Tagged RubyOnRails

Debug a Ruby on Rails server using VS Code

One of the drawbacks to using Ruby or Ruby on Rails in the inability to debug your code from within an integrated development environment, or IDE. For someone that is used to debugging in this way, Ruby feels like a large step back in their productivity.

My personal IDE of choice is VS Code. It’s a free IDE that was spun off of the Microsoft Visual Studio suite of tools and has really become one of the best free IDEs available today. Like many IDEs, VS Code has the ability to extend it’s core functionality using a catalog of extensions. I recently came across an extension that mentioned being able to use VS Code’s debugger with Ruby, so I dug in to figure it out.

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When you have a number that you have to display that’s greater than 10,000, it’s really tempting to hard-code the quantifier so you can shorten the number. Something like `12.6 Thousand`.

That’s all well and good, but we like numbers to grow. What happens when you hit 1 million? You don’t want 1000.1 Thousand showing up on your site. That’s no fun.

This is where Number_to_Human comes to the rescue. It pretty prints a number in a way that is more readable by us humans. For example, 12790000000 becomes 127.9 Million. And the best part? It will automatically switch over to 1.0 Billion when the time is right.

number_to_human(number, options = {})

This helpful helper method gives you lots of customizability too. Things like :precision, :separator, :delimiter, and :units can all be set by passing in custom values in the options hash.

It kinda just works how you would think too. Which is great.

number_to_human(123) # => "123"
number_to_human(1234) # => "1.23 Thousand"
number_to_human(12345) # => "12.3 Thousand"
number_to_human(1234567) # => "1.23 Million
number_to_human(1234567, precision: 1,
                         separator: ',',
                         significant: false) # => "1,2 Million"

Hopefully you can use this to remove hard-coded units from your views.

For full documentation, see the docs.


If you’ve ever wanted to implement a search function in your Ruby on Rails application, you might want to read up on excerpt. Built into ActionView, this helper function lets you extract an excerpt from text that matches a phrase.

This can allow you to show context along with the search results to a user, which is definitely better than just getting the page title.

excerpt(text, phrase, options = {})

excerpt('This is an example', 'an', radius:5)
# => ...s is an exam...

Through use of the provided options, you can control how much is seen on either side of the match.

# break on whitespace between words.
separator: ‘ ‘

# return 8 items on either side of the phrase
radius: 8

Let’s take a look at a more complex example to see how it might be helpful to use for a search results page.

excerpt('Today we had a very beautiful sunrise', 'very', separator: ' ', radius: 2
# => ...had a very beautiful sunrise

As you would expect, the excerpt grabbed the 2 words before and after the matched phrase. Since sunrise is the last word, you don’t see the ellipsis at the end. This gives you the context to know if that result is the one you are really after.

Hopefully you can use this to provide better context for your users.

For full documentation, see the docs.