Seven Unusual Ruby Datastores

Admit it: you like the unusual. We all do. Despite constant warnings against premature optimization, an emphasis on "readable code", and the old aphorism, "keep it simple, stupid", we just can't help ourselves. As programmers, we love exploring new things.

In that spirit, let's go on an adventure. In this post, we'll take a look at seven lesser-known ways to store data in the Ruby language.

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Understanding Rack Apps and Middleware

For many of us web developers, we work on the highest levels of abstraction when we program. Sometimes it's easy to take things for granted. Especially when we're using Rails.

Have you ever dug into the internals of how the request/response cycle works in Rails? I recently realized that I knew almost nothing about how Rack or middlewares work, so I spent a little time finding out. In this post, I'll share what I learned.

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Serving Custom JSON Responses With ActiveModel::Serializers

These days, there are so many different choices when it comes to serving data from an API. In many cases, you just want to bring something to market as fast as you can. For those times, I still reach for Ruby on Rails.

When building an API in Rails, you need a good solution for structuring your JSON. ActiveModel::Serializers (AMS) is a sensible choice. It's powerful alternative to jbuilder, rabl, and other Ruby templating solutions. It's easy to get started with, but when you want to serve data that quite doesn't match up with the way ActiveRecord (AR) structures things, it can be hard to figure out how to get it to do what you want.

In this post, we'll take a look at how to extend AMS to serve up custom data in the context of a Rails-based chat app.

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Getting Started with Ruby Processing

If you're like me, you love to code because it is a creative process.

In another life, I am a musician. I've always loved music because it represents a synthesis of the concreteness of math and the ambiguity of language. Programming is the same way.

But despite the creative potential of programming, I often find myself spending days working out the kinks of HTTP requests or dealing with SSL certificates. Some part of me yearns for a purely Apollonion environment in which to use code to make something new and unseen.

When I feel a void for purely creative coding, I turn to the Processing language.

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