Articles by Ariel Juodziukynas

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Speeding Up Assets Precompilation

There has been a lot of conversations on social media about the “NoBuild” approach: using native browser features and plain CSS+JavaScript to avoid a precompilation step for our assets.

In many cases, it’s not easy to move to a “NoBuild” setup (and in some cases it’s not even possible depending on the application’s needs), and we can still aim to make the assets:precompile task as fast as possible if we can’t eliminate it.

In this article we’ll explore some areas for optimization using one of our applications.

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Dual-Boot Ruby

As we mentioned many times, at we like to use the Dual-Boot technique during upgrades to quickly test the same code with the current and the next version of what we are upgrading. We usually talk about dual-booting Rails versions but this can be used to upgrade Ruby itself too. We have to make some changes to adapt the technique, and we’ll explain the basic changes in this article.

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RubyConf 2023 – A Ruby Renaissance

Late last year our team members headed to beautiful San Diego to join the incredible Ruby community at RubyConf 2023. Attending the conference is always a highlight, and we were excited to participate as a sponsor and engage with attendees, learn and share expertise, and have some fun.

The Ruby community is special. It has an incredibly inclusive and supportive culture that feels different than other languages. It was great to take some time to come together and enjoy the community’s hard work, network, and plan for the future.

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Exploring Ruby's Global Constants and Variables

By default, Ruby defines many constants and global variables that can be used in the code to get information about the current state of the application and the runtime. In this article we’ll go over most of them to understand what they are and what information we can set and get to simplify our scripts or to debug problems.

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Finishing an Upgrade

When working on upgrades, we use the Dual-Boot technique so we can gradually update the app to work with the current version and the next one.

Eventually, the upgrade is done and the app is ready to drop the old version, but how do we handle that process? What are the steps between one upgrade and the next?

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Exploring Ruby Warnings

We are used to checking the deprecation warnings displayed by Rails or warnings from different gems, but Ruby itself can also display warnings to help us find code that can be problematic.

In this article we will explore how to use them, how to analyze them, and some examples of interesting warnings that can be really helpful during upgrades.

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Safeguarding from Deprecation Regressions During an Upgrade

You are upgrading a Rails application. You finished fixing a deprecation warning and it’s not present anymore. You continue working on other tasks and one day you find out the deprecation is back in the codebase. New code was added using the deprecated behavior, but it was not detected and now it needs to be fixed again…

How can you prevent that from happening and, at the same time, let the team know?

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The History of the Asset Pipeline

Over the years, Rails has been changing the default way to handle assets while also adding different alternative options at the same time.

At first there were static files, then Sprockets appeared, then we had a choice between Webpacker and Sprockets for a few years, now Webpacker is gone and importmaps are the default. But jsbundling-rails and cssbundling-rails are also official options.

Sound confusing? In this article we’ll try to explain the history of all these changes.

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Optimizing Images - Part 3

When we allow users to upload images, they usually upload files without any optimization for the web. It’s up to us to add some measure to prevent those images from slowing down our app. Luckily, the different gems commonly used to handle user uploads also give us solutions for this problem.

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Optimizing Images - Part 1

Imagine this scenario: you open a website on your phone, you see an image loading really really slowly, you wonder what’s going on and download the image to see more details… turns out the image is 3000x3000px with a size of 1.5Mb!

So, let’s talk about different ways to optimize images, common problems, and ways to find these issues early.

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Dual Booting with Engines and Gems

Gems are a central part in a Rails application, they help us add new functionality to our apps so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but also allows us to extract code to better organize the codebase and to share logic between multiple apps. In many cases, we have custom made gems, and we need to ensure they will work properly with the two Rails versions we run when we use the Dual Boot technique during upgrades. But… How do you dual boot the gems?

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Naming Things is Hard

In the developers’ world, there is a well known quote by Phil Karlton that goes There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things. We usually think about that phrase in the sense that it’s hard to come up with a clear, descriptive, and concise name for the code we write (variables, methods/functions, modules/classes, etc), but sometimes, the perfect name we found can be a problem too.

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On How We Use RuboCop and StandardRB

We all have been there, we work on a project and, over time, we write similar code in different ways (either by two different developers or by the same developer). We have two blocks of code that follow the same logic but look different; and we have to make an extra effort to understand them only because the code is written in a different way.

Defining a code style will prevent this, but we need a way to enforce it. In this article, we’ll show what’s our setup to use StandardRB (and RuboCop) to improve the quality of the code by keeping a consistent style to help the developers.

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JavaScript Test Code Coverage in Rails

In modern apps, it’s common to enhance the user experience with JavaScript. Whether it’s just some JavaScript sprinkles here and there or a full JS-based frontend, this is as important as your Ruby code when it comes to the app’s correct functionality. In this article we’ll show how to measure the test code coverage for the JavaScript code when running system/integration tests along with the Ruby code coverage.

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How to Migrate your JavaScript from Sprockets to Webpacker

Back in 2011, Rails 3.1 introduced The Assets Pipeline feature using the Sprockets gem. This made it really easy to handle assets (images, fonts, JavaScript, CSS and more), solving many of the issues that developers had to face everyday.

In 2012, Webpack was released solving the same issues in a different way and in time became the most used solution to handle assets. And since Rails 6, Webpack became the default solution to handle JavaScript assets using the Webpacker gem on new Rails applications.

In this article I’ll explain the steps we took to migrate to Webpack to handle our JavaScript assets, and how we added support as a node module in our styleguide.

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How to Migrate from Capybara Webkit to Webdrivers

We all know testing is important. We have our unit tests and integration tests to make sure everything is working as expected. At OmbuLabs, we use Capybara for our integration tests so that we can interact with the app as a real user would.

This is the process we used to replace the capybara-webkit gem in a legacy project with a more modern approach that uses the webdrivers gem and a headless browser.

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