Tag: Ruby on Rails

Full URL in Rails’ logs

I find myself needing to have the full URLs in Rails’ logs. Normally you get something like:

Started GET "/" for at 2011-08-27 13:13:10 +0200

but I needed

Started GET "http://foo.bar:3000/" for at 2011-08-27 13:13:10 +0200

because the app does different things depending on the domain and when it fails, I have to know which URL was hit. The solution I ended up with was adding this in an initializer:

class Rails::Rack::Logger << ActiveSupport::LogSubscriber

  def before_dispatch(env)
    request = ActionDispatch::Request.new(env)
    info "\n\nStarted #{request.request_method} \"#{request.url}\" for #{request.ip} at #{Time.now.to_default_s}"

That’s monkey-patching Rails’ own logger. Credit for the solution goes to numbers1311407.

My question for the people using Rails, do you think having a configurable logger in Rails would be useful or nice? If so, I could make a patch for Rails but I have made patches before that failed to gather the needed popularity and thus were ignored. I’m not wasting my time like that again.

Getting rid of RubyGems deprecation warnings

A recent update to RubyGems is causing a lot of deprecation warnings like these:

NOTE: Gem::Specification#default_executable= is deprecated with no replacement. It will be removed on or after 2011-10-01.
Gem::Specification#default_executable= called from /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/specifications/rubygems-update-1.4.1.gemspec:11.
NOTE: Gem::Specification#default_executable= is deprecated with no replacement. It will be removed on or after 2011-10-01.
Gem::Specification#default_executable= called from /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/specifications/bundler-1.0.7.gemspec:10.
NOTE: Gem::Specification#default_executable= is deprecated with no replacement. It will be removed on or after 2011-10-01.
Gem::Specification#default_executable= called from /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/specifications/file-tail-1.0.5.gemspec:10.

I generally like software to move forward and the way to do that is deprecate and then after a while, make backwards incompatible changes. It’s painful but there’s no other way.

I do have a problem with all the cron jobs of my web apps like Keep on Posting or DNSk9 flooding my inbox with those warnings. Thankfully, that’s not hard to fix. Where I was doing:

rake pre_calculate_thingies > /dev/null

now I’ll be doing:

rake pre_calculate_thingies 2>&1 >/dev/null | grep -v default_executable

Careful with that email

When you are building systems like my Keep on Posting or my DNSk9 that send emails there’s always the danger that you’ll accidentally fire emails from your development machine to real users. You really don’t want to do that because it’s annoying and extremely unprofessional.

It happened to me a couple of times. Thankfully, nothing serious. But I learned the lesson. That’s why in my user models now I have a safe_email method which I use instead of accessing email whenever I’m about to actually deliver a message.

The method safe_email ensures that nobody will receive a message unless I’m in production and at the same time it’s good for testing. Obviously most of the time in development and testing mode I don’t deliver emails at all, but sometimes, I make an exception:

def safe_email
  if Rails.env.production? || email.blank? # If the email is blank (or nil), let it be.
    "pupeno+#{email.gsub("@", "_AT_")}@pupeno.com"

Rake tasks for production

When I need to run something periodically on production, I always implement it as a rake tasks and install it as a cron job. Nevertheless there’s some setup to do in the task to have proper logging and error reporting.

This is the template I use for creating those tasks:

namespace :projectx do
  desc "Do something"
  task :something => :environment do
    if Rails.env.development?
      # Log to stdout.
      logger = Logger.new(STDOUT)
      logger.level = Logger::INFO # DEBUG to see queries
      ActiveRecord::Base.logger = logger
      ActionMailer::Base.logger = logger
      ActionController::Base.logger = logger
      logger = ActiveRecord::Base.logger

      logger.info "Doing something"
    rescue Exception => e
      raise e

While in development mode, it outputs to the console for convenience.

Another useful collection method? Enumerable#select_first

For a personal project I’m working on, I need to find out the smallest time period with more than 5 records. I essentially wrote this code:

period = [1.week, 1.month, 1.year].select_first do |period|
  Record.where("published_at >= ?", period.ago).count >= 5

only to find out that the select_first method doesn’t exist. So I wrote it:

module Enumerable
  def select_first(&predicate)
    self.each do |item|
      if yield(item)
        return item
    return nil

and then of course, I tested it:

require "test_helper"

require "enumerable_extensions"

class EnumerableTest  2 }

  should "select_first the first one" do
    assert_equal 1, [1, 2, 3, 4].select_first { |i| i >= 1 }

  should "select_first the last one" do
    assert_equal 4, [1, 2, 3, 4].select_first { |i| i >= 4 }

  should "select_first none" do
    assert_equal nil, [1, 2, 3, 4].select_first { |i| i >= 100 }

Metaprogramming Ruby

There are thousands of books that will take you from illiterate to novice in any programming language. But finding those that will take you from novice or intermediate to expert is hard. I remember reading Effective Java some years ago and wishing I had something like that for Python. I’ve never found one.

Metaprogramming Ruby is a great book full of very interesting knowledge, full of those things that separate a Ruby programmer and an export Ruby programmer. Before finishing the book I’ve already put to use some of the lessons and it saved me a lot of time. The book payed for itself before I’ve finished reading and I really recommend it to anyone who is serious about coding in Ruby.

The magic of Bundler

Recently I reported a bug for Formtastic. Justin French, the author of Formtastic, created a branch and made a fix. He then asked me for my feedback.

I look at the code and then decided to give it a try. In a pre-Bundler world that would have required this:

  1. Find a directory to play with this.
  2. Clone the Formtastic repository with Git from http://github.com/justinfrench/formtastic.git
  3. Create a local branch tracking the remote branch with the fix, GH-264. This is something I don’t do often enough with Git and every time I have to look it up.
  4. Figure out how to build a gem out of it. Is it rake? is it rake build? is it rake gem? This might also fail and need fixing some stuff.
  5. Install said gem, which is not that trivial. Should I install as my user or as root? Should I remove the currently installed version of the gem? If the branch didn’t have an increase in version number it could be problematic.
  6. Test my application. Make sure it’s picking up the new gem.
  7. Uninstall the gem, maybe re-install the stock gem.
  8. Delete the temporary directories I’ve created to hold the cloned repository (this is something I always forget to do and a month later I’m wondering: what’s this? is there any important changes I’ve did in this repo?).
  9. The tasks are not that big, but are very inconvenient to do and uncomfortable for a perfectionist like me. Thankfully I’m using Bundler, so the above was like this:

  1. Add :git => "http://github.com/justinfrench/formtastic.git", :branch => "GH-264" to the Formtastic line in Gemfile.
  2. Run bundle install.
  3. Test app.
  4. Revert the Gemfile change.
  5. Run bundle install.
  6. I really love Bundler.

Redirecting back

It’s very common in Rails CRUD to have a create and update actions that redirect back to the show action. The idea is that you show an object, click edit, save, go back to showing said objects with your changes.

All is fine until you have an edit link somewhere else. Let’s say you have an edit link in the listing of the CRUD, when someone uses you have to go back to the listing, not the show.

Well, Ruby on Rails provides just the thing for that:

redirect_to :back

That will send you back wherever you came from. The problem with that is that it will raise an exception if there’s no HTTP_REFERER, so you’ll have to write something like this:

  redirect_to :back
rescue ActionController::RedirectBackError
  redirect_to somewhere_else

Of course there’s a pattern, so almost all my projects, at one time or another end up with this snippet of code in the application controller:

def redirect_back_or_to(*args)
  redirect_to :back
rescue ActionController::RedirectBackError
  redirect_to *args

I really like how every method is an implicit begin, it really looks beautiful. Then you just do:

redirect_back_or_to somewhere_else

I’m surprised Rails didn’t come with something like that out of the box, or maybe I just missed.

fofof was useless

It’s always hard to kill your own code, but not killing it when you have to is worst in the long run. My idea for fof and consequently my gem fofof was useless.

First I’ve discovered it didn’t work at all with the new Rails 3 query syntax. When I started to find a fix I’ve discovered I could replace the whole thing with:

 || raise(NotFound.new)

The examples in the Find or 404 post would end up like:

Blog.find_by_id(id) || raise(NotFound.new)


blog = Blog.fof.find(blog_id)
post = blog.posts.find_by_id(id) || raise(NotFound.new)

It’s less code, it’s more robust, I even think it’s much more readable. So there you, I’m killing fofof.

Sharing my code

I’ve recently wrote several posts that contiained code to copy and paste:

I don’t like copying and pasting code and since I was already doing it between several of my projects, I took those pieces of code and package them as gems. If you want, you can use them too:

I find it really awesome how many times some of my gems were downloaded:

Update: fofof is actually useless.