Adding a Sitemap to Google for Sites on Heroku

I’m using the awesome Sitemap Generator gem for Rails  and also hosting my app on Heroku.  Since I’m updating my sitemap daily, and Heroku forces me to write to somewhere else, I need to create the sitemap nightly on Amazon Web Services (S3), instead.

The problem I ran into is that when I went to Google Webmaster Tools, it only allowed me to specify a url for the sitemap beginning with the name of my domain.  However, since the sitemap is hosted on AWS, it has an address that starts with an Amazon URL.

I found an answer here.

Basically what you need to do is to add a second property in Google Webmaster Tools for your S3 bucket.  I added a property to my directory with the sitemap (i.e. and then verified that I owned the property by placing the Google supplied HTML file in the sitemaps folder on S3.

The last step is adding the URL to the sitemap in settings for the new [S3] property that was added to Google Webmaster Tools.

Setting Paperclip Image URL

I had to find the URL of Paperclip images in order to use them in meta tags.  This is what I ended up doing (where User is the model and image the attachment name):


Removing Requirement for “Current Password” in Devise

I’m using the Devise gem and I wanted to only require the “Current Password” field for account updates when the password was being changed.  For other changes, I didn’t want to require the field.  This requirement was also important for me because some of my Users sign-up using Facebook.  In these cases, they might not have a password and would not be able to make any account changes.

I found my answer in this SO question and this Devise article.

First, you need a Registrations controller for your resource (in my case, the resource being used with Devise is my User model), if you don’t have one already:

in controllers:

  1. Create users/registrations_controller.rb
    Users::RegistrationsController < Devise::RegistrationsController
    def update
    self.resource = resource_class.to_adapter.get!(send(:"current_#{resource_name}").to_key)
       if resource.update_with_password(params[resource_name])
         set_flash_message :notice, :updated if is_navigational_format?
         sign_in resource_name, resource, :bypass => true
         respond_with resource, :location => after_update_path_for(resource)
         respond_with_navigational(resource){ render_with_scope :edit }
  2. Add this to routes.rb
    devise_for :users, controllers: {registrations: 'registrations'}

Next, add new methods to your model (user.rb in my case):

#to remove the current password check if updating a profile originally gotten via oauth (fb, twitter)

  def update_with_password(params={})
    if params[:password].blank?

  def update_without_password(params={})

    result = update_attributes(params)
  def verify_password_and_update(params)
    #devises' update_with_password 
    current_password = params.delete(:current_password)

    if params[:password].blank?
      params.delete(:password_confirmation) if params[:password_confirmation].blank?

    result = if valid_password?(current_password)
      self.attributes = params
      self.errors.add(:current_password, current_password.blank? ? :blank : :invalid)


Adding WYSIWYG / Rich Text Editor to Rails App

I wanted to allow my users to format text input into a text area, so I decided to use CKEditor.  Luckily, there’s a great gem for this.  For my Rails app (Rails 4), all I had to do to get started was:

  1. Add this to the gemfile: gem ‘ckeditor’
  2. bundle install
  3. Add this to application.js: //= require ckeditor/init
  4. Adjust my text area in the form, I’m using the Simple Form gem (the documentation shows how to integrate with different form types): <%= f.input :text, label: “Lesson Text”, :as => :ckeditor, input_html: { :ckeditor => {:toolbar => ‘Full’} %>
  5. In config/initializers/assets.rb add this: Rails.application.config.assets.precompile += %w( ckeditor/* )

That’s all you need to do to get started with CKEditor.  However, this default comes with a ton of options for editing text.  For my site, it was too much.  For example, I did not want to allow some formatting changes, such as font size, font type, or color just so I could keep a consistent look across my app.  Also, I didn’t want to allow people to be able to upload files using the editor (although you can – the documentation shows you how to do this by tying the upload to Carrierwave or Paperclip).

So I needed to create a custom toolbar configuration.  Luckily, the gem makes this easy.

In app/assets/javascripts/ckeditor/config.js you need to add configuration.  The easiest way for me to do this was to copy the configuration from the gem (in the gem’s files – app > assets > javascripts > ckeditor) into the file, and then cut out what is not needed:

Copyright (c) 2003-2011, CKSource – Frederico Knabben. All rights reserved.
For licensing, see LICENSE.html or

CKEDITOR.editorConfig = function( config )
// Define changes to default configuration here. For example:
// config.language = ‘fr’;
// config.uiColor = ‘#AADC6E’;

/* Filebrowser routes */
// The location of an external file browser, that should be launched when “Browse Server” button is pressed.
config.filebrowserBrowseUrl = “/ckeditor/attachment_files”;

// The location of an external file browser, that should be launched when “Browse Server” button is pressed in the Flash dialog.
config.filebrowserFlashBrowseUrl = “/ckeditor/attachment_files”;

// The location of a script that handles file uploads in the Flash dialog.
config.filebrowserFlashUploadUrl = “/ckeditor/attachment_files”;

// The location of an external file browser, that should be launched when “Browse Server” button is pressed in the Link tab of Image dialog.
config.filebrowserImageBrowseLinkUrl = “/ckeditor/pictures”;

// The location of an external file browser, that should be launched when “Browse Server” button is pressed in the Image dialog.
config.filebrowserImageBrowseUrl = “/ckeditor/pictures”;

// The location of a script that handles file uploads in the Image dialog.
config.filebrowserImageUploadUrl = “/ckeditor/pictures”;

// The location of a script that handles file uploads.
config.filebrowserUploadUrl = “/ckeditor/attachment_files”;

config.allowedContent = true;

// Toolbar groups configuration.
config.toolbar = [
{ name: ‘document’, groups: [ ‘mode’, ‘document’, ‘doctools’ ], items: [ ‘Source’] },
{ name: ‘clipboard’, groups: [ ‘clipboard’, ‘undo’ ], items: [ ‘Cut’, ‘Copy’, ‘Paste’, ‘PasteText’, ‘PasteFromWord’, ‘-‘, ‘Undo’, ‘Redo’ ] },
// { name: ‘editing’, groups: [ ‘find’, ‘selection’, ‘spellchecker’ ], items: [ ‘Find’, ‘Replace’, ‘-‘, ‘SelectAll’, ‘-‘, ‘Scayt’ ] },
// { name: ‘forms’, items: [ ‘Form’, ‘Checkbox’, ‘Radio’, ‘TextField’, ‘Textarea’, ‘Select’, ‘Button’, ‘ImageButton’, ‘HiddenField’ ] },
{ name: ‘links’, items: [ ‘Link’, ‘Unlink’, ‘Anchor’ ] },
{ name: ‘insert’, items: [ ‘Image’, ‘Flash’, ‘Table’, ‘HorizontalRule’, ‘SpecialChar’ ] },
{ name: ‘paragraph’, groups: [ ‘list’, ‘indent’, ‘blocks’, ‘align’, ‘bidi’ ], items: [ ‘NumberedList’, ‘BulletedList’, ‘-‘, ‘Outdent’, ‘Indent’, ‘-‘, ‘Blockquote’, ‘CreateDiv’, ‘-‘, ‘JustifyLeft’, ‘JustifyCenter’, ‘JustifyRight’, ‘JustifyBlock’ ] },
{ name: ‘styles’, items: [ ‘Styles’, ‘Format’, ‘Font’, ‘FontSize’ ] },
{ name: ‘colors’, items: [ ‘TextColor’, ‘BGColor’ ] },
{ name: ‘basicstyles’, groups: [ ‘basicstyles’, ‘cleanup’ ], items: [ ‘Bold’, ‘Italic’, ‘Underline’, ‘Strike’, ‘Subscript’, ‘Superscript’, ‘-‘, ‘RemoveFormat’ ] }

config.toolbar_mini = [
{ name: ‘paragraph’, groups: [ ‘list’, ‘indent’, ‘blocks’, ‘align’, ‘bidi’ ], items: [ ‘NumberedList’, ‘BulletedList’, ‘-‘, ‘Outdent’, ‘Indent’, ‘-‘, ‘Blockquote’, ‘CreateDiv’, ‘-‘, ‘JustifyLeft’, ‘JustifyCenter’, ‘JustifyRight’, ‘JustifyBlock’ ] },
{ name: ‘styles’, items: [ ‘Font’, ‘FontSize’ ] },
{ name: ‘colors’, items: [ ‘TextColor’, ‘BGColor’ ] },
{ name: ‘basicstyles’, groups: [ ‘basicstyles’, ‘cleanup’ ], items: [ ‘Bold’, ‘Italic’, ‘Underline’, ‘Strike’, ‘Subscript’, ‘Superscript’, ‘-‘, ‘RemoveFormat’ ] },
{ name: ‘insert’, items: [ ‘Image’, ‘Table’, ‘HorizontalRule’, ‘SpecialChar’ ] }

What I ended up with was this:

CKEDITOR.editorConfig = function( config )
// Toolbar groups configuration.
config.toolbar_mini = [
{ items: [ ‘Bold’, ‘Italic’, ‘Underline’, ‘Strike’] },
{ name: ‘paragraph’, groups: [ ‘list’, ‘indent’, ‘blocks’, ‘align’, ‘bidi’ ], items: [ ‘NumberedList’, ‘BulletedList’, ‘-‘, ‘Blockquote’ ] },

And then, I updated the toolbar configuration in my view: <%= f.input :text, label: “Lesson Text”, :as => :ckeditor, input_html: { :ckeditor => {:toolbar => ‘mini‘} %>

You can find additional configuration options for CKEditor here and here.

Testing Braintree on Ruby on Rails

I’m using Braintree with a Ruby on Rails app via the braintree_ruby gem.

I needed to test responses in some of my tests.  Here’s how I was able to simulate some transactions.

I created a transaction, such as this:

result = :amount => “100.00”, :payment_method_nonce => nonce_from_the_client )

To simulate different types of transactions, I changed nonce_from_the_client to the different options here putting the string in quotation marks.

To test a declined transaction, I used a nonce for a declined transaction and adjusted the amount to one that would fail, such as this:

result = :amount => “2000.00”, :payment_method_nonce => “fake-processor-declined-visa-nonce” )


Simple_Form Custom Errors

I had some error messages not appearing in simple_form because the fields they were related to did not appear in the simple_form.  Normally, simple_form will highlight the field in the form that has a problem and display the error message next to it.  However, since the field related to the error wasn’t in the form, there was no message being shown.

To solve this, I had to add some additional code to display the text of the error message.

I fixed it by adding this to my simple_form forms:

<%= render 'shared/error_messages', object: f.object %>

and then created a partial, _error_messages (shared/_error_messages):

<% if object.errors.any? %>

<% end %>

Rails 4 Testing Email

My new favorite way to test email is to use the Mailcatcher gem.  It’s easy to install the Mailcatcher gem (per the instructions, do not include it in your gemfile due to the high likelihood that it will mess something up).

It’s as easy as the instructions say:

  1. gem install mailcatcher (in cmd window)
  2. mailcatcher (in cmd window)
  3. Go to http://localhost:1080/
  4. Send mail through smtp://localhost:1025
  5. Add these to you development.rb file:
    config.action_mailer.delivery_method = :smtp
    config.action_mailer.smtp_settings = { :address => "localhost", :port => 1025 }

After you do that, you can go into your rails console and send emails.  Once you send emails, when you visit

You’ll see the emails that were sent.  The screen will look somewhat similar to an email client, and you see tabs to see the html, as well as text, versions of the email.

I’m using Sendgrid and Heroku, if you have the same set-up, you may have to comment out the config settings in your environment.rb file.