Using AJAX and HandlebarsJS in Ruby on Rails

September 8, 2016 | Javascript, Ruby, Web Development

AJAX, HandlebarsJS, Rails Tutorial

In this post I’m going to show you how to create a simple single page Rails app using AJAX and HandlebarsJS. This is a great pattern to use for small, dynamic apps that’s quick and easy to implement.

You’ll need:
– Knowledge of Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Javascript, and JQuery
– The active_model_serializers gem, to serialize our model instances
JSONView Chrome Extension, to make any of our JSON rendered in the browser more readable
– A basic understanding of HandlebarsJS
– Some knowledge of how AJAX works

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Rails Project Management AJAX Refactor

Now with 100% more AJAX

No, not that AJAX.

About one month ago, I finished version 1 of Rails Project Management, my first full scale web application, for my Flatiron School Ruby on Rails assessment. My next assessment was to refactor the program with Javascript and implement dynamic features only possible through JQuery and a JSON API. I decided to focus on refactoring some of the CRU functionality for Projects, Tasks, Comments, and Notes so they use AJAX instead of full page refreshes. This project was also a great learning experience for using HandlebarsJS, a Javascript templating tool. While the “remote: true” pattern would have been easier, the assessment required that we not use it.

In this post I’ll do a deep dive into how and why I refactored each feature.

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Rails Project Management

Rails Project Management, (or just RailsPM) is my first full scale web application, built from scratch for my Flatiron School Ruby on Rails assessment. As a former project manager, I thought it would be fun to build an app based on the knowledge I acquired at my previous job. While realistically I wouldn’t be able to currently build an application that could complete with robust software on the current market (like Teamwork, my favorite PM application), I had a lot of fun in the process. There were a number of challenges I faced along the way but I also learned a lot!

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Sinatra Car Maintenance Tracker

The Sinatra Car Maintenance Tracker is my first real web application, utilizing the Sinatra framework, Rack, and Active Record. I went through a number of different ideas (exercise tracker, chess game tracker) and rebuilt my application several times before I finally settled on the car maintenance tracker. Basically, it allows a user to keep track of the maintenance records for their vehicle. As a car owner (1999 Honda Civic), I’ve never been good at tracking my maintenance (I’m one of those people who prefers to do the maintenance myself, instead of taking it to a mechanic).

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Why I switched to Web Development

It wasn’t an easy decision to make. But I’ve never been happier. I decided to switch my career to Web Development for several reasons:

– I was experiencing a growing lack of fulfillment in my previous occupation, since I was in more of a managerial role and not as hands-on with production
– Web development is an in-demand skill
– It’s a well respected profession – web developer’s are like the tech industry’s rock stars! (okay, that might be an exaggeration)
– On a personal level, it’s important to understand the foundations of technology, which we interact with every day

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