Sara Trice

Just a programmin', bellydancin', cake bakin' kinda girl



Using javan/whenever on Engine Yard Cloud

via Deploy Hook

UPDATE 4.10.2013: Updating these instructions to use bundle exec, per chintan/Nic Pillinger
UPDATE 11.4.2013: Updating these instructions to use helper methods to determine which instances to run the command on

If you want your crontab updated by whenever on deploy, make a file named deploy/before_restart.rb and stick this in it:

on_app_master do
  # the following updates the crontab upon deployment
  run "cd #{config.release_path}; bundle exec whenever --set environment=#{config.framework_env} --update-crontab '#{}_#{config.framework_env}'"

This is called a ‘deploy hook’ and here’s more info.

via Deploy Hook using Binstubs

Since Engine Yard automatically installs your binstubs, you could also replace “bundle exec whenever” with “ey_bundler_binstubs/whenever”. If you want to be able to run “bin/whenever” you’ll have to symlink to ey_bundler_binstubs – but remember it’s in the current deploy directory, so you’ll have to do this per-deploy – which means you could stick this in the same before_restart.rb file (obviously it would need to be above the whenever block):

run "ln -nfs #{config.release_path}/ey_bundler_binstubs #{config.release_path}/bin"
on_app_master do
  # the following updates the crontab upon deployment
  run "cd #{config.release_path}; bin/whenever --set environment=#{config.framework_env} --update-crontab '#{}_#{config.framework_env}'"

Note for Utility Instances

UPDATE 11.4.2013: If you also want your cron jobs to work on all app servers (not just your app master), change “on_app_master” above to “on_app_servers”. For app servers and utilities, use “on_app_servers_and_utilities”. For utilities only, use “on_utilities”. As far as I can tell, there does not appear to be an option for only app master and utilities; if you need this, write two identical blocks with “on_app_master” and “on_utilities”.

via Custom Chef Recipes

Why would you also need to do a custom chef recipe? Because if you rebuild your cluster and don’t redeploy, your cron jobs won’t be created.

UPDATE 4.17.2012: If you’re on EY and not using custom chef recipes, you should start. A whenever recipe has been written and is detailed here. Info on how to start using custom chef recipes is here. It’s not so bad, really. One gotcha: your “appname” in the recipe is not your rails application name, but your EY application name – these can be different things!


jsTree: adding Expand All and Collapse All buttons

The documentation for jsTree is thorough, but not particularly easy to read. If you are looking for an easy way to add “Expand All” and “Collapse All” buttons, here’s one way:

<input type="button" value="Collapse All" onclick="$('#tree_container_id').jstree('close_all');">
<input type="button" value="Expand All" onclick="$('#tree_container_id').jstree('open_all');">

where ‘#tree_container_id’ is, of course, the ID of the container node for your tree.

Uploadify: changing scriptData with dropdowns

Uploadify is a pretty awesome jQuery/flash uploader. It’s made even more awesome by the stuff you can do with it on the fly.

For example, if you want to pass a variable chosen from a dropdown via the uploader, you can use uploadifySettings() to do so. Some people appear to have problems with this part, so here’s how I did it. (I’m not going to show you all the settings, since the docs give you a pretty good idea how to set it up. )

Say you have a dropdown in your form with the id of ‘upload_type’:

<select id="upload_type" name="upload_type">
<option value="1">First type</option>
<option value="2">Second type</option>

In your jQuery $(document).ready function (but outside the $(‘#upload’).uploadify function), put something like this:

$('#upload_type').change(function() {
var type_val = $(this).val();
$('#upload').uploadifySettings("scriptData", {"upload_type" : type_val});

Which means “Whenever the form field identified with ‘upload_type’ changes, update the ‘upload_type’ variable in scriptData if it exists; if it does not already exist in scriptData, add it.”

Note: I’ve only tried this in Uploadify 2.1.4.

Testing CKEditor in Ruby on Rails with Cucumber/Capybara

I have a textarea with the id of “request_details”, made into a CKEditor instance by jQuery: $(‘#request_details’).ckeditor();

(Check this page if you need some help getting CKEditor to work with jQuery, it’s dead simple)

Feature looks like this:  And I fill in "Here are some details" in the CKEditor instance "request_details"

Step looks like this:

When /^I fill in "([^"]*)" in the CKEditor instance "([^"]*)"$/ do |value, input_id|
browser = page.driver.browser

My least favorite phrase

I’ve decided on my least favorite phrase in the English language:

“Can’t you just…?”

Why is this my least favorite phrase? Because:

  1. It’s always in conjunction with a task that the questioner does not understand, but assumes should not be difficult at all;
  2. it is inherently second-guessing the person being asked, which is insulting;
  3. and, rather than asking if something is possible, as in “Can you?” or “Could you?”, the speaker is really saying, “This must be possible, and if you can’t do it, you’re an idiot.”

If you don’t understand how the system works, or what is involved with doing a task, please, ask if something is possible. Don’t demean the craftsman or browbeat them into doing whatever it is you want. A resentful craftsman is not on your side, and will not go out of his/her way to help you.

Using mysql2 on Windows

Another edition of Sara uses Rails on Windows! *muppety fanfare*

Trying to get mysql2 to run on Windows is a bit of a pain. I used the lovely installer from and then created an app with :

rails new testapp -d mysql

and then bundled.

By default this installs the mysql2 gem. There are some gotchas, and hopefully this will help:

  1. You have to install mysql first (derp!). Go here and pick either the 32 or 64 bit MSI installer, and use this guide to pick your options during the install (section II). I know, it’s an old guide, but it works fine. And it has pictures!
  2. You may get this error: “%1 is not a valid Win32 application.” This means you need to go here and get libmysql.dll, and copy it into c:RailsInstallerRuby1.8.7bin. Get the right version or your migrations will fail when you try to add indexes – the MySQL 5.5.9 64-bit version of libmysql.dll will NOT work! I got this version and it worked just fine: (you don’t need the MSI installer for this one, just grab a zippy file).
  3. Next error you may get is “rbreadline.rb:4404: uninitialized constant RbReadline::Encoding (NameError)”. Thanks to this blog post I found the answer is to go into c:RailsInstallerRuby1.8.7librubysite_ruby1.8rbreadline.rb, and comment out line 4404.

There you go! Rake away!

Github, https, and you

Banged my head against this for a while. Starting a new rails project, trying to get rails.js from github, but it’s failing every time:

SSL_connect returned=1 errno=0 state=SSLv3 read server certificate B: certificate verify failed (OpenSSL::SSL::SSLError)

So (after a lot of googling) I opened up gems/jquery-rails-0.2.7/lib/generators/jquery/install/install_generator.rb and added this just after the beginning of the InstallGenerator class (“class InstallGenerator < ::Rails::Generators::Base”) :

require ‘openssl’
All fixed! Pulled down the file with no hiccups.

Pik and Git Bash on Windows 7

Lately I’ve been installing Ruby on Rails on Windows 7, and have run into a few people trying to make my life easier. One is Sarah Mei, a wonderful member of devchix who has posted a guide for getting things running.  Hearts and bunnies and flowers for her.

Pik is a neat project for Windows that helps you switch between installed versions of ruby. I’m using the Git Bash shell (as mentioned in the guide above), so I had to do a bit of tweaking, and maybe you do too, so here goes:

For some reason the installer didn’t create my .pik/.pikrc file in my home directory, so if yours didn’t create either, this is how it should look:


function pik {
$pik_path/pik_runner.exe $@
[[ -s $USERPROFILE/.pik/ ]] && source $USERPROFILE/.pik/
unset GEM_HOME
unset GEM_PATH

Those last two lines within the pik function are because something isn’t working in the current version and the gems aren’t being loaded when you switch versions.

Once you have your .pikrc add this line to your .bash_profile (create one if you don’t have it in your home directory):

[[ -s $USERPROFILE/.pik/.pikrc ]] && source $USERPROFILE/.pik/.pikrc


ImageMagick: “convert: color profile operates on another colorspace `icc'”

Another installment of Sara Beats Her Head Against Tech:

When trying to convert images from RGB to CMYK with ImageMagick, the regular command to convert:

convert original.jpg -colorspace CMYK new.jpg

worked – but the converted image’s colors looked absolutely terrible. So I downloaded some color profiles, and tried to use them:

convert original.jpg -colorspace CMYK -profile sRGB_v4_ICC_preference.icc -profile Photoshop5DefaultCMYK.icc new.jpg

which just gave me the error:

convert: color profile operates on another colorspace `icc’

Searching the internet gave me absolutely no answers on any forum. Then I noticed in the docs, the example given for using profiles when the original has no profile embedded already was:

convert rgb_image.jpg -profile sRGB.icc -profile USCoat.icm cmyk_image.jpg

Wait. Something’s missing… AHA! The -colorspace option was missing!

convert original.jpg -profile sRGB_v4_ICC_preference.icc -profile Photoshop5DefaultCMYK.icc new.jpg

Works like a champ. So, if you’re getting the error “convert: color profile operates on another colorspace `icc’,” try making sure you’re not specifying BOTH the colorspace and the profile(s).

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