Articles by Robert Dormer

A Gentle Introduction To Docker

If you're like I was not too long ago, the DevOps world gives you a chance to experience what most non-developers probably feel like when they read about what we do on a day to day basis - confused, and maybe a little bored and frustrated, with an utter lack of even basic knowledge. It doesn't help that DevOps is rapidly becoming a field of expertise unto itself, or that most of the relevant players seem determined to hide behind vague descriptions like "enterprise platform" and "containerization solution." As a day to day working developer, adding an entire new skillset can be a daunting and intimidating prospect.

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Code Conventions and Rubocop

Everyone has had the experience of working on a gnarly, difficult to understand code-base. The sort of code base that makes you hate your job. Often it comes down to poor design, but code conventions also play a large part in whether you wake up dreading your job in the morning. The overall design (choice of design patterns and how modules and classes are organized and factored) is the long range, big picture strategy of how an application will be made. Code conventions, by contrast, come down to the choices you make about which constructs of a language you use, which you don't, and when.

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Working With Subcontractors

Out of all the problems an agency might face, "we have more opportunities than we can handle" is not something you'll typically hear anyone complaining about. For those who are lucky enough to be in that position, it's always thought of as being "a good problem to have." But make no mistake, having more opportunities than you can handle can be a real problem. Aside from the obvious opportunity costs of all the work not taken, there are often good reasons why you may not be able to expand your permanent headcount just yet.

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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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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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