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Learn Ruby on Rails through Screencast Tutorials on GoRails

In this episode of Running in Production, Chris Oliver goes over how he builds and deploys his screencast tutorial platform called GoRails. The site handles about 2 million page views a year on a single $20 / month DigitalOcean server. GoRails has been up and running since 2014.

There’s a lot of useful nuggets of information in this episode around keeping a pulse on similar communities that you’re in. For example, Chris took a lot of inspiration from Laravel when it came to implementing the billing code for GoRails. Spoiler alert: Rails does scale.

Topics Include

  • 1:42 – Avoiding burn out by having a 2nd project to work on
  • 3:11 – Scratching your own business needs is a healthy way to drive a project
  • 4:13 – GoRails gets 2 million page views a year (~500k unique visitors)
  • 4:36 – Looking at Laravel for inspiration when it comes to batteries included
  • 7:12 – Talking a bit about Bootstrap vs Tailwind CSS
  • 9:47 – Being aware of developer driven vs user driven features
  • 10:24 – GoRails uses server side templates with Turbolinks
  • 13:11 – Using Turbolinks has been good but there are gotchas
  • 14:16 – Flatpickr is a really nice datetime picker with minimal dependencies
  • 14:43 – Websockets and Action Cable aren’t used in GoRails but it is with Hatchbox
  • 17:03 – Introducing just enough JavaScript complexity as needed, but no more
  • 18:54 – Trying to avoid heavy client side JS for performance issues on low end devices
  • 20:09 – GoRails is using Rails 6.x with Webpacker but it’s not using Sidekiq
  • 22:31 – Docker isn’t being used in development or production to keep complexity low
  • 23:40 – PostgreSQL is used as a primary database along with Redis for caching
  • 25:13 – Using the strong migrations gem to help make production migrations less scary
  • 28:23 – Hopefully more advanced database related features make its way into Rails
  • 29:31 – The entire GoRails site is hosted on a single $20 / month DigitalOcean server
  • 30:24 – Making extensive use of multi-level caching helps a lot for performance
  • 31:57 – Passenger is being used as the web server (it’s an nginx module)
  • 34:15 – Let’s Encrypt is still being used on the server for end to end encryption
  • 36:28 – Errbit is being used for catching errors which gets emailed back to him
  • 37:47 – Keeping tracking in house with Ahoy to keep costs down and help against fraud
  • 40:35 – Wistia is used for hosting / streaming videos and it has useful built in metrics
  • 43:04 – Manually transcoding video is hard and expensive (Wistia does the dirty work here)
  • 44:02 – Both Stripe and BrainTree are being used as payment gateways
  • 45:49 – Inspired by Laravel, Chris wrote a Rails Engine called Pay
  • 46:50 – It took 3 months to get payments to work with Stripe’s new SCA APIs
  • 48:12 – Accepting payments went from being simple to outrageously complex
  • 50:24 – You should deal with SCA now in the US to future proof yourself later
  • 52:06 – Even the database is hosted on that single $20 server (2 CPU cores / 4 GB of memory)
  • 52:36 – Honestly the database for GoRails is pretty tiny but it’s heavily backed up
  • 55:39 – Walking through the deployment process from development to production
  • 57:57 – GoRails isn’t using Hatchbox yet, but it will be eventually
  • 58:13 – Upgrading Ubuntu LTS releases gets tricky without a 2nd web server
  • 59:46 – Having a managed database would help with upgrading servers with minimal risk
  • 1:00:41 – There’s a few seconds of down time for each deploy at the moment
  • 1:01:30 – Passenger isn’t just for Ruby apps, it works with Python and Node too
  • 1:02:34 – Everything will come up automatically after a system reboot
  • 1:05:25 – Environment variables are protected with Rails’ encrypted credentials
  • 1:07:39 – Best tips? Things are more changeable than you think, keep it simple initially
  • 1:08-20 – Always keep your master branch deployable with automated tests
  • 1:10:12 – Open sourcing and writing about the tools you’ve built helps everyone
  • 1:13:08 – Chris is on twitter @excid3, also check out GoRails, Hatchbox.io and Jumpstart
πŸ“„ References
βš™οΈ Tech Stack
πŸ›  Libraries Used

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Questions

Jan 06, 2020

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