When we generate survey reports for clients, along with online reports with interactive graphs we also generate PDFs that clients can print out and share. Converting our online reports-each of which sometimes has several hundred graphs spread across multiple pages-to PDFs has been an interesting challenge.
We recently released a rails gem called ExternalFields (Github). As the name suggests, this gem allows you to create the illusion that an object has specific attributes when those attributes actually belong to an associated object. This is particularly useful for different classes within a single-table inheritance table to have access to separate fields in class-specific associations. In addition, this gem gives us more power than standard Ruby/Rails built-in delegation methods by automatically creating necessary objects and associating them.
We use Sidekiq Pro to manage all background jobs in our Rails application. While Sidekiq has built-in support for prioritizing jobs of different types, the framework does not inherently support prioritization for jobs of the same type. So we built out that feature ourselves!
Our Sidekiq setup involves workers split into a few different worker types differentiated by memory availability and the concurrency with which jobs are processed. Initially, workers belonging to each worker type had a single designated queue they pulled jobs from. For example, consider two types of jobs, FancyJobA and FancyJobB that are both processed by the same type of worker type_a_worker.
As Rails developers, we spend a fair amount of time in the Rails console, which is itself just the native Interactive Ruby Shell (IRB). By default, it’s not particularly pretty…
$ rails c
irb(main):001:0> def hello
irb(main):002:1> puts “hello”
…but it gets the job done. We were content with it, because we didn’t know things could be better.