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Friday, November 30, 2012

Have you tried ctags with Vim?

After reading Mislav Marohnić's excellent post on Vim, I decided to add ctags to my development environment. What does it buy you? It allows you to jump to method or class definitions with these commands:

Setup is pretty easy:

You can generate tags with:

But you probably won't want to do all that manually. As Mislav points out in his post, Tim Pope shows us how to automate tag generation with git hooks.

I've been using ctags this afternoon and already it has turned Vim into a completely different editor for me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Using Google Site Search for Content Sites: Things to Keep in Mind

I've used Google Site Search for a couple of unstructured content sites (opposed to applications or structured content such as catalogs) and pretty happy with it, but there a certainly some things you should be aware of before committing to this service:

  • The service's crawler works the same on This means, it will only index publicly available pages that it can access. So you cannot use it on password-protected staging sites.
  • If you consider removing the password from the staging site you won't want to do that either, as your site must be registered with Google Webmaster tools, so your staging site will eventually end up in the index. But there's also another issue.
  • Indexes to URL's contain the domain of your site, so you can't index your staging site, then hope to use that index in your live site.

If you're re-launching an existing site -- your only option is to enable search after you have made that site publicly available via the production domain. If it's a new site, and you have the option, make the site publicly available a couple of days before hand and index the site. Google Site Search provides on-demand indexing, updating the index within 24 hours.

When indexing the site, you have three options for supplying URL's:

  • Individual URL's only
  • URL's linked from a specific page or Sitemap
  • URL's in a Sitemap only

Again, you must have your site registered with Google Webmaster Tools for the indexing to work.

For more information on indexing checkout Custom Search Help documentation.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Domain Patterns are Alexandrian Patterns

It's been a while since I have posted on this blog. So just to let you know that I'm still alive, this is what has been keeping me occupied. It's best summed up by a quote from the book Object Thinking by David West. This is a must read for any Rails developer who is following the object-oriented Rails culture.

Patterns most useful to object thinkers should be derived from the problem domain, just as objects are. They should facilitate thinking about co-ordination and scripting of objects or about useful ways of assembling objects into components or applications. They could be considered Alexandrian patterns. Few of the patterns (about 6 of the 23) presented in the GoF book satisfy this demand. Martin Fowler’s book on Analysis Patterns presents examples derived from a domain and is much closer to Alexander’s intent than the GoF book.

My intent is to post more on Domain Patterns in a Rails context in the near future. We'll see.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Testing Terminology: Spies, Stubs and Mocks

When referring to the definitions of Spies, Stubs and Mocks I like to return to XUnit Test Patterns:

  • Test Spy: "We use a Test Double to capture the indirect output calls made to another component by the SUT for later verification by the test."
  • Test Stub: "We replace a real object with a test-specific object that feeds the desired indirect inputs into the SUT."
  • Mock Object: "We replace an object the SUT depends on with a test-specific object that verifies it is being used correctly by the SUT."

You may have noticed that a Spy and Mock seem to have similar definitions, and do serve similar purposes, however Mocks specify expectations up-front and don't require assertions in contrast to Spies, that verify after the fact. Here's an example that compares Rspec Mocks with Bourne's Spies:

SUT is an abbreviation for System Under Test.

The above patterns are collectively know as Test Doubles: "We replace a component on which the SUT depends with a test-specific equivalent." Rspec's built-in mocking library includes a double method/alias, see An Example using RSpec double, mock, and stub.

Double-Ruby (RR) is another example of a test double framework implemented in Ruby.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heads up: Use spork-rails if you want to use spork 1.0rc in your Rails project

If you are using Spork 1.0rc in your Rails project and wondering why your controllers etc are not reloading, it's because this functionality has been extracted to the spork-rails plugin gem. Remove the spork reference from your Gem file and add 'spork-rails' instead. spork-rails will include spork 1.0rc as a dependency. This follows the convention for other gems such as rspec-rails and factory_girl_rails. Note spork-rails follows the versioning of minor Rails versions. For example, the current version is 3.2.0, compatible with Rails 3.2.x down to 3.0.0.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Some rules to remember when writing Ember.js code

  • Display logic only goes in the view layer
  • Never modify the DOM in View API
  • App logic only goes in the controller layer
  • Limit custom code in the controller
  • Domain logic only goes in the model layer
  • Server calls belong to the model layer
  • Only cross layers going up (V -> C -> M)
  • Never observe across layers

From Sproutcore Training: Part 2 - Core Concepts

Developing Ruby on Rails applications and custom Content Management Systems in Montréal. Contact Firsthand.