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How to tackle complex refactorings in big projects

Sometimes huge refactorings or refactoring of core concepts of your application are necessary for being able to meet new requirements or to keep your application maintainable on the long run. Here are some thoughts about how to approach such challenges.

Break it down

Try to break your refactoring down in different parts. Try to make tests green for each part of your refactoring as soon as possible and only move to the next big part if your tests are fixed. It's not a good idea to work for weeks or months and wait for ALL puzzle pieces to…

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Geordi 2.1.0 released

We released two new versions of geordi. See the changelog below for more details.

Note: Geordi 2.0.0 has a breaking change that affects the geordi commit command.

2.1.0 2019-02-25

Compatible changes

  • Fixes [#59]: Removedb name prefix when reading whitelist
  • Fixes [#62]: Provide better error messages on whitelist editing errors.
  • Fixes [#63]: Allow explicit whitelisting of database names that would be considered derivative during db cleanup
  • Fixes [#64]: Remove VISUAL and EDITOR from …
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Make your Rails console (and irb) output better readable

Pour color on your Rails console with awesome_print. Turn confusing long strings into formatted output. Have objects and classes laid out clearly whenever you need it.

Put gem 'awesome_print', :group => :development into your Gemfile. Now on the Rails console you have the command ap that will give you a colored, formatted output of whatever you pass it. See the example output of the User class below.

For customization visit the repository on Github.

![awesome_print.png](https://makan…

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Gatekeeping: Guide for developer

Note: This process is tailored to our specific needs and tools at makandra. While it will certainly not apply to all (especially larger teams), we think it is a helpful starting point. Compare also the Gatekeeping: Guide for gatekeeper card.


In order to reduce the number of rejects we get from clients, we want to review all code written before it goes to the staging server.

If your project manager wants to do gatekeeping o…

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Geordi hints

Reminder of what you can do with Geordi.

Note: If you alias Geordi to something short like g, running commands gets much faster!
Note: You only need to type the first letters of a command to run it, e.g. geordi dep will run the deploy command.

geordi deploy
Guided deployment, including push, merge, switch branches. Does nothing without confirmation.
geordi capistrano
Run something for all Capistrano environments, e.g. geordi cap deploy
geordi setup -t -d staging
When you just cloned a n…
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Use the Git stash without shooting yourself in the foot

The Git stash does not work like a one-slot clipboard and you might shoot yourself in the foot if you pretend otherwise.

In particular git stash apply does not remove the stashed changes from the stash. That means you will probably apply the wrong stash when you do git stash apply after a future stashing.

To keep your stash clean, you can use

git stash pop

instead.

Another way to look at it:

git stash pop 

is the same as

git stash apply && git stash drop

Notice: In case of a conflict git will not pop th…

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Git stash: Working with old Entries

First find the reference for the entry you want through looking at the stash:

$ git stash list
stash@{0}: WIP on feature/foo
stash@{1}: WIP on feature/bar
stash@{2}: WIP on fix/baz

Now you can simply use that reference, but curly braces must be escaped:

git stash pop stash@\{1\}

or quoted:

git stash apply "stash@{1}"

Quick reminder to [not shoot yourself in the foot](https://makandracards.com/makandra/634-use-the-git-stash-withou…

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JavaScript basics tutorial: 33 Concepts Every JavaScript Developer Should Know

This repository was created with the intention of helping developers master their concepts in JavaScript. It is not a requirement, but a guide for future studies. It is based on an article written by Stephen Curtis.

Table of Contents

  • Call Stack
  • Primitive Types
  • Value Types and Reference Types
  • Implicit, Explicit, Nominal, Structuring and Duck Typing
  • == vs === vs typeof
  • Function Scope, Block Scope and Lexical Scope
  • Expression vs Statement
  • IIFE, Modules and Namespaces
  • Message Queue and Event Loop
  • setTimeout, setInte…
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8 steps for fixing other people's code

Guide how to make fixes in other people's GitHub repositories. It's basically "Open Source Development 101".

Way back in mid-2007, when Rails 1.2 was the new hotness and GitHub was still a year away from crawling out of the primordial internet soup, prolific open source contributor Dr Nic wrote an article titled “8 steps for fixing other people’s code”. (…)

Here in the fantastical future world of 2012, while we still don’t have hoverboards or household nuclear fusion, we do have some great tools that make fixing other people’s code…

Git: Ignore whitespace when merging or cherry-picking

You can tell git to ignore different kinds and amounts of whitespace when merging or cherry-picking. This often occurs when you changed indentation, or converted tabs to spaces.

Simply use

git merge <REV> -Xignore-space-change

or

git cherry-pick <REV> -Xignore-space-change

Rbenv: How to remove a gem installed from a Github source

Normally you can list all gems of the current ruby version with gem list, which also includes the gems of you Gemfile. These can be uninstalled with gem uninstall gemname.

List and uninstall a gem installed via Bundler from Github

This does not work for gems installed directly from Github. They do not appear in gem list.

Show all gems installed via Github by bundler:

ls ~/.rbenv/versions/2.4.1/lib/ruby/gems/2.4.0/bundler/

Remove a gem installed via Github by Bundler:

```
rm -rf ~/.rbenv/versions/2.4.1/lib/ruby/gems/2….

An incomplete guide to migrate a Rails application from paperclip to carrierwave

In this example we assume that not only the storage gem changes but also the file structure on disc.

A general approach

Part A: Create a commit which includes a script that allows you to copy the existing file to the new file structure.

Part B: Create a commit which removes all paperclip logic and replace it with the same code you used in the first commit

Part A

Here are some implementation details you might want to reuse:

  • Use the existing models to read the files from
  • Use your own carrierwave models to write t…
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Colcade is a lightweight Masonry alternative

Masonry is a famous library to dynamically arrange a grid of items that have different aspect ratio, like horizontal and vertical images. Colcade is an alternative masonry-layouting library, developed by the same developer, but with a more modern approach.

It is said to have better performance while being smaller and having no dependencies. It automagically detects jQuery and defines a jQuery initializer, if present.
However, it offers [a few less features](https:…

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Getting permanent links to files on Github or Gitlab

Please don't simply copy line number links from Github. The URL usually contains a branch name like master:

https://github.com/makandra/upjs/blob/master/lib/assets/javascripts/up/link.js.coffee#L76

If someone now posts an insertion or deletion to that file into master your link points to the wrong line!

A better way is to (Github) press the Y key after clicking on a line number or (Gitlab) clicking the "Permalink" button in the top bar.

This will transform the URL to another URL that points to the particular commit:

```
h…

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Pretty commit messages via geordi

Geordi provides a pretty neat way to generate beautiful commit messages according to your stories in Pivotal Tracker:

geordi commit

Geordi reads from a .pt_project_id file inside your repo and connects to Pivotal Tracker to list started and finished stories with their title. Choosing one of them generates a commit message including id and title from pivotal tracker. For example:

[#1234567] CRUD Users

Trouble shooting

If you encounter a bug like …

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Rails < 5: How to get after_commit callbacks fired in tests

If you use transactional_fixtures or the database_cleaner gem with strategy :transaction, after_commit callbacks will not be fired in your tests.

Rails 5

Rails 5 has a fix for this issue and no further action is needed.

Rails 3+

Add the gem test_after_commit to your test group in the Gemfile and you are done. You don't need to change the database strategy to deletion (which might…

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Nested ActiveRecord transaction pitfalls

When working with custom transactions you may encounter unexpected behaviour if you try to roll back your changes.

tl;dr

Not all databases support nested transactions. Therefore, Rails will sometimes silently ignore a nested transaction and simply reuse the other transaction. However, a ActiveRecord::Rollback within the nested transaction will be caught by the block of the nested transaction, but will be ignored by the outer transaction, and not cause a roll back!
To avoid this unexpected behaviour, you have to explicitly tell rai…

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How to make changes to a Ruby gem (as a Rails developer)

At makandra, we've built a few gems over the years. Some of these are quite popular: spreewald (475k downloads), active_type (330k downloads), and geordi (210k downloads) for example (numbers from 2018).

Developing a Ruby gem is different from developing Rails applications, with the biggest difference: there is no Rails. This means:

  • no defined structure (neither for code nor directories)
  • no autoloading of classes, i.e. you need to require all files yourself
  • no [active_support](https://api.rubyonrails.org/classes/ActiveSupport.ht…
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