My favourite HTTP client

It’s 2019. I’m writing code that needs to communicate with other APIs all the time. The code I post below reflects a snapshot of my current template API client. If I need to commuicate with a third-party in Ruby, I’m using this class. require "ostruct" class MyApiClient class Error < StandardError; end def initialize(configuration=nil, stubs=nil) @configuration = configuration || Rails.application.config_for(:my_api)...

See full Rails application logs on Heroku

I recently had an issue on an application that was deployed to Heroku. I could see from the frontend that I was getting a 500 status code in response to my request, but when I took a look at the Heroku logs (using heroku logs), I saw a single line containing my request, but no other details: 2019-10-15T02:47:56.555551+00:00 heroku[router]: at=info...

Fancy Postgres indexes with ActiveRecord

Another day, another undocumented Rails feature! This time, it’s that ActiveRecord::Base.connection.add_index supports an undocumented option to pass a string argument as the value for ‘column’. This string is passed directly to the SQL statement, making it possible to use all sorts of fun things to lock down the constraint. It also means that you can make an index more declaratively...

Crossing technical and personal boundaries: New project nerves

A really interesting thought from Chris Toomey from Thoughtbot’s ‘The Bikeshed’ podcast, that really elegantly clarifies my own thinking on imposter syndrome, feelings of inadequacy, and the strive to deliver value to a broad range of contexts. The work we do is purposefully somewhat challenging. We’re coming into organistions to try and help them, most often at sort of an...

Ubuntu laptop backup strategy

I recently upgraded my laptop from a 2013 Macbook Pro to a Lenovo Thinkpad T480. It’s great. I switched around my Ctrl key to the Windows key (where the Command key would be on a Mac keyboard), and everything has pretty much been perfect. One thing that I did need to rethink was my backup strategy, which, on my Macbook...

Upgrading Rails apps with rake app:update

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Rails update. After this long working with the framework, I’ve learned that it’s much, much easier to keep things up to date with tools like bundle-audit so that things never get so bad that I’ve got a whole major version (or more!) to upgrade. Having said that, support legacy applications is just something...

Broadcast receiver pattern

I have recently had the chance to get stuck back into some native Android development. One of the things I really enjoy about working with the Android framework is that I get the chance to explore new patterns, and patterns that I have used before for Ruby, but not yet in Java. One of these new patterns is the idea...

Speeding up TimeMachine backups

TimeMachine is an incredibly smooth backup solution for Mac OS, but it can be a little slow, especially for initial backups or incremental backups that have a large amount of changes (such as a VM image being added to your filesystem or the typical I/O killer, many small files). I recently performed a TimeMachine backup to a brand new 1TB...

CURLing to a UNIX socket

In deployed environments, I often come across two Ruby application servers - Unicorn, and Puma. These servers are usually configured to listen on a UNIX socket file, usually located in the tmp/sockets directory of a Capistrano install, e.g. /home/deploy/appname/shared/tmp/sockets/appname.sock. It’s quite often useful to be able to connect to a UNIX socket to see if the application server is behaving...

tmux system clipboard copy & paste on Mac OS

I have recently begun using tmux as part of my everyday development process. It’s going great, but as somebody who uses a mixture of Mac OS applications like VS Code as well as terminal applications like git, vim, tail, cat, etc., the lack of system clipboard integration has really been hurting. I went out and did some research into how...

I'm Josh McArthur, a web developer specializing in Ruby on Rails and Phoenix. I contribute code on GitHub and write blog posts about technology and hiking here.