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Rocket Mobile: Base Rails Application

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The base app is meant to give a common/recommended Rails app base configuration by:

  • Exhibiting gem choices and patterns that work and scale well togther
  • Providing a real-world starting place based on experience
  • Giving guidance as app features grow:
    • Breadcrumbs via comments in the code base
    • Detailed guides in the wiki
    • Feature branches

Getting started with the base app

  • Clone the repo with git clone your-app-name
  • Replace all instances of 'rails_base_app' with 'your-app-name' in project directory
  • Replace all instances of 'RailsBaseApp' with 'YourAppName' in project directory
  • Reconfigure .git/config to point to your repo (so you don't try to push back to the rails_base_app repo).
  [remote "origin"]
    url =<your-user-or-organization-name>/<your-repo-name>
    fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*

Using the base app

  • A Pages controller exists for you in app/controllers/pages_controller
  • A dynamic home page exists for you in app/views/pages/home.haml
  • A dynamic layout exists for you in app/views/layouts/application.haml
  • Zurb Foundation 5 is set up as the styling framework

  • Run rails s and navigate to localhost:3000 to get started


This setup 'just works' on the Heroku PaaS stack.

heroku apps:create rails-base-app
git push heroku master

You can now run heroku open to visit and get the root of the deployed application.



  • Secure signed assets with a unique encryption key
    • run heroku config:add SECRET_KEY_BASE=`rake secret`
  • Avoid server idling using New Relic Availability Monitoring
    • heroku addons:add newrelic
    • heroku addons:open newrelic to set up availability monitoring (Settings » Availability monitoring)
  • Host assets remotely using S3 and asset_sync
    • Generate initial assets by executing heroku run rake assets:precompile or pushing a new commit to Heroku
  • Host assets with regional edge caches using CloudFront
    • Set up a CloudFront distribution with your S3 bucket as the origin
    • Add the CDN_HOST config variable with your distribution's domain name, without the protocol (ex:
  • Put site behind basic authentication while under development or for staging
    • Add the BASIC_AUTH_USER and BASIC_AUTH_PASSWORD config variables
  • Analyze traffic with Google Analytics
  • Expire long-running requests
    • Set the RACK_TIMEOUT config variable to the number of seconds to allow a request to run before raising Timeout::Error
  • Continously deploy the 'golden' master branch
    • Run travis setup heroku to configure for automatic deploys after a passed test-suite
    • Add the strategy: git value to the deploy key in .travis.yml so user-env-compile works correctly
  • Use a russian-doll cacheing pattern
    • Add a memcached client with heroku addons:add memcachier
    • Use simple, auto-expiring cache keys in your views (ex:- cache model_object do <a bunch of haml that will generate many persistence-layer queries>)


  • Tests will run quickly using spring
    • A first call to bin/rspec will load spring binstub
    • Subsequent calls will not suffer the app startup penalty
  • View detailed test results and coverage in your browser
    • Open /coverage/index.html in a browser to see test coverage information
    • Open /coverage/results.html in a browser to see real-time test progress
  • Debug with the ease of debugger and the power of pry
    • Make a call to debugger anywhere in the application
    • The running process (e.g. foreman, rails console, rails server, rspec, or even spring) will hault with a pry prompt
    • Evaluate any ruby or execute any pry commands in the context of your debugger method
    • Type c and press enter to continue normal execution or your test/request/etc

Feature Examples and Guides

Some feature examples exist on branches that are rebased to the master branch. These branches show a few commits showing how to implement a particular feature, without any other noise. As a bonus, in theory (not always in practice), you can add a particular feature by merging in that branch.

git clone
git merge registerable-users
rake db:migrate
rails s

Feature Guides exist on the wiki as well, with details and explanations around choices made. Ideally, these guides are complemented by a feature branch.


  • See or create issues
  • Fork and create a branch for your changes
  • Tests are appreciated where pragmatic
  • Create a pull request with changes, take care about what branch your pull request targets
    • Master for a featureless application feature-specific branches for feature examples
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