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This is a proof-of-concept of automatically-expiring TODO notes.

TODO comments can be a plague on a software codebase. They begin as a good intention to go back and do something, but are easily forgotten or ignored. They can hang around in code for years. And unlike stale code, they're not excecuted, so they never cause anything to break.

DoBy makes your TODO comments complain when they become stale. You add a note using a special TODO method, providing a date which you to defer until. When your code runs, the expiry date on the TODO will be checked, and it will raise an error if it's overdue.

This forces you to look at the TODO task again. If it's no longer relevant, you can delete it. If you can fix it, you fix it. If you cannot fix it right now, change the date to something in the future to re-visit it again.

In addition to TODO, you could also add tasks for FIXME and OPTIMIZE


You can add reminders to specs or the actual implementation, anywhere that will be executed:

class Article < ActiveRecord::Base
  TODO 'add named scopes', '2014-06-01'
  OPTIMIZE 'improve this code', '2014-10-01'
  FIXME 'some_method is broken', '2014-05-01'

  has_many :comments
  # ...

The date can be anything parseable by Ruby's DateTime.parse method - 2014-06, June, etc.

Enable DoBy checks by setting ENABLE_DO_BY=1 in the environment. (It's made that way so it doesn't run by default on production environments. You wouldn't want accidents to happen!)

Before that date, everything will run as normal. After that date, the code will raise an exception:

DoBy::LateTask: 'fix this' is overdue (2014-06-01)


Why not just use the features my IDE/editor has for tracking TODOs?

You need to either remember to check these periodically, or choose to always display them when you run you tests. If these stick around for more than a short time you'll start ignoring them.


Several people have suggested that this concept could exist as a script which scans over the code for TODOs. That means the TODOs could stay as actual comments, supplemented with some metadata, e.g.:

# TODO [20140601] Fix Me

This script could run as part of a Continous Integration process so that it fails the build if there are overdue TODOs.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'do_by', github: 'andyw8/do_by'

And then execute:

$ bundle

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  5. Create a new Pull Request


Automatically expiring TODO notes in Ruby







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