Understanding The Request-Response Cycle

From the cluttered desk of one arm-flailing DevOps and Rails engineer.

Over time, as a Rails developer, you might start to think about branching out and deploying your code to services such as AWS or DigitalOcean, because you're fairly comfortable with writing code and creating wonderful Rails apps. Alas, you haven't taken the leap because servers are complicated. Oh, but curiosity draws you to it! Or maybe cost does. Whatever the case may be, this post is to help you understand how...

Read more

Retroactively Setting Up a Gem/Engine to Use Rspec

Some of us NIRDs built a gem recently,  ng_will_paginate, to allow easy use of the fabulous will-paginate gem with an Angular-fronted Rails application. This was the first time we built a gem that uses assets, and it was an excellent learning opportunity. As mentioned in Patrick’s post, we traveled a winding path while building this gem. Namely, we extracted the code for it from another project, which meant that we were pulling in fully formed code, and not practicing TDD...

Read more

Using Foreman and Subcontractor To Simplify Your Life

When working on a complex application, you may need more than one application or service running at one time. This can be a pain to manage without great tools like the Foreman and Subcontractor gems, because you would have to have all of those apps and services open in different tab in order for your one complex app to function properly.

Let’s use a simple example. Say we’re developing on a customer_app that requires three other apps: crude_app, silly_app, funny_app, and...

Read more

The First Gem Is The Sweetest

As my colleagues have mentioned in previous posts, we NIRDs have begun an initiative to contribute more to the open source community. As a junior developer who had never contributed to the open source community, this put me on unfamiliar ground. For many, that first step into the unknown is daunting - for me it was terrifying. I mean, I’m mostly self-taught, and as a result, I have a paralyzing fear of everyone discovering that I am a complete fraud. ::Deep breath:: Until now,...

Read more

OSNird: A Journey Into Open Source Gem-Making

Introduction to GracePeriod & README-Driven-Development

OSNird (for Open Source NIRD) is a new program here where NIRDs can spend work time contributing to open source projects. One team (Mike Pence, Adam Bell and myself) is writing a gem to address the imbalance that occurs when we place urgent concerns over important concerns and end up with technical debt. We are excited to take you with us on our learning journey in order to inspire more people to contribute to open source.


Read more

Where in the world are the NIRDS?

The NIRDS have been busy this year sharing our love of Ruby, Rails, and programming. One of the ways we do this is by sponsoring and speaking at conferences throughout the world. If you haven’t been to a Ruby conference - I highly recommend attending one. Different conferences have their own personalities - so try out a couple ’til you find one you like.

Conferences are a great way to meet other Rubyists from around the world - to exchange ideas and learn about what cool projects...

Read more

"Whose Wife Are You?"

In August of 2011, Renée Hendrickson (née DeVoursney) presented her talk, 'Whose Wife are You?" at Madison Ruby, about her experiences as a women in tech. You can watch it here.

Read more

You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure

In August, Kerri Miller presented her talk, "You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure" at Steel City Ruby. You can watch the video here.

Read more

Customizing Sublime Text

What Sublime Text is:

Sublime Text is a cross platform text editor, excellent for code, markup, and prose. It's free to try and fun to customize. You can customize it in several ways: the color scheme, the UI aspects, key bindings, and a variety of preferences.

How to get it:

  • Download from [](
  • Installation instructions vary according to your OS.
  • You can try out the full version for as long as you'd like before you buy, but...
Read more

About OAuth

OAuth is an open standard for authentication. It can be used in two different ways.

Mode 1 - Third party authentication

This is the mode primarily talked about on the internet. The idea is that you authorize one site to get limited data from another site using the OAuth API. For example, a site lets you login with your Facebook or Google credentials instead of setting up an account with them, or a Twitter phone app can get and send tweets from your account.

The API Producer (Facebook, etc.)...

Read more