Andrew Burke

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Posted on: 2006-01-25

I'm putting the finishing touches on my first big project written with Ruby on Rails. It's been a joy to work with - flexible and fast.

I'll write more about my experiences with Rails at another time - but one of the best things I've done with this application is to have it send me an email every time there's an error on the server. The email includes the URL in question, a stack trace, the last 10 events in the tracking log, and all of the elements stored in the current session.

I could have done this in Java - in fact I have in other projects - but the amount of flexibility and the richness of the resulting detail I was able to get without poking around through volumes of API documentation was great.

Getting an email whenever something goes wrong means that I'm often able to respond to issues before people even get the chance to tell me about it - or even before they notice there's a problem.

Also, deploying involves kicking the server and copying the files over - a process that takes about a second and doesn't kill anybody's session information - so I can deploy in the background without anybody noticing.

Of course, if I'd thoroughly implemented the unit and controller testing frameworks that come with Rails, I wouldn't have many of these errors in the first place - but hey I've managed to start flossing on a daily basis and don't drink soft drinks anymore - I can only do so many virtuous things at a time!

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