Zero downtime migration from Enum to Single Table Inheritance

posted in today-i-learned


I’ve been refactoring quite a bit of legacy code recently. I love this kind of work because you get to setup new patterns and code pathways for future developers to use. Right past mistakes and make the future of the application just a bit brighter. My most recent refactoring involved converting an Enum based architecture to utilize Rail’s Single Table Inheritance setup. So what does it take to move from one architecture to another? Keep reading to find out strategies that I use to help keep bugs to a minimum while ensuring that end-users experience zero downtime.

How to call Pry from within a SimpleDelegator Decorator

posted in fixes


I’m by nature a kinesthetic learning or someone that learns by doing. One of the ways I learn new Ruby codebases or techniques is to dive into them and see how they work during every step of their processing. Pry is a great tool for allowing me to dig directly into code. While, really useful for debugging and understanding, one thing that has bothered me about using Pry is that it doesn’t work properly with classes that inherit from SimpleDelegator. Instead it ends up in a method_missing block. Luckily, I recently learned a great workaround for this issue which we’ll get into below.

Using attr_accesor for Class level methods

posted in Tutorials


The beginning steps to writing a new class usually involve writing a quick def initialize method. The purpose of these type of methods is to setup any dependencies or configurations necessary for the object to fulfill its responsibility. With instance variables, a common paradigm is to use an attr_reader or attr_writer to read/write values. However, these methods specifically work off of instance variables.

Enable ESLint for SublimeLinter while using asdf for version management

posted in Fixes


SublimeLinter is an excellent tool for linting new code quickly and efficiently. Version managers like rvm, nvm, and asdf are also great tools for smoothly switching between projects with different version requirements. Getting both SublimeLinter and version manager to play nice can sometimes be challenging. I’m going to quickly talk about the simple steps I took to getting ESLint and asdf to work with SublimeLinter below.

Ensure dropping a database table is reversible

posted in today-i-learned


When dropping a database table in a migration all data contained within the dropped table will be lost as well. This is to be expected since the table schema no longer exists. However, it is possible to make such a migration reversible so that at least the database structure is preserved.

Deploying a jekyll blog to github pages with custom plugins and TravisCI

posted in tutorials


Deploying a new blog with Github Pages is a breeze. All you need is a new repo named after your Github username and a jekyll site on your master branch.

Github also kindly provides several whitelisted plugins for ease-of-use which can be found here. Unfortunately, some of these are a bit outdated (I’m looking at you jekyll-paginate). More bad news is that because the plugins are whitelisted you can’t use any other plugins.

We’re developers though, like a whitelist will stop us…

Resetting your Elasticsearch indices on heroku staging when you've reached the maximum index count for the current plan

posted in fixes


If you’ve ever used Heroku’s low cost staging plan for Bonsai Elasticsearch you may have ran into the following error: reached maximum index count for current plan.

Since in most cases your staging indices aren’t as critical as say production (don’t use the fix below in production, please!), you can safely follow the procedure below for removing and reindexing your search enabled models.

Find your Elasticsearch URL

First you’ll need to find your Elasticsearch url. If you are using the Bonsai addon from Heroku you can do so in your terminal with:

# Where BONSAI_IVORY_URL is an environment variable set on heroku that
# points at your Elasticsearch url
# Note: Your specific plan might be different than IVORY
heroku config:get BONSAI_IVORY_URL -a your-staging-application

If you don’t know what your environment variable is for BONSAI then you’ll need to go into Heroku’s web UI and look at the config variables for it. It should be in the format of BONSAI_PLANNAME_URL.

Delete all available indices

The next step is to remove all the available Elasticsearch indices.


We offer a low cost staging plan for development and testing - Heroku

You can read more on this in Elasticsearch’s documentation. This can be accomplished via cURL, which you’ll also need installed, from the following:

# _all - refers to all available indices
# * - also works like _all
curl -XDELETE 'https://[bonsai_url_goes_here]/_all'

Reindex all search enabled models

Lastly, we need to reindex all of your available models. If you are using Searchkick you can accomplish this by running the following command. This will run through all of your searchkick models 1-by-1 and reindex them. Otherwise, you’ll need to reindex your content based on whatever method you have configured.

# All models with searchkick enabled
Searchkick.models.each do |model|

That’s it! You now have removed all the current indices and reindexed with new ones. Start searching!

Lessons learned from using Capybara for feature testing

posted in articles


Having confidence in your application helps with the aid of great interation tests. For Rails, that means utilizing the Capybara gem for testing features from end-to-end.

While Capybara is a great gem for accomplishing this goal, it can be at time difficult, frustrating, and nuanced in its implementation. I’ve been keeping track of all the tricks I use reguarly and compiled a list of the best ones. Hopefully, this helps give some clarity to a few best practices I use on a daily basis.

Saving Script Output From Heroku to a Local File

posted in today-i-learned


Have you ever needed to gather a large amount of data from your production server but didn't have the script available on the server? You could remote into the server and write the script in rails console but what if the volume of data was in the hundreds of thousands? And you needed it in CSV format? Well, recently I recently discovered a great little command for gathering remote data and saving it to a local file.

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