Sandi Metz’s Practial Object Oriented Design comes to London!

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be joining Sandi Metz to teach two [courses on Object-Oriented design]( this summer in London.

How much do you refactor?

Refactoring is probably the main benefit of doing TDD. Without refactoring, your codebase degrades, accumulates technical debt, and eventually has to be thrown away and rewritten. But how much refactoring is enough? How do you know when to stop and get back to adding new features? (image credit: Nat Pryce) I get asked this question […]

Fixing my testing workflow

Okay I’m bored of this. I need to talk about it. I love to use Ruby, RSpec, Cucumber and Rails to do test-driven development, but my tools for running tests are just infuriatingly dumb. Here’s what I want: When a test fails, it should be kept on a list until it has been seen to […]

Targeting Multiple Platforms (JRuby etc) with a RubyGems .gemspec

Recently we had a user who runs the relish gem on JRuby, and needed jruby-openssl to be loaded. He kindly submitted this patch, which I merged in without really thinking about it too much. Then the problems started. That’s not the right way to express dependencies for different platforms using RubyGems and Bundler. I’ve done […]

A Puzzle for Polite Ruby Programmers

I really enjoyed Jim Weirich’s session on polite programming at the Scottish Ruby Conference. He covered a problem that’s been vexing me for some time, about avoiding the use of method aliasing, by using inheritance instead. Unfortunately, his suggested solution didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already tried. I still think this must be possible, […]

Two Truths I’ve Learned About Writing Clean Rails Apps

In summary: Implement every feature without javascript first, add javascript as a progressive enhancement Stick to REST. Always. Now I’m as suspicious of absolute rules as you probably are, but these two have served me extremely well in keeping my Rails code clean and easy to maintain. I’m happy to push the boat out and […]

Installing Ruby Gems with Native Extensions on Windows

If you’re stuck trying to run Ruby on Windows, one barrier you might have encountered is in trying to install a gem like ruby-debug or rdiscount. You’ll have seen an error like this: %gem install ruby-debug Building native extensions. This could take a while… ERROR: Error installing ruby-debug: ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension. […]

MegaMutex: A Distributed Mutex for Ruby

Sometimes I need to do this: unless enough_widgets? make_more_widgets end Which is all well and good, until I start letting two or more of these codes run in parallel. If you’ve never thought about this before, what can happen is something nasty called a race condition, where two or more processes (or threads) simultaneously check […]

Rails Tip: Use Polymorphism to Extend your Controllers at Runtime

Metaprogramming in Ruby comes in for quite a bit of stick at times, the accusation being that code which modifies itself at runtime can be hard to understand. As Martin Fowler recently described, there’s a sweet spot where you use just enough to get some of the incredible benefits that Ruby offers, without leaving behind […]

Goodbye CruiseControl.rb, Hello Hudson

Imagine you have a friend who writes a blog. Maybe you actually do. Let’s call him ‘Chump’. One day you’re chatting, and the conversation turns to technology. It turns out that Chump is using Dreamweaver to write his blog entries, and manually uploading them to his site via FTP. You’re appalled. How do you update […]