Noel Rappin Writes Here


May 26, 2010: Answer The Question Please

Podcasts, Rails, coderpathNoel RappinComment

Top Story

Got interviewed yesterday by Miles Forrest and Curtis McHale of the coderpath podcast. Presumably it'll be out and public in the next couple of weeks. You'll be the first person I tell.

Couple things

  • It's been a while since I did anything like this, and I always forget how much it's a genuine skill to be able to give a clear answer without doing a lot of ums and ahs.

  • First rule of public speaking. You are always talking faster than you think you are. Slow down.

  • Miles and Curtis set it up so that you can see the questions as they are being asked, which helps a surprising amount in remembering what the heck the actual question was.

  • I thought it went okay. You always wish you'd been more clever, but it was fun and I'd do it again.

Book Status

Beta 3 did get released yesterday. There may be an issue with the epub version, it's being looked into.

And then...

New Relic did an overview of usage patterns from their users, Ruby versions, installed gems, and the like. I love this stuff. What stood out for me:

  • Ruby 1.9 has a 2.7% share. Ruby 1.8.7 is only 39.5%.

  • Nearly half of all Rails apps are on 2.3.5, which is an impressive amount of keeping up to date. Rails 3 beta is at 1.3%

  • Assuming that there's no overlap between the gem and the plugin, about 1/3 of Rails apps use Haml.

  • Authlogic is the top authentication gem at about 20%, restful_authentication is a little lower.

  • RSpec is at 7% -- can that be accurate? Seems low.

Demitry Belitsky interviewed a number of Ruby community members about how they became successful Ruby developers. The list includes Ryan Bates, Yehuda Katz, Jamis Buck, and Geoffrey Grosenbach. Seems worth your time.

Speaking of Ryan Bates, he has a new challenge up at Ruby Learning. There are prizes.

May 25, 2010: Betas

Git, Podcasts, RDoc, Rails, RubyNoel Rappin1 Comment

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Beta 3 should be out today. The main change in this Beta is the inclusion of the Cucumber chapter, which has been updated both in terms of new tech, and also in terms of conclusions about how to use Cucumber.

And In Rails news...

When last we met, Rails 2.3.6 had just been released. Well, in the intervening 24 hours, we've bumped all the way to 2.3.8, with two bug fix releases, explained by Jeremy Kemper here and here. I don't know why the patch releases weren't numbered and -- they've gone that route before. Anyway, enjoy.


This seems a good time to point to Mike Gunderloy's historical list of Rails release dates. Confirming that Rails was pre 1.0 when I first saw it, was in the transition to 2.0 when I went to Pathfinder, and was in 2.0.2 when the Wrox book came out.

And then

I'm scheduled to be interviewed for the CoderPath podcast today, currently trying to confirm the time.

Here's a call for combining RDoc and RSpec. Hmm... having used Python's doctest, which is similar in goal, I'm skeptical. My sense was that the doctest things wound up being gunky enough that the file got hard to read.

Want to read Scott Chacon's Pro Git book for free on your iPad? Sure you do.

This is a couple days old, but here's Avdi Grimm with a nice little piece on Ruby's Tempfile class.

The projects for the Ruby Summer of Code were announced. Looks like a good range of useful stuff.

May 3, 2010: Hi, I'm Back

Cucumber, JavaScript, Obtiva, Peanuts, Podcasts, Rails 3, RailsRx, Teaching, cheat sheets, testingNoel RappinComment

Hey, where were you?

Sorry about that, I spent most of last week running the Obtiva Ruby/Rails/TDD 4-day boot camp training, and I didn't have time to do this daily catchup. Hey, if you think you need me or somebody like me to come to your company and blather about Ruby and Rails for a few days, contact us at It's fun.

Book Status

Rails test prescriptions: still on sale. Please do go to the forum to talk about what's there and what's not there.

Lulu raffle: still open, I think for another day or two.

Meantime, I've been working through the Cucumber chapter, and also proofing the mock article that will be in the May Pragazine.

Tab Dump

Several days worth of stuff.

Cucumber 7 is out of beta and in the wild. I'm hoping this doesn't mean too much updating of the chapter I'm in the middle of editing. The big change is a new parser advertised as 50-100 times faster. Which sounds like an outstanding change.

This week in Rails Dispatch, an article outlining the new ActiveRelation/Arel implementation of ActiveRecord for Rails 3

Thinking in Rails has a nice list of Ruby and Rails podcasts.

This is exactly what I want from a Rails plugin in: short, sweet, and solves a problem. In this case, from Ryan Bigg, finding database records by partial date.

I think I'll probably use this one: a detailed cheat sheet for all things Rails Migration.

A very detailed article on unobtrusive JavaScript that I really need to read more carefully.

The Thoughtbot team shows a nice design retrospective, walking through their process.

A couple of test links:

José Valim gives out some awards for best test suite features.

Will Leinweber tells you what the winning integration test stack looks like.

Bryan Liles at the Smarticus blog also responds to the question of whether you need unit tests and provides a good overview of the TDD process. I think he's got this right.


Apparently the Peanuts brand is still worth something, even without daily content, as an 80% stake in the brand rights for Peanuts just sold for $175 million. And if you want a sense of exactly where the pecking order is here, the article casually mentions in the next-to-last paragraph that the rights to Dilbert are also included...

April 21, 2010: Annnndd... We're live

ActionMailer, Podcasts, Pragmatic, Rails 3, RailsRx, TeachingNoel Rappin1 Comment

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What else, but the actual live sale page for Rails Test Prescriptions, which is You should be able to see the cover off to the right sidebar. (As I write this, they haven't turned on the "Buy" link, sometime today, I think).

I like the mortar and pestle in the cover, it has a nice resonance with "prescriptions" and also, at least for me, a little bit of a tinkering kind of vibe.

Anyway, I'm excited and nervous about this -- of the books I've written, this is the one that is most clearly my project from the beginning. I hope you like it, and I hope that your comments will help this be an even better book, and that we can get the physical book in your hands soon.

Buy early, buy often.

Book Status

I've been working on an article for the next issue of the Pragazine. I think I might be doing a better job of justifying a mock style than I have in the current book text, which means I'll need to copy some of those arguments back into the book.

Tab Dump

Nice Rails Dispatch post by Mikel Lindsaar detailing the changes for Rails 3 ActionMailer. The ActionMailer API is much more consistent with the rest of Rails, giving me a fighting chance of remembering how it works without looking it up every time.

The CoderPath podcast popped up on RubyFlow -- it's a weekly interview podcast with Ruby and Rails programmers, that has so far included DHH, Ryan Bates, and others. I haven't actually listened yet, I just saw the link, so you can consider this a transparent plea for them to interview me. Since you may have heard I have a book out.

Since I do a fair amount of Rails Training (interested?), I liked this Sarah Allen slide show about Test First Teaching. Some ideas here that I need to think about incorporating better in the training sessions that I run.


Do not adjust your web browser. The rubyonrails domains are all still down as I write this. And it has nothing to do with the volcano. Hopefully it'll all get straightened out soonish.