Dev box
I'm a 32-year-old Ruby on Rails web developer. With the help of friends and co-workers, I've been teaching myself Rails. I worked as a Rails developer for Crowd911 in Colorado. I live in Berlin.
In my developer blog I publish a stochastic array of thoughts and ideas, lessons, mistakes, questions and attempts as answers about Rails and Ruby. I am also posting Anki cards that I used to help myself study. In my view most knowledge is about practice. If you have thoughts, questions, ideas, corrections, arguments, feel free to email me at

Git Rebase Lessons

1. You can always fix anything in your headless branch. It seems obvious, but... you don't just have to follow their rules and step by step guide as they move through the code. If you make a mistake as you're going through the rebase / commit conflict changes, you can always go back to the file and fix the changes that you made earlier.

2. If you are in the middle of a rebase, and you need to leave in the middle to go do something else, you can do git stash, then rebase abort. Later, when you need to come back to it, you can do git stash pop. Git stash is its own world, and you can save any changes there that you want, regardless of which branch that you are on. (Even a rebase headless branch). 

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HAML automatically "divs" CSS Classes

When you do a CSS Class in HAML:





There are automatic "hidden" div (i.e. new line) sections in each of these classes.

In pure HTML you would need to actually specifiy a <DIV> tag. 

For Span in HTML (same line), you still need to specify it.




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Jonas Method of De-Bugging

Step through every single line of code that is executing, use "next" or "step| with binding.pry if you're using Ruby, and ask yourself:


Do I understand this line / action?

What is the code executing here? 

Is it succeeding?

Which line EXACTLY is failing?

Which line BEFORE that is succeeding?

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Debugging / Problem-Solving

What if I replaced flailing and floundering with a simple (yet strong) hypothesis and questions and evidence cycles to work through my coding?


Question: Why isn't my normal link to download working? Why isn't Rails playing well with my download?

Hypothesis: It's because... 

Now go out and get evidence.

Wow, so often, you can't even really properly state the question or the hypothesis. "I'm too tired to write this all out. Let me just try this one hack."

No. Do you want to solve this, flailing, with a hack, or do you want to solve this with UNDERSTANDING?

But I can barely think.

Well, do you want to truly do your best?

Yes. I do.

Go out and take a walk. Take a break. Get away from your screen. 

Hmm. But other people will think I'm getting up and I'm lazy.

Don't worry about other people. Worry about doing your best.

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Debugging Question Toolkit

1. What exactly is the computer trying to tell me with the error message? Literally... EXACTLY what is it telling me? (If you can answer this question, you are usually 55% of the way there to solving it).

2. Imagine that you are pairing on this task. How do you explain the error to someone in two sentences?

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