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Chris Sass's Blog (10)

Maintaining Skill Momentum

Whatever profession you are a part of it requires some set of skills in order to accomplish.  The skill is useful, or at least someone thinks it's valuable enough to pay you to perform it. At the beginning of your career you are learning many new things every day.  Your new job/project constantly pushes the boundaries of your experience.  As time progresses and you become able to perform your job with less assistance from mentors and co-workers. The great initial momentum at which you learn…


Added by Chris Sass on September 4, 2013 at 4:53pm — 1 Comment

Be "social" but also show your users you care about their privacy

Recent events like the leaking of PRISM have reinvigorated the concerns of many for their privacy online.  This is a broad subject, and I am by no means a security expert, but I would to talk about an easy way to give a little control back to your users.

It's virtually impossible these days to visit a web page without seeing several social media "share" buttons/widgets.  Making it ridiculously easy for your users to send your page to their favourite social twitbookfacegramsnapspace is…


Added by Chris Sass on July 5, 2013 at 2:29pm — No Comments

You don't have to be at the same desk (or even the same continent) to pair program with someone

In case you are not super familiar with pair programming here are the core essentials of how it works.  Two programmers sit in front of the computer they are working on and slide the keyboard/mouse back and forth. The person with the controls is called the driver the other is navigator or observer.  To those that have never done it before it can sound kind of stupid but when it's done right it can actually be…


Added by Chris Sass on April 26, 2013 at 2:45pm — 1 Comment

Write You're Own eBook in Markdown with Ruby and Github Pages

Many of us have either had the urge to write a book or spew some sort of long-winded excrement of words.  Maybe it's a story that's been bouncing around in your head, a piece of history you would like to document, or a coalescence of documentation/blog posts on a subject you are passionate about. Regardless of the reason they all require the same thing.  The ability to…


Added by Chris Sass on March 25, 2013 at 3:00pm — 4 Comments

Growing Pains in Your Rails Applicaiton

If you have been part of building an application that has lasted longer than a month then you've probably had some troubles as the project grows.   Business logic requirements get more and more complicated.  Features change direction.  You occasionally "hack" something just to satisfy a release or an urgent bug fix, saying "I can refactor/clean this up this later..."

Then one day "later..." is now.  New features are getting harder and harder to implement.  Everything seems intricately…


Added by Chris Sass on October 19, 2012 at 4:29pm — 1 Comment

Being mindful of your "includes"

The use of "includes(:association_name)" in rails is a widely accepted rails best practice to prevent n + 1 queries in your views. If you aren't sure what either of those mean check out the ruby on rails guide about eager loading associations.  When you are retrieving a collection of…


Added by Chris Sass on August 3, 2012 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Microsoft Translator Ruby Gem

I know "Microsoft" is not the first word that comes mind when you're writing a ruby application but since Google dropped the free tier for their translation service the Microsoft Translator API is a good alternative for a small/personal project that you don't want to have to bother with the monthly bill.  


Recently I've had to use this API in a project and this weekend I extracted the functionality out into a simple gem.  I present to you 'microsoft_translator'  (queue…


Added by Chris Sass on June 10, 2012 at 11:07pm — 3 Comments

Are you mocking me? (You should be)

This post is just a friendly reminder for those that practice TDD/BDD to make sure they are not putting more ceremony into their tests than is necessary.  Use mocks and stubs instead!


Mocks are just stand-ins that behave like the thing we want it to represent.  Stubs will fake a method call and return a canned response.  These save time both in setting up the test and in running it (depending on if your real objects are persisted in a test database).  When you test a method…


Added by Chris Sass on April 20, 2012 at 5:58pm — No Comments

Employing the Pomodoro Technique as a Computer Programmer

Productivity and concentration are two very important words to someone who writes code for a living.  There is a wide variety of tools, methodologies, tricks and “hacks” out there that claim to help one improve in these areas.  One such technique that I've adopted over the past couple of months is known as the “Pomodoro”.

The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980's and is easily summed up in a few simple rules.  It encourages you to accomplish more in a…


Added by Chris Sass on February 24, 2012 at 2:05pm — 3 Comments


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