Read my latest article: 8 things I look for in a Ruby on Rails app (posted Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:59:00 GMT)

Jim Weirich -- Farewell, Friend.

Posted by Fri, 21 Feb 2014 05:30:00 GMT

It’s been an odd day. The sort of day where you really don’t know what to say. The only thing you can manage to get out is, “Sigh. I’m going to miss him.”

Jim Weirich was building interesting stuff with Ruby several years before I was introduced to it. Tools that most of us have taken for granted. Tools that were just there.

Before Jim came along… they didn’t exist.

Back in the early Ruby on Rails explosion era (circa 2004-2006), it was much easier to get to know the great Rubyists. I remember finally getting a chance to meet Jim (and _why) at FOSCON here in Portland, which still goes down as one of the best “conferences” I have ever attended.

(I think we all knew something special was happening.)

Jim spoke at a ton of conferences. At any conference that I seemed to get invited to speak at… Jim seemed to always be on the speaker list too. We’d end up meeting up on the conference circuit a several times over the coming years. It was always a delight to catchup.

Photo by Obie from Rails Underground 2009

I believe the last one was in 2009 at Rails Underground in London. I remember walking in one of the rooms and spotting Jim. There he was… waiting patiently for his time slot… sitting by the wall in another horribly uncomfortable conference chair… hacking away on his laptop as if he was on a mission to save the human race. In reality, he was probably toying around with some new idea.

As I walked towards him… my red hair must have caught the corner of his eyes… because he looked up and with the warmest of smiles and kindest of voices said, “Robby!”

It’s people like Jim that helped me feel like I had something valuable to contribute to the community. The mere fact that he knew who I was, that he commented on my silly blog posts, referred potential customers to me, showed up for and complimented me on my talks, asked ME for advice on IRC, wished me a happy birthday on Facebook, responded to my lazy tweets… made me feel like I was welcome to (and part of) the party.

A party that started a number of years before I showed up.

Let us raise our glasses high and thank our host for the pleasure of being amidst his most generous company.

Thank you, Jim, for helping me learn more about myself. I only wish I had gotten to know you more.

Adieu l’ami.

The Zen of Auto Rspec

Posted by Wed, 10 Jan 2007 17:08:00 GMT

Several months ago, I heard that people were using a program called autotest to have their tests continue to run as you made changes to your code base, which comes with ZenTest. It’s a really nice tool written by Ryan Davis and I hadn’t gotten a chance to play with it as of yet. Well, our team isn’t spending too much time in the test/ directory these days as we jumped ship near the end of last summer and found ourselves hanging out on the Isle of BDD. The locals are quite thoughtful about these sorts of things.

I just started working on a project that has been under development for several months and as I’m getting to learn the ins/outs of the system, I find myself having to rerun the specs, which can take quite a bit of time watching. Watching your specs or tests run sometimes is as productive as watching your code compile. Oddly enough, this is as close to compilation as we really get when working with Ruby on Rails… and it’s a productivity killer for me.

There Must Be a Better Way!

So, I did a quick google search and found an announcement for Rails that ran specs through ZenTest. This was exactly what I was searching for!

Some requirements

Please makes sure that you have the following gems installed in your development environment as they are dependencies to make this all work.

  • zentest
  • diff-lcs

$ sudo gem install zentest diff-lcs 

note I’m going to assume that you have rspec and rspec for rails installed… if not… tsk. ;-)

Install RSpec autotest

$ script/plugin install

If you’re using subversion, you might consider installing it as an external.

$ script/plugin install -x

Running RSpec autotest

This is where it gets tricky. ;-)

$ rake spec:autotest

Now, you can keep a terminal window open and autotest will watch your application and detect when files change. When they change, it’ll attempt to rerun your specs (specifically those that changed). This helps save you the time of having to rerun all your specs throughout the development process and keep your spec:all sanity checks for when you’re about to commit code to your repository.

I’ll post another entry in the next few days to show you how you can use Growl with RSpec Autotest to keep you from having to look at your terminal all the time.

Until then… have fun!

The PLANET ARGON dot ORG project and asset compiling gone wild

Posted by Fri, 26 May 2006 14:17:00 GMT

InfoQ recently unlaunched their new site that is dedicated to “tracking change and innovation in the enterprise software development community.” One of the first articles published on the site was written by Jeremy Voorhis, Lead Architect at PLANET ARGON. Jeremys’ article, Agile Asset Management with Ruby DSLs outlines an approach we took on a client project earlier this year for managing tons of assets for a Rails application. Our development team extracted this work and built asset_compiler, which is now available as a gem on RubyForge and we’ve recently setup a trac so you can post bugs, patches, and all things similar. We’ll be announcing a few more open source plugins, gems, and projects in the near future as well. I know that many of you are wondering when and where acts_as_legacy will show up… keep your eye on the trac. ;-)

To install asset_compiler, run:

gem install asset_compiler

Read the asset compiler documentation.

The PLANET ARGON dot org project