Thoughts on software craftsmanship.

This Week I Learned #11

This week I learned more Ruby tidbits from Exercism.io, including a new string method and a new use of Ruby’s splat operator. Also, DNS debugging with some handy Unix utilities.

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Provisioning a LAMP Stack and WordPress with Chef, Part 1: Apache, MySQL, and PHP

After years of getting less and less while paying more and more for shared hosting, I finally decided to spin up my own (virtual) server to host a few WordPress sites. I chose to provision the server with Chef, which lets you describe how you’d like the server set up with a handy Ruby DSL and Chef takes care of the rest. Chef lived up to its reputation for being incredibly powerful, but it took me longer than I’d hoped to really understand how to use it. What follows is the blog post I wish I’d had available before jumping in.

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Collaborative Coding with Exercism.io

Exercism.io is a tool for giving and getting feedback on code. It provides you with a series of exercises in your languages of choice, you solve them as elegantly as you can, and you submit them for feedback from others while giving others feedback in kind. In doing just one exercise, I found that it challenged me to reflect deeply about why I prefer some coding idioms to others, and in critiquing my own and others’ code, I was happy to learn a few new things about Ruby.

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This Week I Learned #10

Lots of Ruby learning this week, including two tricks with arrays and why you might want to freeze a value, plus some surprising behavior (and how to work around it) with ActionView’s cycle() method.

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Tips for Building Static Sites with Middleman

After a year of powering this site on a WordPress self-install, I recently switched to deploying this site as static HTML, published and kept organized by Middleman and served up by Github pages. (Update: I’ve since switched to Jekyll for tighter integration with Github pages.) I’ve been quite pleased with the experience and results. Here’s why I switched, and some things I learned in doing so.

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This Week I Learned #9: Railsbridge Edition

This weekend I had the great pleasure of helping out at Railsbridge Indy, an event aimed at introducing women to Ruby and Rails. It’s the local chapter of RailsBridge, a really cool organization that open-sources all of the curriculum and helps people set up local chapters. Having myself learned Ruby and Rails from others who’ve generously shared their knowledge online, I was excited for an opportunity to give back and happily learned a few things, too.

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This Week I Learned #8

Adding environment-based HTTP authentication to a Rails app, how to filter tailed log output, and a great habit for writing clearer, self-documenting code.

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