Rails tweaking: test startup times can be very slow due to Fixture loading, especially for HABTM. We monkey-patched the Fixture-loading code that handles HABTM, resulting in a test suite performance increase of 300% for one project! We’ll submit the patch to Rails core and keep you posted.
Ask for Help
“Does anyone know an efficient algorithm for detecting overlapping rectangles made of up latitudes/longitudes… in SQL?”
Or, in other words, detecting if two selections on a map overlap. The latitudes and longitudes are stored in a MySQL database. MySQL has some GIS features that we’ll explore.
We just implemented bookmark_fu on Pivots and the experience was very smooth, taking only a few minutes. We how have an “Iconistan” of social bookmarking chiclets for either remembering or promoting content on Digg, reddit, del.icio.us — almost 20 sites in all.
Install via the normal plugin install process (the -x installs it as an SVN:EXTERNAL):
I did have one issue — the script/plugin install script pulled all the code down but ultimately failed because we have multiple versions of Rails on our development machine (about 5); this seemed to confuse the install script. No problem, though: I ran the install.rb script manually:
I love RSpec, and lately I’ve been making the transition from test-friendly development to full-on spec-driven development… I was working on a project recently which boiled down to “run these tasks in this order,” which is a natural fit for Rake.
Video Lunch: Once in a while, you just want to see something cool. So on days when nothing else is going on, we show interesting videos during lunch, such as TED Talks or Videos from the Googleplex. Today, we’ll watch these:
Rails Bug: composed_of seems to be broken, at least in Rails 1.99. The :mappings parameter states that it can take an array of symbol-pairs, but symbols do not work — only strings work. Example:
Does not work:
:class_name => Name
:mapping => [
[:first_name, :first], # :symbol, :symbol does not work!
[:last_name, :last] # :symbol, :symbol does not work!
Ruby ain’t Java! A recent Java-convert ran into the following: when calling a private instance method, you must not indicate self.private_method, but instead call private_method. Example:
puts private_method #=> works!
puts self.private_method #=> self? uh oh!
'*** You Called? ***'
>> priv = PrivateCaller.new
*** You Called? ***
NoMethodError: private method `private_method' called for #</privatecaller:0x14ec39c><privatecaller:0x14ec39c>
from (irb):4:in `private_caller'
Ask for Help
“Can someone please help me set up my Capistrano 2.0 deploy?”
Sure! He was having an issue with SVN dropping the connection during the initial project setup. Breaking down the command and running each step individually seemed to do the trick.
“Does anyone know a good Chinese delivery option near 3rd and Market?”
Really… any suggestions?
During our Retrospective yesterday, several Pivots, especially our remote employees, mentioned that they missed the Standup blog posts that we used to post. Shall we start to post them again? And if so, does anyone have posting format suggestions? The old posts reflected our current real-life Standup format:
Ask for Help
Unless anyone suggests changes, we’ll keep the same format.
I’m really starting to enjoy the selection of green teas in the office. I especially enjoy the ones with… well.. $#!+ in them. Popped rice, puffed rice, browned rice, black soy beans, and various other clippings and debris. It’s kind of like drinking tea with Rice Krispies in it, but in a good way. And the ingenuiTEA containers are very handy.
The only exception to my new-found enjoyment is a green “tea” named Angel, which must mean the Angel of Death, or perhaps the Angel of Turpentine; it’s easily the most foul and bitter substance I have consumed in a very long time.
I’ve watched it twice now and here are some thoughts, based on quotes and themes from the video.
“I Never Care About Just One File”
Linus stated that one of the reasons Git was wonderful for him is that, as a high level code maintainer, he needs to merge thousands of files at once. In fact, he stated that he never cares about just one file.
Not so for me. As an in-the-trenches developer, my whole life is caring about just one file, over and over again. When I merge, I care about each file because, since I work on small teams and with small codebases, there is a fairly high likelihood that my changes will collide with those from another developer.
“The Repository Must Be Decentralized…. You Must Have a Network of Trust”
Linus made the point that central repositories suck for large projects where the morons must not have commit access — only the super privileged are allowed to commit code back to the repo. He argues that Git is better because it is a decentralized network of repositories — there is no central master, only Some Dudes who have repositories. Usually there is Some Dude In Charge, like Linus, and everyone tends to pull code from them. To update the “master” code version, Some Dude In Charge pulls code from the repositories owned by Some Other Wicked Smart Dudes, who have most likely pulled code from Some Other Trusted Dudes (And One Gal), and so on. Thus, rather than limit access to just the hand-selected few, everyone has their own local copy of the repository, and the smart merge from the smart who merge from the smart, resulting in some kind of official or de facto version.
While I like the local copy of the repo idea, Pivotal does not work the way Linus describes… but Pivotal is weird, in a good way. We all have full commit rights. Our network of trust is everyone. The Dude In Charge is named Continuous Integration. CI makes the official versions. CI runs the tests. CI makes sure that the deploy process works. I’m sure that we could coerce Git into working in a centralized-like way, where it merges automatically from the individual developers and runs the builds, but I’m not sure if that would be forcing a square peg into a penguin-shaped hole.
“Some Companies Use Git And Don’t Even Know It”
Linus described how developers at some companies use Git on their development machines, committing their changes and merging fellow developer’s changes with Git, then pushing those changes to central SVN repos. He rather mocked this, but it actually sounds like a good solution: developers merge, so use the tool that’s good at that. CI machines and deploy machines love centralized master repositories, so use that for those jobs.
“It Does Not Matter How Easy It Is To Branch, Only How Easy It Is to Merge”
Well said. I never thought about that before but he is completely right. I could never put my finger on why I never branch in SVN, even though it’s practically ‘free’ and easy to do. Now it’s obvious: who cares how easy it is to branch when merging sucks? Git is supposed to make merging incredibly easy because Git is content-aware rather than just file-aware… or something like that. I’ll believe it when I see it, but if Git really does make merging highly divergent branches easy then I’ll give it a try.
I’d like to try Git, especially if it makes branching and merging those branches as easy as Linus suggests, but I don’t think that Pivotal would get as much benefit out of it as large, distributed open source projects. A ‘really big’ project might have 10 developers, not thousands, and all must have commit rights. Our network of trust goes like this: if you are here, we trust you; if we don’t trust you, you have to leave. And the idea of having to merge directly from my fellow developers sounds like a pain in the ass… why would I want to merge from 3 separate pairs when I can pull code from the central repo and be reasonably sure (thanks to CI) that it is clean and green? Hopefully I’ll be able to answer those questions soon by using Git on a project.
Check out Google Website Optimizer, which “helps online marketers increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction by continually testing different combinations of site content (text and images).”