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Style Guide

A guide for programming in style.

High level guidelines:

  • Be consistent.
  • Don't violate the conventions without a good reason.
  • Don't rewrite existing code to follow this guide.


  • Have Heroku remotes named "staging" and "production."
  • Use a Procfile to configure your services.
  • Use the Cedar stack.


  • Perform work in a feature branch.
  • Prefix feature branch names with your initials.
  • Rebase frequently to incorporate upstream changes.
  • Write a good commit message.
  • Use a pull request for code reviews.
  • Delete local and remote feature branches after merging.
  • Avoid including files in source control that are specific to your development machine or process.


  • Delete trailing whitespace.
  • Don't include spaces after (, [ or before ], ).
  • Don't vertically align tokens on consecutive lines.
  • Indent continued lines two spaces.
  • If you break up an argument list, keep the parenthesis on its own line.
  • If you break up a hash, keep the curly braces on their own lines.
  • Indent private methods equal to public methods.
  • Use 2 space indentation (no tabs).
  • Use an empty line between methods.
  • Use spaces around operators, after commas, after colons and semicolons, around { and before }.
  • Break long lines after 80 characters.
  • Avoid inline comments.


  • Avoid abbreviations.
  • Avoid types in names (user_array).
  • Name the enumeration parameter the singular of the collection.
  • Name variables, methods, and classes to reveal intent.
  • Treat acronyms as words in names (XmlHttpRequest not XMLHTTPRequest), even if the acronym is the entire name (class Html not class HTML).


  • Use CoffeeScript.


  • Initialize arrays using [].
  • Initialize empty objects and hashes using {}.
  • Use CamelCase for classes, mixedCase for variables and functions, SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE for constants, _single_leading_underscore for private variables and functions.


  • Avoid conditional modifiers (lines that end with conditionals).
  • Avoid ternary operators (boolean ? true : false). Use multi-line if instead to emphasize code branches.
  • Define the project's Ruby version in the Gemfile.
  • Prefer detect over find
  • Prefer select over find_all
  • Prefer map over collect
  • Prefer inject over reduce
  • Use _ for unused block parameters
  • Use %{} for single-line strings needing interpolation and double-quotes.
  • Use && and || for Boolean expressions.
  • Use {...} for single-line blocks.
  • Use do..end for multi-line blocks.
  • Use ? suffix for predicate methods.
  • Use CamelCase for classes and modules, snake_case for variables and methods, SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE for constants.
  • Use def with parentheses when there are arguments.
  • Use each, not for, for iteration.
  • Use heredocs for multi-line strings.
  • Use def self.method, not def Class.method or class << self.
  • Prefer single quotes for strings.


  • Avoid the :except option in routes.
  • Avoid member and collection routes.
  • Don't reference a model class directly from a view.
  • Don't use SQL or SQL fragments (where('inviter_id is not null')) outside of models.
  • Keep the db/schema.rb under version control.
  • Name initializers for their gem name.
  • Order controller contents: filters, public methods, private methods.
  • Don't use protected controller methods.
  • Order model contents: constants, macros, public methods, private methods.
  • If there are default values, set them in migrations.
  • Use _path, not _url, for named routes everywhere except mailer views.
  • Use def self.method, not the scope :method DSL.
  • Use SQL, not ActiveRecord models, in migrations.
  • Use the default render 'partial' syntax over render partial: 'partial'.
  • Use the :only option to explicitly state exposed routes.

Background Jobs

  • Define a PRIORITY constant at the top of delayed job classes.
  • Define two public methods: self.enqueue and perform.
  • Put delayed job classes in app/jobs.



  • Avoid its, let, let!, specify, before, and subject.
  • Don't prefix it block descriptions with 'should'.
  • Name outer describe blocks after the method under test. Use .method for class methods and #method for instance methods.
  • Order factories.rb: sequences, traits, factory definitions.
  • Order factory definitions alphabetically by factory name.
  • Order factory attributes: implicit attributes, explicit attributes, child factory definitions. Each section's attributes are alphabetical.
  • Use one factories.rb file per project.
  • Use an it example for each execution path through the method.
  • Use stubs and spies (not mocks) in isolated tests.
  • Avoid using instance variables in tests.


Always be learning.

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