Five Chrome DevTools Tips for Troubleshooting Web Apps

I recently needed to find and fix a bug in a web app I’ve been working on. The bug had something to do with code that was updating the dimensions of a third-party generated UI component whenever the window was resized. While troubleshooting the issue, I repeatedly used a handful of the tools provided by Chrome DevTools. Some of these I’ve used many times in the past, but a couple of them were new to me, so I thought I’d discuss them here. Read more on Five Chrome DevTools Tips for Troubleshooting Web Apps…

Making Your System Tests More Readable

When I ramp onto a new project, one of the first things I do is to look at the system test suite. Because system tests exercise the entire system, they are a great place to document the intent and assumptions built into your application. When they are written well, they can be a source of documentation and a tool to educate others on the behaviors of an application. Read more on Making Your System Tests More Readable…

Improving Command Line Productivity with GNU Readline

I spend a lot of my day working on the command line, from file navigation to version control to remote work on servers over SSH, and anywhere in between. I’ve found that even small improvements to my workflow significantly add up over time to provide big productivity boosts.
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Simple Database Dump/Restore with Postgres on Heroku

On my current project, we use Postgres instances running on Heroku for both staging and production. Each team member on the project also maintains a local instance of Postgres used for development.

Because the process to translate data from our customer’s legacy database to our new system takes quite some time, we run the process nightly to populate our Postgres instance on our staging server. In addition to our automated test suite which generates and uses its own test data, we found it quite useful to be able to use up-to-date, real-world data during our daily development and ad-hoc testing of our software.
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Be Expressive: How to Give Your Variables Better Names

Well-named variables are one of the most useful tools for building a maintainable and predictable codebase. Poor variable names can confuse users, but good ones make code seem effortless. As Ward Cunningham put it:

You know you are working on clean code when each routine turns out to be pretty much what you expected.

Naming variables well is one of the first and most important things you can do to create code that feels expected.
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