Quick and easy admin options

One of the first complications that most webapps of any complexity will run into is the need for privileged users who can do things that normal users can't or shouldn't be able to do. Before too long, you're headed towards writing your very own administrative interface. This is not only extra work, but can be tricky to do without compromising the security of the application you're administering. Most Rails developers will be familiar with this story, and Rails being Rails, it turns out that there are a couple of good options for extending your existing applications with a pre-generated, customizable admin console.

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Refactoring with Design Patterns - The State Pattern

In this series of code refactoring posts we are discussing how design patterns can be used to make our Ruby code beautiful, maintainable and clean.

Today I want to talk about a pattern that can be very useful when we need to control the flow of a set of events of our objects: The State Pattern a.k.a Finite State Machine.

As a developer it is common to see objects changing their state. At the beginning managing the state of an object can be as simple as having some boolean attributes where you can check if the object is in state A or B. But when the complexity increases you can end up with a number of states that are difficult to manage without breaking the SOLID principles. That is where we can implement the elegant solution provided by the State Pattern.

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Three Useful Data Migration Patterns for Rails

At Ombu Labs, we are big fans of Ruby on Rails and design patterns, especially convention over configuration! The beauty of Rails is that you can inherit a legacy project and easily find the different layers of code in different directories.

When it comes to database migrations the policy of Rails is very clear. It's all about altering the database structure with gradual migration files: "Migrations are a convenient way to alter your database schema over time in a consistent and easy way." (source)

But, what about data migrations? What's the best way to write, maintain, and run migrations that alter the data in your production database?

In this article I will talk about three different patterns for writing and maintaining your data migrations:

  1. Data migrations in db/migrate
  2. Data migrations with a set of Rake tasks
  3. Data migrations with data_migrate
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Using Google Calendar for Account Management

At Ombu Labs, we like to split our time between working on our own products, open source and client projects.

Our own products include everything from OmbuShop, an e-commerce platform, to FastRuby.io, a Ruby on Rails upgrade service. In terms of open source, we recently created Audit Tool and are constantly searching for more projects to contribute to. We also work on a variety of interesting client projects, and with our current team size, like to take on two to three of them at a time.

As an Account Manager, it can get hectic trying to manage all of this. Google Calendar can be a serious help.

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Often neglected API best practices

If you've been a web developer for any length of time at all these days, you've no doubt used at least a few web based APIs here and there. It's possible that you've even written one (or more!) yourself. API design is a rich topic with a lot of deep roots, but some cursory research will show a number of best practices that public facing APIs should implement. Understanding these practices will give you a firm basis for judging the quality of APIs as a user and consumer, and allow you to design more useful APIs when it's your turn.

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Notes from The Complete Guide to Rails Performance's Workshop

If you are interested in Ruby and Rails performance, you have definitely read articles by Nate Berkopec from Speedshop. At Ombu Labs we are big fans of his work, his Complete Guide to Rails Performance book and Slack community.

When Nate announced a series of public workshops I didn't hesitate and signed up as quickly as possible. Here are my notes from my experience at the workshop on October 17th.

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Kickoff Calls for New Projects

When starting a new software development project with a client, it is important to get started on the right foot. The way you communicate with a client at the beginning of a project can set the tone for how communication will be throughout the project.

Therefore, at Ombu Labs, we believe it is crucial to start off every new project with a Kickoff Call, where we can take time to get to know the client's team and speak in depth about their goals and priorities for the project. We like to discuss the following list of topics with clients during our calls:

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Step up the security of your Rails app | Part 1

The internet is a wonderful place, but there will always be people that don't have good intentions when they visit our websites. That's why you need to be aware of the vulnerabilities that your application can have and how to avoid them. In this article I'll cover two common security problems in Rails applications (I'll probably make a second part since this is a very extensive topic).

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Refactoring with Design Patterns - The Template Pattern

In our last article of the refactoring series we saw how design patterns can be used to make our Ruby code beautiful and clean. Design patterns are a powerful tool for any developer and a familiarity with them will lead to better code by forcing a consideration of SOLID principles.

Now let's talk about other pattern that when properly used can be very helpful: The Template Method.

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