The Archives

Sayanee's blog 2005 - 2012. Checkout her latest blog!

Day 2 Taking Stock

17 May 2011 on Learning

I haven’t updated my learnings for a while and that’s coz I got stuck with my Todo App when I was trying to associate Users with each of their Task List and restrict the view for other users. So, I went back to the basics and followed through an awesome Rails Tutorial, which taught me a lot of things and I hope to share them right here!

Rails Resources

I followed through Rails Tutorial (updated author codes are here). This was frankly my 4th attempt to follow through this tutorial. Each time however, I found myself doing it faster with more understanding. Did I understand 100% of the tutorial now? Nope - probably 60%. But did I learn more? Absolutely! Here’s my completed codes and the  app in Heroku to play with!

I would like to list some of the other resources that I will be following through to keep up my learning:

  1. Agile Web Development
  2. The Rails 3 Way
  3. Rails Cast
  4. Teach me to Code

A playful discipline

To start off, here’s my Gemfile that I used:

source ''

gem 'rails', '3.0.7'
gem 'sqlite3-ruby', '1.3.2', :require => 'sqlite3'
gem 'gravatar\_image\_tag'
gem 'will\_paginate', '3.0.pre2'

group :development do
gem 'rspec-rails', '2.6.0'
gem 'annotate-models', '1.0.4'
gem 'faker', '0.3.1'

group :test do
gem 'rspec-rails', '2.6.0'
gem 'webrat', '0.7.1'
gem 'spork', '0.9.0.rc5'
gem 'factory\_girl\_rails', '1.0'
gem 'faker', '0.3.1'

I realised that it’s not just about coding, but it employs 3 main peripherals that are highly integrated as well:

  1. Versioning of codes using GIT
  2. Storing the codes in a remote git repository: For open source codes, I use the free account for GitHub. For closed source, there are  other free options as well
  3. Testing with test cases - I have been using RSpec with Spork and Autotest. I heard a lot about Cucumber as well!
  4. Deployment to an external server: I use Heroku, but there are also others like Rails Playground

Coding in Chunks!

At the start of any brand new app, the following commands in the Terminal:

$ rails new todo-app #Save the entire folder called todo-app as a TextMate project
$ cd todo-app
$ git mv README README.markdown #Edit readme file and rename to use markdown syntax
$ bundle install #To install gems needed
$ rake db:create
$ rails generate rspec:install #will install the spec folder for testing - delete the test folder
$ rails server #View app in browser via http://localhost:3000
$ tail -f log/development.log #See SQL Injections
$ spork #Start the test server
$ autotest #With Growl notifications, it'll automatically display the test results

$ git init #initialise git
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Initial Commit"

$ git remote add origin [email protected]:username/app-name.git #Url from my new GitHub Repository
$ git push -u origin master # pushes the "master" branch to "origin" remote and sets up tracking

$ heroku create app-name
$ git push heroku master
$ heroku rake db:migrate
$ heroku db:push
$ heroku open # To view the app in the heroku domain in the browser:

# Play with the app in Heroku just to make sure it's working!

At the start of each coding section/feature subsequently, here’s my list of things I run through the command line in Terminal after I navigate to the app folder and open my TextMate project:

$ rails server
$ tail -f log/development.log
$ spork
$ autotest

$ git checkout -b branch-name-with-feature

At the end of each coding, here’s my list of “tasks”:

$ rspec spec/ #Ensure all tests are passing
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Changes Made"
$ git checkout master
$ git merge branch-name
$ rspec spec/ #Just to ensure again all tests are passing after the merge

$ git push #codes to github

$ git push heroku #deploy to heroku
$ heroku rake db:migrate #update db
$ heroku db:push #migrate db data to heroku

Getting Stuck and Debugging

So, what do you do when you get stuck and REDS appear in the testing?

  1. Run the test and locate the failures
  2. Google the error codes - in 80% of the time I will find another person who has gotten the same error!
  3. Stack Overflow
  4. Github sharing (Many Rails Gems are also listed here)
  5. Search for a tutorial related to the failure/feature matter
  6. Yes, take a break for a day and come back to it again! Repeat Steps (1) to (5)
  7. Bug a friend – didn’t have to resort to this as yet!


There’ll be false sense of “doing” when just going through the tutorials - so, get to building something along in the side! Can’t say it well-enough than Feynman and have fun :) Will blog soon! Did I miss any of the fundamentals to starting a Rails app?

**Next Objective: **

Pick up Agile Web Development (Rails 3) and get back to Todo App - each user can create his own task list.

“What I cannot create, I do not understand.” — Richard P. Feynman