Preparing for CSS Naked Day with Ruby on Rails

So you are sitting there around the house watching reruns of Smallville and Seinfeld and you think, “I wish I could jump onto the CSS Naked Day bandwagon with my Ruby on Rails application”, well you are in luck. Conditional statements in Rails are a piece of cake and with logical expressions like “unless” we save ourselves a ton of code.

In our layout when we call our stylesheet link tag we would just add some conditional code to the end like this:

<%= stylesheet_link_tag "default"
unless ( == 4) and ( == 5) %>

And that’s it, show the stylesheet unless it’s April 5th. The carriage return is for the blog, this can go on one line. I do have to say, be nice to your users here, you just might break the shit out of some of your UI without your CSS. Most Rails applications have more then just a blog on them so I suggest not doing this on a production application (do I really need to be saying this?).

DRYing Up Our Testimonial Partial

So for those of you that ran through the and created your very own random testimonial helper, I’m going to create another help to and were are going to make a few updates to our partial. First we have to do a few things:

  1. Rename our _random_testimonial.rhtml partial to _testimonial.rhtml
  2. Open our partial and remove the random_ from lines 2 and 3 leaving testimonial.[object]
  3. Open our application_helper.rb and edit out random_ on the line rendering the partial.
  4. Give the code a test

Everything should be just fine. All we have done is removed the usage of “random_” when it comes to using our partial. All the other code is the same here. So why would we do such a thing? Well… what if we had a page that we wanted to show all of our testimonials on? We already have a perfectly good partial view – we might as well take advantage of it. So in my testimonials_helper.rb I make another helper as such:

def all_testimonials
  @testimonials = Testimonial.find(:all)
  render(:partial => 'shared/testimonial', :collection => @testimonials)

Notice how I’m using the same partial here. Now in my testimonials controller I’ll just create a blank index method. The in my view testimonials/index.rthml I’ll just call the <%= all_testimonials %> helper.

Now I can use the both helpers with the same partial depending on the output I’m trying to active.

Now granted, we could use a method supporting polymorphism to DRY this up a little more, but I’ll let you experiment more with that yourself, when it comes to displaying testimonials on a page I don’t think I’m going to take the code THAT far.

Solving the Fizzbuzz Puzzle with Ruby

So back in February Jeff Atwood over at was talking about a puzzle to give prospective new-hires when interviewing them entitled “Fizzbuzz”. You can read more about it here.

So with a little thought I decided to solve the fizzbuzz puzzle using Rudy and an Array.

count = 0
100.times do
  count += 1
  fb = []
  fb << "Fizz" if (count % 3) == 0
  fb << "Buzz" if (count % 5) == 0
  fb << count if (count % 3) != 0 and (count % 5) != 0
  puts (fb.join "")

For those of you that are curious as to why I used a local variable of count rather then the index identifier, is because the article by Jeff Atwood requests a loop from 1-100 and Ruby starts looping at 0.

Random Testimonials with Rails

A common functionality seen on many websites is to display a random testimonial from a client or customer of your product on a side bar or within the masthead, doing this in Rails is quite simple and is done with the assistance of a Rails helper and rendering a partial.

First off course you are going to need to generate your model within your command prompt/terminal insuring that you are in your projects directory:

script/generate model Testimonial

I’m expecting here that you are familiar enough with rails to create the migration file yourself and add a field for both the testimonial itself as well as the signature. Note Rails currently at 1.2.3 has an issue when using the name “quote” for a column name in your table.

Next let’s code the helper. In our helpers folder let’s open the application_helper.rb and add the following:

def show_random_testimonial
  @random_testimonial = Testimonial.find(:first, :order => 'RAND()')
  render(:partial => 'shared/random_testimonial', :object => @random_testimonial)

I like to put all my partials in a separate subdirectory in my views called shared.

Alright, so now create that shared directory in the view directory and create the file _random_testimonial.rhtml to use as our partial. Here we go:

  <p><%= random_testimonial.statement %></p>
  <cite><%= random_testimonial.signature %></cite>

You’ll notice above that I called my column for the testimonial itself “statement” which is a text field, and “signature” for the customer’s name which is a string/varchar. Now all you have to do is open up your layout file and call the helper <%= show_random_testimonial %> wherever you want your random testimonial to appear.

So that’s it. Until next time.