Give the SHA1 of any commit that was working as it should
# shorthand:
git bisect start <bad ref> <good ref>

Git will fetch a comm…

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