Tech Blog

The Interplanetary SpaceBlag of TeamSnap Engineering.

Deploying code is traditionally an annoying process in any company. At TeamSnap, we have made several strides to streamline this process and remove unnecessary hurdles. Removing these obstacles not only improves how often we can deploy and how quickly, but decreases the time a developer is involved in the deployment, increasing productivity and overall happiness.

There have been many improvements to this process over the last year and a half. First we automated away most of the tedious tasks...

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As a fresh-out-of-school junior developer, joining an engineering team for the first time is a daunting experience. After graduating school I believed I had the knowledge, tools, and even the experience needed to hit the ground running… but I was in for a rude awakening! It was naive to think that my sandboxed experience, one-off algorithm challenges and personal projects where anything like a production application supporting millions of users and backed by an engineering team of 20-30...

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Recently our Ops team has wanted to experiment with client compression on MySQL to help alleviate some internal network congestion. After much trial and error we hit upon a solution for the mysql2 gem in Rails 2.x, 3.x, 4.x and Sequel. I hope this helps others struggling to find a way to do this. Comeback soon to see what effect Client Compression had on our network.

Rails 2.x

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# config/initializers/enable_connection_flags.rb
module
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The Search for a Knowledge Base

Google reports 109,000,000 results for the search query "Knowledge Base". 65,300,000 are returned for "Knowledge Base Software". As a software developer, that ratio strikes me as about right - developers love re-inventing the wheel and I enjoy tongue in cheek intros for blog posts. ;-)

So, as the TeamSnap engineering team continues to grow from a humble base of a handful of developers and LOC's under our belts to a more mature organization, it was time for us...

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Last month, Shane Emmons did a post on implementing pipe in ruby. Check out his post here.

As Shane mentioned, the unix pipe operator is extremely powerful and simple to use / understand. The result of the first operation is passed as the argument for the next operation and so on. Last summer, shortly before I came onboard, Shane implemented our first version:

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def pipe(initial_env, through:)
  through.reduce(initial_env) do |env, method|
    status, _, _ = env
    success?(status
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I'm going to take off my MySQL DBA hat and put on my network admin hat for a moment and talk about Quality of Service (QoS). This is largely in the scope of using QoS for residential and small office setups where you largely see non-symmetric connections, often with fairly low upload speeds, at least here in the US. My own home connection is a U-Verse FTTP install that gives me 50mbps down and a measly 5mbps up.

To start, maybe it's best to play out a common scenario. You're trying to get some...

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Tim Soderstrom   Hardware, Network  Quality of Service

Vagrant - A Developer's Best Friend

Have you ever broken your development environment and dreaded of the hours it will take to rebuild your environment? I certainly have, on multiple occasions. This is where Vagrant comes to the rescue! Vagrant is an excellent tool to build disposable, lightweight development environments. It leverages the power of Virtual Machines (VM) to allow you to easily build customizable images, so you can quickly bring up a custom environment.

To start, simply download

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Since the first gem was born, gem authors have had to toe the line between configurability and supportability. This post covers a facet of this conundrum - when and how to extract certain functionality from an app into a gem and how to support low level configurability. For those interested in a higher level discussion of gem configuration patterns, Brandon Hilkert does a good job covering this landscape in his blog post Ruby Gem Configuration Patterns.

So, what does "low level" configurability...

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Recently, we've been working on migrating email from our 'Classic' codebase into our 'NextJenn' architecture. If you've ever worked with ActionMailer emails, you know that this is a bigger task than it sounds.

One issue in particular has proven very tricky. Due in part to differing regulations in different geographic locations (I'm looking at you, Canada) and in part to the team level customization possible, there are dozens of different permutations for many of the several dozen emails that...

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Dan Matthews   Email, Open Source, QA, Ruby  Introducing Crosby

The unix | (pipe) operator is an extremely powerful and simple tool. With it you can do amazing feats, like kill vagrant when it's misbehaving:

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ps aux | grep vagrant | grep -v grep | tr -s " " | cut -d" " -f2 | xargs kill

or open every file that references ShimMessageView:

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vi $(ag ShimMessageView -l --nocolor | xargs)

Simply stated, the pipe takes input from the left, runs it through a command and outputs it on the right. Data in, data out. This pattern is so powerful, many languages...

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Shane Emmons   Ruby, Unix  Implementing pipe in Ruby