Often as a developer I find myself looking for tools and techniques that will speed up or simplify any mundane or repetitive tasks I have to carry out. In some cases all it will take is a few lines of code here, or a little script there and I can save precious seconds to use elsewhere. It’s important to share this time saving across the team if it is something everyone can benefit from, especially if they are non-technical and perhaps could not implement something similar themselves. Obviously distributing scripts to non-technical colleagues is not the way to go, here is an example of how a simple chrome extension helped out my team.

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I recently set up gollum, a sinatra powered, git based wiki on a DigitalOcean server that already had a number of other sites running on it. The server had passenger, nginx and rvm installed running ruby version 1.9.2 and gollum required >= 1.9.3 so it needed to be able to run multiple ruby versions. Here is a simplified example to show what the nginx.conf file was looking like, pretty standard stuff.

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For me sharing a screenshot used to involve opening up Transmit, dragging the file in from finder, setting the premissions and copying the URL. Now Automater and a simple shell script enables me to right-click on an image and select “Upload to S3”, this uses curl to upload the file to S3, puts the URL of the file on my clipboard and triggers a notification when the file is uploaded. This example uses Growl for the notification but its easy enough to use a different method if you want. Nice and simple, so here is how to got it set up..

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Refinery CMS is an open source Rails based CMS that I have used a couple of times, it’s so simple to get up and running and highly customisable. It allows for functionality to be assed easily through Rails engines. There are already a number of good engines out there that allow for adding pretty complex features in just a few commands. A great option if you want to work with Ruby on Rails to create an extendable CMS.

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Using Selenium RC in your Rails project was never easier…

Testing is one of those things that can get overlooked when developing web applications! I started off as a tester and when doing my own development projects I like to make it as simple and easy to maintain as possible.

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