Posts tagged as:

Ruby on Rails

With the recent release of the Google Plus beta (ask me for an invite if you want one), I felt it appropriate to show a simple way to create a Like or +1 button for your Rails application. The app and concept is pretty simple, so I won’t worry about posting the code below.

Install:

gem 'make_flaggable', :git => 'git://github.com/cavneb/make_flaggable.git'
bundle install
rails generate make_flaggable
rake db:migrate

Models:

class Article < ActiveRecord::Base
  make_flaggable :like
end

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  make_flagger
end

Links:

https://github.com/medihack/make_flaggable
https://github.com/cavneb/make_flaggable

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One of my clients had Pivotal Labs build them a website. After Pivotal Labs finished the project, they helped them find a developer to maintain it for them. I took over from him.

This last week, I had to dig deeply into the javascript code to make a piece of functionality I was modifying conform to what they had in other places on the site. What happened during the two days I worked on it was that I learned how they had things set up. Here are some of the things I found.

Jelly

Jelly provides you with an extension to the JQuery framework that allows you to trigger callbacks from your Rails controller. It’s exceptionally useful for things you need to occur when your server call is completed.

Namespaced Functions

The Pivotal Labs developers put a lot of things under a namespace named after the project. They further namespaced functions under namespaces corresponding to controllers and widgets, with some functions matching up with action names where widgets and other functionality could be implemented and initialized.

This is really handy in cases where you need specific functionality only is specific cases.

Javascript Loading at the end of the page

Finally, a method in the ApplicationHelper was provided that added all of the requisite javascript files to an array and then called javascript_include_tag on the array to include all of the files. This was done at the bottom of the page to avoid holding up the rest of the page loading while waiting for assets.

This also allowed for functions that required the DOM to be loaded to simply be called instead of using the JQuery $(function(){…}) callback style.

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Specification

  • Clicking a star rating turns on the stars to the left of the star I clicked.
  • Clicking a star submits the star rating.
  • When I refresh the page, the star ratings should be persistent.

We’ll be using Rails’ functions including:

  • form_for
  • hidden_field
  • Rails Helpers

We’ll be using jQuery functions including:

  • click
  • each
  • ajax

<code>
<% form_id = “movie_#{movie.id}_rating” %>
<%= form_for movie.ratings.last || movie.ratings.build, :html => {:id => form_id , :class => “star_rating_form”} do |f| %>
<%= f.hidden_field :movie_id %>
<%= f.hidden_field :stars, :id => form_id + “_stars” %>
<% end %>
<% (1..5).each do |i| %>
<li id=”<%= form_id %>_<%= i %>” data-stars=”<%= i %>” data-form-id=”<%= form_id %>”></li>
<% end %>
</code>

<code>
var set_stars = function(form_id, stars) {
for(i=1; i <= 5; i++){
if(i <= stars){
$(‘#’ + form_id + ‘_’ + i).addClass(“on”);
} else {
$(‘#’ + form_id + ‘_’ + i).removeClass(“on”);
}
}
}

$(function() {
$(‘.rating_star’).click(function() {
var star = $(this);
var form_id = star.attr(“data-form-id”);
var stars = star.attr(“data-stars”);

$(‘#’ + form_id + ‘_stars’).val(stars);

$.ajax({
type: “post”,
url: $(‘#’ + form_id).attr(‘action’),
data: $(‘#’ + form_id).serialize()
})
});

$(‘.star_rating_form’).each(function() {
var form_id = $(this).attr(‘id’);
set_stars(form_id, $(‘#’ + form_id + ‘_stars’).val());
});
});
</code>

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I’ve had two people ask me about freelancing within 1 day of each other. So, I’m going to give some advice. I also talked about finding freelance clients a few weeks ago in this episode.

Talk to other freelancers to see if they know people looking for work. It’s a great way to get advice as well as referrals.

Start talking to people in the community. I found all of my original clients directly or indirectly by talking to people I knew both locally and in the international community.

You should also go find a good accountant and have him advise you on setting money aside for taxes and structuring your business to save you on taxes. My accountant has probably saved me thousands of dollars on just this alone.

Your accountant will probably tell you this, but set up a business entity (usually an LLC or S-Corp) and get an EIN tax ID. It makes it much easier to write off expenses, avoid being dubbed an “employee” of your clients by the IRS, and makes keeping your books simpler since you will have to get a separate bank account.

The IRS looks for freelancers who are, for all intents and purposes, employees of their clients. To avoid this not only do you need your own business entity, but you also should have more than one client and use your own equipment when working for them.

Figure out what you need to charge and charge it. There are cheapskates out there who will be shocked that you want to charge them more than $20-30 per hour. Stick to your guns! Go to the Freelance Switch Hourly Rate Calculator and figure out what you need to charge to get by.

The problem you run into with the cheapskates is that these people are looking at Filipino and Indian developers on oDesk. Several of these developers are decent developers. A lot of them aren’t. Your potential client usually doesn’t know how to weed them out. So, if they insist that they’ll go overseas, let them.

Start a blog. Write about the stuff you’re doing. Someone will want something similar done. I’ve gotten a bunch of business off the Twitter Clone videos Eric did a while back because people are googling “Twitter clone.” I’ve also seen quite a bit of interest from my podcast, even though it’s geared much more toward programmers.

Finally, don’t be afraid to fire clients that don’t fit with your lifestyle or business. And don’t be afraid to raise your rates periodically when you need more time or money to make things work.

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I had several requests in UserVoice to provide a Many to Many tutorial in Rails. This is a demonstration of how to put together a “has and belongs to many” association and a “has many through” association.

This is somewhat basic to Ruby on Rails, but important if you need to associate different models.

Download 161.3 MB
Download iPhone & iPod 97.7 MB

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Ruby on Rails 3.1 is moving to use Sprockets to compile CoffeeScript into JavaScript and include JQuery in it’s JavaScript by default.

This is a quick demo of how it all hangs together to manage your JavaScript in Rails 3.1.

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CoffeeScript is now going to be a default installation with Ruby on Rails. So, I installed CoffeeScript and NodeJS and have been playing with it for the last hour or so.

Here are the basics you need to know to use CoffeeScript including functions, arrays, hashes (objects), control functions (if, else, unless) and loops.

In my opinion it is friendlier than JavaScript and more terse, but I don’t feel like it’s a huge win over JavaScript. That being said, it is something I’m likely to use in the future.

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Single Table Inheritance is a great way to handle related models that descend from the same class. The classic example is a Car class with Ford, Chevy, and Honda subclasses.

This Ruby on Rails Tutorial provides an example and explains how Rails puts all of the information in the same database table and allows you to query things from both the superclass and subclass.

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In this installment in the Delicious Clone, we use CanCan to set some permissions on the Bookmarks Controller.

Next week, we’ll finish the bookmark creation process and the following, we’ll add styling with SASS.

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This is a quick demonstration of how to switch your Rails 3 application to HAML from ERB.

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