måndag, september 25, 2006

Two things in Rails

This will be a short in-between post. Don't expect to be annoyed, enlightened or even trivially entertained. I'm just going to describe two small things I do in all my Rails-projects, and I haven't found a way to do them as plugins. This is very annoying, of course, so I hope someone from the Rails team will eventually see this and tell me how to do it DRY.

1. Add a production_test environment
I feel constrained by the three environments that get delivered by Rails out of the box. And I find that for every project where the customer isn't myself and the codebase is bigger than about 50 lines of (hand-written) code, I tend to add a new environment to Rails; 'production_test'. The problem this environment solves is the situation where I want my customers to test out an application, but I don't want them to do it against a real production environment. For example, I did an application called LPW a few months back, that works against a 3rd party web service. This web service has one production environment and one test environment. I want the production_test to be as fast, responsive and generally as much as the production environment as possible, but not go against the production web service. I solve this by adding a production_test env which is exactly like the production environment, except I can just change the address to the web service endpoint to the test one.

I usually do this, so I can give my customers a nice application that they can play with, but without worrying about them damaging production data.

2. Add plugin environment configuration
This is actually a major pain. I have developed a few plugins, and generally I want them to have configurations based on which environment we are in. For example, the CAS authentication plugin shouldn't really redirect to the CAS server when in development environment. But, I can't set this in any good way, since the plugins will be loaded after the environment-specific files have been loaded. So, what I do is simply to add a new directory, called config/plugin and in environment.rb I have this:
 plugin_environment = File.join(RAILS_ROOT,'config', 'plugin', "#{ENV['RAILS_ENV']}.rb")
load plugin_environment if File.exist?(plugin_environment)
This solution sucks, but it works.

5 kommentarer:

Anonym sa...

Did you overlook Streamlined?


Another option to enhance Rails is RJS:


Dr Nic sa...

@anon - they are good solutions for different problems

@ola - I agree that these are relevant problems.

Anonym sa...

We use a fourth environment but call it "staging". I can't imagine doing any sort of deployment/rollout without it.

Anonym sa...

i suspect anon #1 didn't care too much about ola's post and was more interested in page rank and the like.

Anonym sa...

As Rob points out, the technical term for this is "staging".