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Learning Tips for the Software Developer

Working as a software developer is the decision to become a lifelong learner. What you learn today has a good chance of being obsolete a few years from now. What is more important is to build a strong foundation of skills and to become proficient at learning new technologies and techniques, rather than putting all your eggs in the basket of a specific technology.

In Software Development By Leigh Halliday January 09, 2015

Leigh Halliday

Can I Use Angular in my Rails App?

Single Page Applications (SPA) aren’t incredibly new any more, but there are a lot of people with Rails applications using a more traditional server-side Rails approach to the website’s architecture. The question is whether we can use Angular inside of a more traditional Rails application? Here's how I was able to make it work.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday January 06, 2015

Leigh Halliday

User Authentication in Rails

In this article I'd like to discuss how to implement user authentication into this blog. This is useful to be able to hide sensitive information that should only be invisible to a single user, or to limit access to entire sections (admin panel) of the website only to someone who has authenticated. I'll implement user authentication using the Sorcery gem.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday January 03, 2015

Leigh Halliday

Medellín, Colombia: Latin America's Emerging Tech Hub

Medellín has been known for many things, but here's what you should be thinking of it as these days: Innovative, entrepreneurial, a tech-hub, and driving forward in what is more and more becoming a large tech-hub in Latin America. In an article recently published on TechCrunch, they talked about how Colombia as a whole is growing in the tech world, but in this article I'll focus more on Medellín and what is happening in this beautiful and vibrant city.

In Software Development By Leigh Halliday December 22, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Building an admin section in Rails

This website, along with most of the other ones I create end up having an admin section; a place where data can be created and managed. It's only accessible to registered users (or possibly a subset of those users), and has a different look and feel to it than the rest of the website. In this article we'll go through how to set up the routing, controllers, a namespaced environment, and how to handle user access/permissions.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday December 18, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Postgres Insights with PgHero

Here is a quick look at the PgHero gem. PgHero gives you some quick insights into the performance of your Postgres database, especially relating to slow queries and where you are not using indexes efficiently. It provides an easy to understand and nicely designed interface which is easy to install and access.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday December 15, 2014

Leigh Halliday

How to model data in Rails

Now we're ready to start planning out what models we need in our application. The best way I think for deciding what models are needed is to think about our website and what features and pages it will have, and then to think about what models are needed to satisfy the desired features. After that we'll show how to determine how they are related to each other, and then how to create database tables and Rails classes.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday December 14, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Getting Started with Ruby on Rails

After deciding to make a website with Ruby on Rails, you'll need to get your environment set up. This can seem daunting at the beginning, but in this article I'll try to point out some of the tools you'll need and resources you can use to get up and running. I'll walk through creating a git repo, installing some basic tools, creating a new rails app, and some foundational gems we'll use.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday December 08, 2014

Leigh Halliday

The Basics of PSQL

PSQL is the command line tool for accessing the PostgreSQL database. I recommend anyone using Postgres to at least learn the basics of how to navigate around and feel comfortable working in this tool. Even for those used to only dealing with data through an ORM like ActiveRecord in Rails, or for those who prefer Navicat for querying data, learning a simple tool like PSQL will go a long way. The next time you're on the server and there is no GUI in site, you'll feel comfortable instead of stressed.

In Databases By Leigh Halliday December 07, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Sorting null values in PostgresSQL

Here is how to deal with null values when sorting your data in Postgres. Postgres has a convenient option to either put them at the beginning or end of your query results.

In Databases By Leigh Halliday December 07, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Which technologies should I use for my website?

Now that I've decided to make this website from scratch, there are a number of decisions to make in terms of what technologies to choose from. I've broken things down into 4 sections: Frontend, backend, data, and hosting.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday December 06, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Why make a blog?

What's it like to start a website from scratch? It could be a personal one like this one, or it could be the website for your company, or really anything you want to get online. There are inevitably a number of decisions and steps you need to take in order to take it from an idea to something concrete. I'm going to walk through as many of those steps that I can in this series of articles.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday December 04, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Confident Ruby by Avdi Grimm reviewed

Confident Ruby by Avdi Grimm is a book about taking sheepish and nervous Ruby code and transforming it into confident and straight forward code. It's about focusing on the task at hand in front of you, rather than looking over your shoulder to make sure nobody is sneaking up behind you. In this article I take a look at what I got out of the book and give a quick overview of the topics that it discusses.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday December 02, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Pull Requests for Quality, Training, and Shared Knowledge

I encourage you and your team to try using pull requests. They help improve the quality of the code, offer great training to developers, and help spread domain knowledge among the entire team. In this article I'll explore how something so simple as a pull request can offer so many benefits.

In Software Development By Leigh Halliday November 29, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Mail Interceptors and Observers for Logging and Development

ActionMailer gives you two ways to inject filters into your email messages either before the are sent (an Interceptor) or after they are sent (an Observer). Using Interceptors and Observers is a great way to modify behaviour in the development environment, by only emailing people from a white listed list of emails, and they are also a great way to log the mail that is being sent by your system.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday November 28, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Responding with JSON in Rails

A high-level overview of the best options available for developers that are building an API that responds in JSON. What are the tools to use and what are some of the different JSON formats.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday November 27, 2014

Leigh Halliday

How To Succeed As a Junior Developer

Here are 10 things that you can do as a junior developer to help get your career off the ground. Learning to program is hard enough, so don't make it harder on yourself than it has to be. In this article I'll explore how to have the right mindset and some practical things you can do to move to the next level.

In Software Development By Leigh Halliday November 25, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Block Based Configuration

Have you ever wondered how the gems you use have implemented the block based configuration that you see? This tutorial will show you how to set it up, how to use it, and some tricks to deal with values that change after your app has already been initialized.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday November 24, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Onboarding Junior Developers

Starting a new career can be scary, challenging, and rewarding. As an employer or a senior developer, there are things you can do to help ensure a positive beginning to a junior developer's career. It's all about having the right mindset, creating a positive environment, providing mentorship, setting goals, and creating a feedback loop.

In Software Development By Leigh Halliday November 21, 2014

Leigh Halliday

RubyConf Portugal

What are programming conferences like? Who attends them? Why should you attend one? Recently I attended RubyConf Portugal, in Braga, Portugal. Here's what it was like.

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday November 16, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Translating Your Ruby on Rails Application

A guide on how I set up my Rails applications that are available in multiple languages. Which gems to use, how to set up your routes, and a general guide to this process. Buena suerte!

In Ruby On Rails By Leigh Halliday November 13, 2014

Leigh Halliday

Software Development Done Remotely

Do you live somewhere seriously lacking a large tech industry presence? Do you want to travel and be somewhere else longer than your 2-3 week yearly vacation allows? Working remotely takes an extra effort, but can offer great advantages for the right individual.

In Software Development By Leigh Halliday November 11, 2014

Leigh Halliday