This week we added two more episodes on RailsLab, both focused on improving the development phase of the lifecycle. Jim Gochee, New Relic’s engineering leader, created both episodes.
The first is a screencast called RAILS_ENV=local_production. It takes you through a very handy technique where you use your production databases to test the pre-production, or desktop version of your application. This helps you get past what can be a frustrating and time consuming development problem – creating a test database that looks like your real database and contains enough real data to enable a decent set of tests.
The second episode this week is a short paper called How Performance Feedback can Reduce Testing in Agile Development, which discusses a trend we are beginning to see within Rails shops, including our own. Using a good performance monitoring tool and agile development techniques, dev teams can safely accelerate their development speed by short circuiting or even omitting some app testing. Sounds scary? Jim and Ward Cunningham of Aboutus.org explain how going faster and application reliability can be compatible goals.