Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Link: Getting rid of intermittent feature spec failures

Intermittent feature spec failures are the bane of testing experience.

They cause builds to fail at random (which really screws with you when you have continuous deployment based on master-branch merges). But more insidiously, they lead to bit-rot in your test suite - because once you get used to tests failing at random, you tend to overlook it when they do... which leads to bad code falling through the cracks at the worst times.

Patrick Bacon's article: These Intermittent Test Failures Will Not Stand, Man has a small selection of useful things you can do to address these failures and root them out for good.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Rails migrations for zero-downtime sites

At TuShare we have a zero-downtime site with continuous deployment (ie, you merge to master, and away it goes to production...)

The zero-downtime part means that as the new code goes out, the old servers are still up and running until the new code is fully loaded and ready to roll... and they only then get pulled down.

This is great for uptime, but does mean you have to be extra careful about any migrations. The database must work with both the old code and the new code.

My colleague pointed me at this article: Rails migrations with no downtime. which has some in-depth coverage of the topic. What kinds of things cause errors, what you can do to reduce the pain of change-over.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Working with TuShare

So, I've got a job at TuShare.

TuShare are a little like FreeCycle - people login to either give away their excess clutter, or get some free stuff from others.

But there is one main difference - instead of having to pick the items up yourself, TuShare offers seamless integration with a courier system for any items smaller than 5kg. You still have the option of going out to pick the item(s) up (which you still have to do for furniture and large objects), but you also have the option of a door-to-door courier service for only $10 within your capital city, or $25 for city-city service.

Personally, that extra convenience is extremely appealing to me, and I used it about a month ago to get myself a brand new-to-me juicer. Since then I've put up 6 items of my own, from random old computer bits to a futon left with me by a friend who moved house.

TuShare has a small dev team, but there's a lot to work on - especially after the boom in users following the Global Sharing Day events held last week.

The people are lovely and I'm really looking forward to working with them.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Link: Open-plan offices don't work

Just read an interesting article by Maria Konnikova called The open-office trap

The TL;DR version is that while open-plan offices give employees a feeling of belonging to an open, laid-back company. The actual measured performance of employees shows that they are "damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction."