If you’ve used validates in a Rails Active Record model, you know they work great – at least until the first bit of complexity arises. At that point, they can quickly morph in to a ball of conditional spaghetti convoluting the initial reason the validation was added in the first place.

I recently had an experience using has_secure_password where I wanted control the length of the user-supplied password. Adding a length validation to the password accessor invalidated existing records, so I was in a bit of a bind. In the end, I sub-classed the Active Record model to create a unique model made specifically for that context. This allowed me to inherit the core functionality from the model and sprinkle on existing validations for specific use cases. This was a new tactic for me and I’m still now sure how I feel about it. I like the fact that it removed complexity from the User model. This, in hopes, will keep the minimize the likelihood of it becoming a God object.

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Last month marks the 6 month anniversary of the release of Build a Ruby Gem. Thinking back to this time last year, I would’ve never guessed that I would launch a product to the tune of $16k+ sales in 6 months. Thanks to the help of expert teachers, I was able to quickly get over my fear of marketing and put my technical knowledge to good use.

The weeks leading up to the launch seem like a blur now. At the time, I had a perfectly crafted schedule of marketing material and approaches that, as far as I can tell, were the difference between no sales and quite a few.

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It’s been awhile since my last post — almost 2 months to be specific. A trip to Portugal, getting sick and a minor run-in with a table saw made it challenging to post anything for the last couple weeks. But I’d be lying if I said I was itching to write.

During that time, I didn’t have anything screaming to be talked about. I have a long list of “decent post” topics, but none of them got me particularly excited. Until today…

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I previously wrote about how I handle environment configuration in Rails. Along with solutions like the dotenv gem, it relies on entirely on environment variables.

One of the highlighted features of Rails 4.1 was the config/secrets.yml file. By default, this file contains the secret_key_base and defers to the ENV variable of the same name in the production environment. Even though secret_key_base isn’t typically referenced explicitly in an application, I was curious if I could use the config/secrets.yml file in place of previously documented configuration solution.

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I’ve been fortunate to spend the last month as the sole developer of greenfield Rails 4.1 app. As someone who’s spent quite a bit of time maintaining existing code, the freedom to establish patterns and choose tools is a highly welcomed change. One of the choices I made was to use Minitest and Rails fixtures.

The short is…it’s been great! So great that I’m having trouble imagining myself using anything else going forward.

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I’ve recently had the good fortune of working on a greenfield Rails app. The app is heavily dependent on times and recurring events (weekly). Naturally, I dragged in the timecop gem to handle freezing time, so my I could properly assert that certain events took place in the tests.

With the release of Rails 4.1, the time stubbing method travel_to was added. This new helper method forces the current time to whatever you specify, allowing you to make asserts against a historical time, or week in my case.

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I recently wrote a book about integrating with Rails from a Ruby gem, which specifically touched on using a Railtie to extend ActiveRecord, ActionController and ActionView . While these are the 3 more popular Rails libraries, there’s plenty others that are configurable.

A recent issue in Sucker Punch caused me to go digging through the Rails source code. Ultimately, the to_prepare method on ActionDispatch::Reloader resolved the issue, but I surprised was to find very little documentation about it.

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