Small, Sharp, Software Tools: Harness the Combinatoric Power of Command-Line Tools and Utilities, in beta, November PragPub Magazine

Programming Kotlin: Create Elegant, Expressive, and Performant JVM and Android Applications, in beta

Forge Your Future with Open Source: Build Your Skills. Build Your Network. Build the Future of Technology, in print

Exploring the Default Postgres Template Databases

I was recently poking around the psql terminal, and noticed something that I had never had to deal with before: the Postgres template databases. I decided to seize the moment and launched myself into an exploration of what the template databases are meant to do, and why the heck there are two of them.

My first plan of attack was to just list them and see if I could find a difference right away, but everything looked exactly the same.

postgres=# \l
                                   List of databases
   Name   |   Owner  | Encoding |   Collate   |    Ctype    |   Access privileges
postgres  | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 |
template0 | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF-8 | en_US.UTF-8 | =c/postgres + postgres=CTc/postgres
template1 | postgres | UTF8     | en_US.UTF
Continue reading "Exploring the Default Postgres Template Databases"

Where Am I: URL Assertions with Cypress

The URL that appears in the browser's URL bar is one of the first and
primary ways that users interact with our web apps. The URL tells the app
and the user of their location within the route hierarchy of the app. It
sometimes even contains state. The URL consequently serves as an excellent
first assertion when writing integration tests.

When writing Cypress integration tests, there are
several ways for us to assert about the current URL.

The cy.url() and
functions are the primary ways for us to gain access to information about
the current state of the URL. From there, we can perform a variety of

We can assert about the entire URL:

// URL: http://localhost:8000/pokemon
cy.url().should('eq', 'http://localhost:8000/pokemon');
// ✅ passes

This is certain the most precise assertion. The tradeoff is that it requires
us to know something

Continue reading “Where Am I: URL Assertions with Cypress”

The Ray Tracer Challenge: A Test-Driven Guide to Your First 3D Renderer, in beta

Wrap Parameters Without Changing Markup

While updating logic that caused a POST with a JSON body to change into a POST as multipart/form-data, I ran into an issue where the Rails controller was expected params in a nested way. Sure, I could change my inputs to have a different name that would cause the nested structure, but that was changing logic down the line.

Rails was wrapping the incoming parameters automatically since the prior request was of 'Content-Type': 'application/json'. Well, I'd really like this same behavior on my new request as it would solve my current conundrum.

Turns out ActionController has a method that can help out with that… the aptly named wrap_parameters method.

In my case, the name I needed was the same as the controller so I could use this:

class FooController < ApplicationController
  wrap_parameters format: %i[mutlipart_form json]

This produces a params payload like so:

ActionController::Parameters {
Continue reading "Wrap Parameters Without Changing Markup"

Genetic Algorithms and Machine Learning; also August PragPub

Query for NULL ‘or’ empty string in ActiveRecord

Sometimes you come across a query that looks for an attribute that is NULL 'OR' an empty string. Sure there are options we could employ that may remove the necessity of checking for both but let's see how we can improve our code a bit first!

The majority of the time I see this as a SQL fragment in ActiveRecord:

Foo.where("name is null or name = ''")

Which produces the following SQL:

SELECT * FROM "foos" WHERE (name is null or name = '')

Sure you can say now that ActiveRecord has or it could be done like so:

Foo.where(name: nil).or(name: '')

However, I'm currently in a project that doesn't support or yet so I went playing to see what I could come up with that wouldn't be a SQL fragment. My first thought was to

Continue reading “Query for NULL ‘or’ empty string in ActiveRecord”

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Modern Vim: Craft Your Development Environment with Vim 8 and Neovim, in print; May PragPub Magazine now available