Today I Learned

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9 posts by mattblack @mattblackdev

Use Typescript to help migrate/upgrade code

I am tasked with migrating a large javascript codebase from using the beta version of firebase-functions to the latest. Like most major upgrades, there are many API changes to deal with. Here’s an example cloud function:

Beta version with node 6:

exports.dbCreate = functions.database.ref('/path').onCreate((event) => {
  const createdData =; // data that was created

Latest version with node 10:

exports.dbCreate = functions.database.ref('/path').onCreate((snap, context) => {
  const createdData = snap.val(); // data that was created

The parameters changed for onCreate.

In the real codebase there are hundreds of cloud functions like this and they all have varying API changes to be made. With no code-mod in sight, I’m on my own to figure out an effecient way to upgrade. Enter Typescript.

After upgrading the dependencies to the latest versions I added a tsconfig:

  "compilerOptions": {
    "module": "commonjs",
    "outDir": "lib",
    "target": "es2017",
    "allowJs": true,
    "checkJs": true,
  "include": ["src"]

The key is to enable checkJs so that the Typescript compiler reports errors in javascript files.

And running tsc --noEmit against the codebase provided me with a list of 200+ compiler errors pointing me to every change required.

How to setup VS Code for Ruby development

After some trial and error with the various extensions available for Ruby, I’ve found the following combination to work well:

Ruby for debugging, syntax highlighting and linting. I use these VS Code User Settings:

"ruby.useLanguageServer": true,
"ruby.lint": {
  "ruby": true

Solargraph for intellisense and autocomplete.

endwise for wisely adding end to code structures. (Inspired by tpope’s endwise.vim)

Prettier and plugin-ruby for formatting.

Prettier plugin support is on the way, but for now we have to do this

Bonus for Rails: PostgreSQL for writing queries within the editor.

How to write a render prop

Hi my name is Matt. This is how to write a dependecy-inverted React component using the render prop pattern. It’s useful when you want to encapsulate and share common logic without knowing how it will be used or what children it should render. The render prop pattern is the successor to higher-order components and solves HoC’s problems with naming collisions.

If you’re on the latest version of React (>= 16.8) you should probably use a custom hook instead.

function FullName({ children, firstName, lastName }) {
    const fullName = firstName + ' ' + lastName
    return children(fullName)

// Usage:
function App() {
  return (
    <FullName firstName="Thor" lastName="Odinson">
        {fullName => <h1>Hello {fullName}!</h1>}