Today I Learned

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104 posts by doriankarter @dorian_escplan

Make console.log stand out with custom css style

I know your browser console is full of messages because you are debugging something, and that creates a lot of noise. Now you are adding a new console.log, and you need it to stand out above the rest.

Maybe you are like facebook and just want to warn your users from pasting in code in the browser in social engineering attacks.


To style a console.log message use the %c interpolation and pass it a css style. e.g.

console.log('%c%s', 'color:red;font-size:5em', alert)

In the example above %s means inerpolate the object into the output string.


Compatibility: tested to work on Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

h/t Dillon Hafer

Storing recurring schedules in #Rails + #Postgres

If you have a scheduling component to your Rails application you may need to store the day of week and time of day in the database.

One way to store the day of week is to use an integer column with a check constraint that will check that the value is between 0 and 6.

create table schedules (
  id serial primary key,
  day_of_week integer not null check(day_of_week in (0,1,2,3,4,5,6)),
  beg_time time not null,
  end_time time not null

Then when you read it back from the database and need to convert it back to day name you can use Date::DAYNAMES. e.g.:

[2] pry(main)> require 'date'
=> true
[3] pry(main)> Date::DAYNAMES
=> ["Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday"]
[4] pry(main)> Date::DAYNAMES[0]
=> "Sunday"
[5] pry(main)>

If you need to store time of day as entered (in a time without timezone column - as specified above) check out the wonderful Tod gem by Jack Christensen

More useful Homebrew searches #macOS #homebrew

Homebrew, the third-party package manager on macOS, allows searching for packages by name, but the list that comes out only contains package names. That’s not always very useful, particulary when you are not sure what you are looking for.

To get the package description along with the package name simply add --desc to your brew search command.

For example, let’s look for a library for performing file diffs with color highlighting:

$ brew search --desc diff
apgdiff: Another PostgreSQL diff tool
cdiff: View colored diff with side by side and auto pager support
cern-ndiff: Numerical diff tool
colordiff: Color-highlighted diff(1) output
cppad: Differentiation of C++ Algorithms
dhex: Ncurses based advanced hex editor featuring diff mode and more
diff-so-fancy: Good-lookin' diffs with diff-highlight and more

You can also search using regex in both the description and name of the package as long as you supply the --desc option:

$ brew search --desc /[cC]olor.*[dD]iff/
cdiff: View colored diff with side by side and auto pager support
colordiff: Color-highlighted diff(1) output
icdiff: Improved colored diff

Joining URI parts in Elixir

Elixir 1.3 introduced a standard way to join URIs.

For example, say we have a base URI for an API: and different endpoints on that URI: events, developers, applications.

To join the URI into one properly formatted string:

def endpoint_uri(endpoint) do
  |> URI.merge(endpoint)
  |> URI.to_string()

# then call it

endpoint_url("events") # => ""

URI.merge accepts both strings and URI structs as the first object so you can easily continue adding URI parts to the pipeline including query params:

|> URI.merge("events") 
|> URI.merge("?date=today") 
|> URI.to_string()

# => ""

Magically insert `iex -S` in front of a command

Often times you need to execute an elixir function with iex to enable pry breakpoints.

I found that I was doing a lot of fumbling in zsh to go back to the previous command, jump to the beginning of it and type out iex -S.

Since I like to automate repeatitive processes, I came up with this:

bindkey -s "^Xi" "^[Iiex -S ^[A"

Dump this line in your .zshrc or .bashrc and then all you have to do is Ctrl+xi to insert iex -S in front of the previously ran command.


Magic. 🎩

Download all of humble bundle books in parallel

Humble Bundle is a great site which offers technical book bundles. The problem is that they present the user with a huge list of links for all the different formats and it is a tedious task to right click each link and save it to your hard drive.

In order to solve this you can open the Developer Tools while on the download page and paste the following:

var pattern = /(MOBI|EPUB|PDF( ?\(H.\))?|CBZ|Download)$/i;
var nodes = document.getElementsByTagName('a');
var downloadCmd = '';
for (i in nodes) {
    var a = nodes[i];
    if (a && a.text && pattern.test(a.text.trim()) && a.attributes['data-web']) {
        downloadCmd += 'wget --content-disposition "' + a.attributes['data-web'].value + "\"\n";
var output = document.createElement("pre");
output.textContent = downloadCmd;


This will add a pre tag to the page with a bunch of wget commands. Go ahead and copy those to your clipboard.

Using GNU Parallel (brew install parallel). First save the contents of your clipboard into a file, for example download_jobs then run the following command:

parallel -j 4 < download_jobs

Replace 4 with the number of cores you have on your machine.

Then sit back and watch your directory get populated with files.

Surround every line in a file using sed

To replace every line in a file you can use linux’s built in sed utility:

For example given a file like this:


If we want to surround each line with Plug '$content_of_line' we can run the following command:

sed -e "s/\(.*\)/Plug '\1'/" .vimbundle.local


Plug 'dkarter/backpack'
Plug 'junegunn/fzf'
Plug 'junegunn/fzf.vim'
Plug 'junegunn/vim-peekaboo'
Plug 'junegunn/gv.vim'
Plug 'terryma/vim-multiple-cursors'
Plug 'scrooloose/nerdtree'
Plug 'dyng/ctrlsf.vim'
Plug 'haya14busa/incsearch.vim'
Plug 'killphi/vim-legend'
Plug 'neomake/neomake'

If the result is what we expected we can add -i flag to write the file in place, updating it with our changes:

sed -ie "s/\(.*\)/Plug '\1'/" .vimbundle.local

Pass name of function as a block

In Ruby it is possible to pass a function name instead of a block to a function expecting a block using &method in the last argument.

For example:

def blocky_fun(foo)
  bar = "hello #{foo}"

blocky_fun('blocky', &method(:puts))

The result of the above would be that the puts function will be called with “hello blocky” as the first argument.

Prettier ignore! 💁 #javascript

Prettier is super helpful but sometimes you just want to format things your way if the output of prettier is not very readable.

To solve this, prettier provides a comment that you can put above any “node” in the resulting javascript AST.

For example:

BEFORE (w/ prettier)

const street_number = this.findAddressComponent(
const route = this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'route').long_name;
const zip_code = this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'postal_code')
const city = this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'locality').long_name;
const state = this.findAddressComponent(

The above is a result of prettier formatting and is not very readable or pretty - so I would need to turn it into a single AST node and put the prettier-ignore comment over it:

AFTER (w/ prettier-ignore)

// prettier-ignore
const address = {
  street_number: this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'street_number').long_name,
  route: this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'route').long_name,
  zip_code: this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'postal_code').long_name,
  city: this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'locality').long_name,
  state: this.findAddressComponent(resultObj, 'administrative_area_level_1').short_name.toUpperCase(),

Now the address components will be accessible from the address object (e.g. address.route) and while still not the prettiest, it is a lot more readable IMO.

Enable history in IEX through #erlang (OTP 20) ⏳

If you are using the latest version of Erlang, OTP 20 now ships with shell history, so you can use Ctrl-p / Ctrl-n or the up/down arrow keys.

The shell history is turned off by default though, so you will have to turn it on by adding the following to your .zshrc/.bashrc etc.

export ERL_AFLAGS="-kernel shell_history enabled"

Once you do that make sure to source your bash config file or open a new window.

Every subsequent iex session will now have shell history. 🚀

"experience uses an unsupported version of Expo"


If this happens when developing a React Native app with Expo and trying to test it in the iOS Simulator, it means the version of Expo on the iOS Simulator is out of date.

To fix that try the following:

  1. Quit the Expo app on the simulator
  2. Uninstall the Expo app on the simulator
  3. Lunch the app again in the simulator from the Expo XDE

This will cause the Expo app on the simulator to reinstall with the latest version.

Move window (tab) in tmux

To move a new window to the left do this:

tmux-prefix, :swap-window -t -1

To move window to the right

tmux-prefix, :swap-window -t +1

You can also bind a key to that command:

bind-key S-Left swap-window -t -1
bind-key S-Right swap-window -t +1

Now it will be tmux-prefix, Shift + Left and tmux-prefix, Shift + Right

Require local package in mix.exs

In Elixir as you are writing your application it is recommended to split parts of it into smaller applications (also can be called micro-services if you want to be buzzword compliant).

You don’t however need to publish those dependencies to the Hex package manager in order to load them, instead you can use the path argument when defining a dependency.

In this example we have our main application Foo and in the directory above it we have an application called Bar.

To make the Bar module available in Foo we can do it like so:


defp deps do
    {:bar, path: "../bar"},

Module attribute constants nil in Elixir

Module attributes in elixir (@something) can be used as constants and assigned a value, however one must make sure that the value assigned to the constant is available at compile time.

For example when using a constant that loads environment variables if the value is not available in compile time they will resolve to nil.

@salt System.get_env(:your_app_name, "AUTH_SALT")

So either export the environment variables before compiling, or don’t use module attributes, instead you can use a function:

defp salt do
  System.get_env(:your_app_name, "AUTH_SALT")


  • The downside to using a function is that it will be re-evaluated each time.
  • The downside of exporting env-vars before compile is that they you might forget and your app will crash in production. You can circumvent that by writing a script for compilation.
  • You can also call System.get_env from your config.exs but make sure to run mix clean after doing so since the compiler seems to cache the config compilation.

Convert nested JSON object to nested OpenStructs

If you are parsing a nested JSON string such as this:

   "vendor": {
       "company_name": "Basket Clowns Inc",
       "website": ""

And want to access it with dot notation, simply doing:

will not do!

Turns out there is a cool option on JSON.parse called object_class:

JSON.parse(json_str, object_class: OpenStruct)

Now you can access the resulting object with dot notation all the way down: #=> ""

Set filetype/settings for a specific file in Vim

Given a file with a weird extension but an underlying known filetype e.g. yaml file with a .config extension. It is possible to force vim to set the filetype to yaml for that file:

At the top/bottom of the file add a comment (with the filetypes acceptable comment syntax - for yaml it is #):

# vi: ft=yaml
  foo: 'bar'

Re-open the file and vim will automatically set the filetype to yaml for that file.

This can also be used for setting other setting such as shiftwidth, tabstop etc

I’ve been using this trick for a while but keep forgetting it the exact syntax, usually using # vim: instead of # vi:. Hopefully my wording will make it more easily duckduckgoable.

Set foreign key to null on delete in #Postgres

Say you have a table with a foreign key:

id serial primary key
primary_image_id references images (id)

id serial primary key
post_id references posts (id)

If you attempted to delete an image from the images table while that image’s ID is referenced in one of the posts you will receive an error preventing you from deleting the image. Postgres is trying to protect your data integrity by preventing foreign keys that point to records which don’t exist.

To prevent errors and allow deleting records from the images table freely you must define the on delete strategy on the posts table.

One of the options available to you is set null so if you are creating a new table it will look like this:

create table posts (
  id int serial primary key,
  -- ...
  primary_image_id int references images (id) on delete set null

Now if the primary image is deleted it will set the primary_image_id to null.

This an alternative to on delete cascade which in this case will delete the post from the posts table and is not what we want.

Read the full documentation under ‘5.3.5. Foreign Keys’

Serve static files/directories in Phoenix

Phoenix will by default server some files and directories from priv/static. More specifically css/, fonts/, images/, js/, favicon.ico and robots.txt. If you need to add a new directory however simply creating it in priv/static will not make Phoenix serve it. You need to explicitly add it.

Say your project is called ChicagoElixir you will need to go to your endpoint configuration, typically in: lib/chicago_elixir/web/endpoint.ex. There you will find the following configuration:

  plug Plug.Static,
    at: "/", from: :chicago_elixir, gzip: false,
    only: ~w(css fonts images js favicon.ico robots.txt)

Simply add the new folder or file name to the list in only and restart your Phoenix server.

Run Prettier on all #JavaScript files in a dir

If you are like me you must like formatters such as Prettier which probably prompted you to set your editor to auto format the file on save.

That’s great for new projects but when working on an existing project, every file you touch will have a huge diff in git that can obscure the real changes made to the file.

To solve that you must run prettier on all your javascript files as an independent commit. You can do it with the following command:

find ./src/**/*.js | xargs prettier --write --print-width 80 --single-quote --trailing-comma es5

The flags after the prettier are all my personal preferences except for --write which tells prettier to write the file in place.

Note 1: Make sure you have all the files you are about to change committed to source control so that you can check them out if this did not go well.

Note 2: When committing this change it would be a good idea to use git add -p and go through the changes one by one (which is always a good idea…)

Note 3: To dry run and see which files will be changed run the find ./src/**/*.js by itself.

Fuzzy awesome copy to sys clipboard w/yank & fzf

Say you want to copy a pid of a process to system clipboard, you could run ps ax, maybe grep on the result, connect your trusty mouse and try to select the value and hit ⌘ + c.

Or you can use the amazing fuzzy finder FZF (brew install fzf) in combination with Yank (brew install yank).

ps ax | fzf | yank

Now simply start typing the name of the process. When you press return you will get the columns broken down into a selectable prompt - choose one and press return. It is now in your system clipboard.

Here’s a demo:


This will work with any column spaced or even multiline response. Try running ps ax | yank.

Code splitting with Webpack 2 and Babel

Webpack 2 provides the ability to split your code into smaller files that are lazy loaded during runtime as they are needed.

When I first learned about this feature I thought it would be very intelligent in detecting which parts of the code are using a certain module and split all my modules into separate files automatically. That’s not really the case.

If you want to have Webpack split your code and lazy load it you need to explicitly call import in your code. For example:

import Foo from './foo';

class Bar {
  baz() {
    Foo.someMethod(); // this will not be split and lazy loaded
    import('./lazy_module').then(function(lazyModule) {
    }).catch(function(err) {
      console.log('Failed to load lazy module', err);

To have this work you need to install the Syntax Dynamic Import library

Then edit your .babelrc:

  "presets": [["es2015", { "modules": false }]],
  "plugins": ["syntax-dynamic-import"]

The “modules”: false part is really important. It basically instructs Babel to not try and parse the imports but let Webpack 2’s native ability to parse imports to do the work. This was tricky.

There’s more to that and it keeps changing so I recommend visiting this documentation

Git Garbage Collection - optimize local repository

As you work with git a lot of garbage gets accumulated in your .git folder such as file revisions and unreachable objects.

On large repositories and long running projects this negatively affects both operating performance and disk space utilization.

To clean up the garbage git provides a command:

git gc

This will not impact the remote repository and will only optimize the local copy so it is safe to run on any git repo you might have. (In fact this operation is already run for you automatically after some git commands that leave behind too many loose objects)

If you want a deeper cleaning (which you should every few hunderd changesets or so), run:

git gc --aggressive

This will take longer but will provide better results.

To learn more:

git help gc

Yarn global

Just like npm install -g, Yarn provides yarn global add. I found however that it did not work right out of the box to register executable binaries/CLIs.

To fix this add the following to your .zshrc/.bashrc:

# set yarn binaries on path
export PATH="$HOME/.config/yarn/global/node_modules/.bin:$PATH"

Now all binaries installed from yarn should be on your system PATH.

Save disk space with Yarn

Yarn is a fast, reliable and secure replacement for npm. Those are all important attributes in my book for a tool I use daily for development, but that’s not all Yarn offers.

The node_modules directory is often a resource consuming hog both in space and number of files. It is full of junk such as test files, build scripts and example directories.

To clean some of those files Yarn offers the clean command. To run it:

yarn clean

Once run, the command will create a .yarnclean file with patterns of type of files to be deleted. By default yarn clean will delete the following:

# test directories

# asset directories

# examples

# code coverage directories

# build scripts

# configs

# misc

With this file in your project root directory Yarn will ensure to run a cleaning task after every install and report how much space it saved you.

Clean untracked files in Git

Given I am a developer
And I am working on a new branch in an existing project
And during one of my commits I introduced a few files/folders
And those files/folders are untracked (in .gitignore)
And those files/folders are automatically generated (e.g. node_modules/ webpack_bundle.js)
When I switch back to the main branch
Then I see those files
And I don’t want to…

If you find yourself in the above situation, you may want to clean your untracked files. Git provides a command for that: git clean.

This command comes with a way to see which files/folders are going to be deleted (DRY RUN):

git clean -n

You may notice that the above command does not show any untracked directories. To add directories to that list use the -d switch:

git clean -dn

Alternatively you may choose to only remove files/dirs that are in .gitignore with the -X option:

git clean -X -dn

If you are ready to take action use the -f switch and remove the -n switch:

git clean -fd

Set persistent font in MacVim

Like many, I have MacVim installed through Homebrew Cask. When I first started using MacVim, I had to change the font to a powerline supported font so that my Airline looks spiffy.

To do that I went to Edit -> Font -> Show Fonts and selected a font.

Unfortunately this setting gets wiped out with each update of MacVim, and since it updates often, which is great, having to set the font over and over is not.

To have your font setting persisted in MacVim add this to your .gvimrc:

set guifont=Source\ Code\ Pro\ for\ Powerline:h24

You can set what ever font you like, just make sure to escape the spaces with a slash.

To get powerline (and Airline) patched fonts go here:

Map Caps Lock to Escape in macOS Sierra #seil

macOS Sierra was made available to the public yesterday and many of us early adopters rushed to install and test it out.

One of the things that broke and really affected my workflow was that Seil, the program I use to remap Caps Lock to ESC, no longer works. It’s sister application Karabiner also stopped working.

Fortunately there’s a solution available from the developer of Karabiner and Seil. It’s a little more complicated than usual:

  1. Download and install Karabiner-Elements:

  2. Karabiner Elements will install a virtual keyboard driver, and you probably want to disable the default capslock behavior for the new virtual driver:

    disable capslock

  3. Use your favorite editor and edit the following file (create it if does not exist):

    vim ~/.karabiner.d/configuration/karabiner.json

    And add the following to it:

        "profiles": [
                "name": "Default profile",
                "selected": true,
                "simple_modifications": {
                    "caps_lock": "escape"

That’s it. Just make sure you have Karabiner Elements running.

Remove both scrollbars from MacVim

If you use MacVim you may encounter the gray Mac OS scrollbar on the right side.

When you split the window you may encounter two scrollbars, one on each side.

I find that to ruin the look of MacVim, especially with a dark colorscheme (I use Dracula).


To remove only the left one use

set guioptions=r

This will tell vim to always show the right scrollbar only. To remove only the right one use

set guioptions=l

To remove all scrollbars, remove everything after the equal sign

set guioptions=


Add this to your vimrc for a consistent experience.

Expecting change with RSpec #rails #testing #rspec

Usually when I try to test if a value has changed after a method has been called I will assert the initial value as one expectation followed by the action that changes it, and finally assert the value has changed.

For example this test will check if a user’s bad login attempts are incremented when the user.record_bad_login! method is called:

describe '#record_bad_login!' do
  let(:user) { FactoryGirl.create(:user) }

  it 'increments the bad login attempts count' do
    expect(user.failed_login_attempts).to eq(0)
    expect(user.failed_login_attempts).to eq(1)

RSpec provides us with a more straight forward way to “oneline” this type of test while making it more declarative:

describe '#record_bad_login!' do
  let(:user) { FactoryGirl.create(:user) }

  it 'increments the bad login attempts count' do
    expect { user.record_bad_login! }.to change { user.failed_login_attempts }.from(0).to(1)

Read more here:

Toggle CursorLine, CursorColumn w/Vim Unimpaired

Vim Unimpaired plugin by Tim Pope ships with a shortcut for quickly toggling CursorLine and CursorColumn. This is particularly useful on large files with plenty of syntax highlighting.

Turning CursorLine/CursorColumn off can speed buffer navigation by reducing the blocks being re-rendered on the screen, making Vim snappy again.

To use this shortcut type cox from NORMAL mode and Vim will toggle CursorLine and CursorColumn on and off.

h/t Chris Erin

DEMO: demo

Postgres age function #postgresql

If you want to select records according to a specific interval, like Rails’ ActiveSupport 1.year.ago PostgreSQL has you covered.

The age function returns an interval type and can be used in queries like so:

select * from sometbl where age(created_at) > '1 year';

By default the age function will use the current system time to calculate the age. If you want to calculate the age relative to a different time you can simply pass in another argument:

psql> select age(timestamp '2016-08-28', timestamp '1957-06-13');
 59 years 2 mons 15 days
(1 row)

You can also use the make_interval function to create intervals using numeric parameters:

psql> select make_interval(1,2,3,4,5);
 1 year 2 mons 25 days 05:00:00
 (1 row)

In a query it can be used like so:

select * from sometbl where age(created_at) > make_interval(1);

to select rows with created_at older than one year from now.

Read more about the age function and other cool date/time manipulations see the official documentation.

h/t Jack Christensen

Verify downloaded files from the web #security

If you download a file from the web on a public WiFi and want to run on your machine you might want to check if the file has not been tampered with by a man-in-the-middle-attack or if the file host has been breached.

The easiest way to do this is to check the publised md5 or sha-1 hash for that file (you can do that via your phone if you want to be extra secure). Not every package publishes that but if they do it will be on their website usually next to the download link.

To verify the file you will need to hash the file you downloaded using openssl. For example:

 $ openssl sha1 Kali-Linux-2016.1-vm-amd64.7z
 SHA1(Kali-Linux-2016.1-vm-amd64.7z)= 2b49bf1e77c11ecb5618249ca69a46f23a6f5d2d

Which matches the site’s published sha-1 hash:


If you want to check md5, simply replace sha1 in the command with md5.

Treat null as if it is a known value #postgresql

When you query a table sometimes you want to check if a nullable field is not equal to a value. For example:

select * from sometable where afield != 'avalue';

However the query above will exclude rows where afield is null, so you would typically add that as an additional condition:

select * from sometable where afield is null or afield != 'avalue';

When you are doing it once it may be ok but as queries get bigger this makes the query messy and harder to read. Fortunately Postgres offers a more idiomatic way to check if a value does not equal something, including null values: is distinct from and is not distinct from.

select * from sometable where afield is distinct from 'avalue';

This query will return all the rows where afield is null or anything but avalue. Conversely:

select * from sometable where afield is NOT distinct from (select x from y limit 1);

will return all the values that are equal to the result of the subquery above and is useful when the result of the subquery could be null.

h/t Jack Christensen

Original docs:

Grep through compressed (gzipped) log files

The logrotate linux utility automatically compresses your ever-growing production log files.

If you encountered an error and wanted to search the history including all compressed logs, you may have considered unzipping all of them into a directory and run a grep in that directory.

Fortunately linux offers a more idiomatic way for grepping gzipped files: zgrep.

From the manual:

zgrep, zegrep, and zfgrep act like grep, egrep, and fgrep, respectively, but accept input files compressed with the compress(1) or gzip(1) compression utilities.

h/t Jack Christensen

See how long a process has been running on #linux

If you started a long-running process and want to know how long it has been “on the run” so to speak, you can use the -eo switch on ps to specify you want the elapsed time like so:

ps -eo pid,cmd,etime

This will yield something like:

112 [aws/0]                  2-10:27:00
114 [aws/1]                  2-10:27:00
115 [aws/2]                  2-10:27:00
123 [aws/3]                  2-10:27:00

Which means that process aws has been running for 2 days, 10 hours and 27 minutes.

You can of course pipe the result to grep:

ps -eo pid,cmd,etime | grep aws

Bundle in parallel using full CPU powa!!! #rails

Don’t you wish there was a faster way to install your bundled gems for a project? Especially when cloning an existing Rails application from Github?

![more powa](

It turns out that since Bundler v1.5, Bundler supports Parallel Install.

To run bundler with parallel install use the --jobs option or -j for short.

Assuming your computer has 4 cores you can try

$ bundle install --jobs 4
$ # or
$ bundle install -j4

Finally if you want to set bundler to always use parallel install you can run this command:

bundle config --global jobs 4

The bundler team has seen speedups of 40-60%. That’s amazing!

h/t Micah Cooper && bundler documentation

Capture IO.puts in ExUnit tests

Whenever writing a CLI you often have to communicate something to the user via IO.puts, and while some languages make it complicated to capture output in a test, Elixir makes it extremely straight-forward.

All we have to do is import the ExUnit.CaptureIO module into our test which exposes the capture_io method.



defmodule MyApp.CLI do
  def main(argv), do
    # parse args ...
    # return :help if the -h switch is supplied
    # pass to process
    |> parse_args
    |> process
  def process(:help) do
    IO.puts "usage: my_app <arg1> <arg2>"

IO capturing test:

defmodule CliTest do
  use ExUnit.Case
  import ExUnit.CaptureIO
  test "prints usage instructions when the help switch is supplied" do
    execute_main = fn ->
    assert capture_io(execute_main) =~ "usage:"

For more information read the ExUnit.CaptureIO documentation

Your own vim <leader> key in a pairing situation

Leader keys in Vim let you set up powerful and easy to access shortcuts for commands you use often.

For example I use <leader>vr to open my .vimrc in a split. That looks something like this:

nnoremap <leader>vr :vsp $MYVIMRC<cr>

I also use it to edit my vim bundles which are managed using the amazing vim-plug:

nnoremap <leader>vb :vsp ~/.vimrc.bundles<cr>

Finally, after making changes to both I need to source my vimrc:

nnoremap <leader>so :source $MYVIMRC<cr>

This allows for quick iteration on my vim configuration.

In a pair scenario though I cannot use my own configuration and more often than not the differences can be problematic for my muscle memory. For example at Hashrocket we use the \ key as leader. In my personal vim setup I have <space> setup as the leader key. I find it to be more ergonomic and easier to access since I can slam it with either thumb. Since there can only be one leader key you might need to add a leader alias. That can be done simply by adding this: viml nmap <space> \ Remember not to use nnoremap if you wan this to work.

Use !! to quickly insert result of a bash command

Vim has the ability to read a result of a bash command into the current buffer. This can be done in many ways:

:read !echo "hello world"

To replace the content of the whole file with the result of a command use %!:

:%!cat file_to_copy_from.c

Similarly to replace the current line use . instead of %:


The command above will insert an ascii calendar into your buffer.

Last night I was testing to see what each of the keys in the number row do when used with the Shift key in Vim. One of the most interesting NORMAL mode mappings I found was the bangbang (!!). If pressed it opens the command line with .! and places your cursor right after that.

This allows for quickly bringing in data such as the date when you are working on a blog post.


Please tweet at me @dorian_escplan and @hashrockettil if you find other interesting uses for it.

Allow j and k to work on visual lines

Wrapped lines in Vim can be challenging at times. Try to move up or down in a perceived paragraph and instead of moving one line down/up you move to one of the ends of the paragraph.

To solve this you might be using gj and gk, but that slows your navigation considerably.

To allow vim to navigate between wrapped lines (visual lines) more naturally, as if they where hard lines, you can add the following mappings to your vimrc:

nnoremap k gk
nnoremap j gj

Now when you press j or k the cursor will move where you really intended for it to move. Normal j and k will still work as intended.

Script for bootstrapping a new project #bash #git

Creating a new project and publishing it usually involves many repeatitive steps. As developers we like to automate the tedious repetitive tasks to allow our creative juices to flow freely.

I wrote the following script for boostrapping a new project. Feel free to modify and add to your zshrc or bashrc:

function initprj() {
  # create the directory and cd into it unless the user uses '.'
  # to indicate current directory
  if [[ "$1" != "." ]]; then
    mkdir $1
    cd $1

  # setup git
  git init

  # setup remote repo on github and add it to git remote
  hub create

  # setup base files (add your own if you'd like)
  touch .gitignore

  # You must use tabs if you want to indent heredocs that use the <<- syntax
  cat <<-EOF > LICENSE
        Copyright (c) $(date +"%Y") Dorian Karter

        Permission is hereby granted, ...

To run the script simply type initprj my-project and watch the magic happen.

Note: you must have hub installed to create the remote repo.

React wrapper components with nested children

Say you want to create a component that acts as a wrapper such that you can pass it nested child components like so:

<WrapperComponent title="I am the wrapper">
  <ChildComponent body="Hello from child component" />

This can be achieved by using this.props.children as in this example:

class WrapperComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <div className="wrapper">

class ChildComponent extends Component {
  render() {
    return (

class App extends Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <WrapperComponent title="I am the wrapper">
        <ChildComponent body="Hello from child component" />

Mounting App will produce the following markup:

<div class="wrapper">
  <h1>I am the wrapper</h1>
  <p>Hello from child component</p>

Emoji Variables in Swift #🚀

Swift allows developers to specify variable names in unicode, which is very helpful if you and the rest of the developers to ever touch your code speak a non-english language which uses unicode characters:

let 你好 = "你好世界"

It is also useful if you want to specify special constants such as

let π = 3.14159

most importantly though, it allows developers to use emojis for variable names:

let 🐶🐮 = "dogcow"
let #🚀 = "Hashrocket"

but don’t take my word for it, read the official documentation which contains some of the above examples.

Note: the pound sign above (#) is unicode, that is why it is allowed as part of a variable name, whereas normal # sign is not.

P.S. to access emojis and other unicode symbols directly in the current edit field press ^⌘+\ on Mac.