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Point Of View Blog
Make Jasmine run at (near) full-speed in a background tab

Jasmine environments have a default updateInterval value of 250 that determines how often, in milliseconds, execution of the next spec will be deferred so that the screen can be updated.

    var now = new Date().getTime();
    if (self.env.updateInterval && now - self.env.lastUpdate > self.env.updateInterval) {
      self.env.lastUpdate = now;
      self.env.setTimeout(function() {
      }, 0);
    } else {
      if (jasmine.Queue.LOOP_DONT_RECURSE && completedSynchronously) {
        goAgain = true;
      } else {

Both Chrome and Firefox now require a minimum value of one second for setTimeout in a background tab. This basically means that for every 250ms of work that we do, we end up sleeping for 1000ms.

This gist shows one way to tell Jasmine to not even bother trying to update the screen when running in the background.

var foregroundScreenRefreshRate = 1500;
var backgroundScreenRefreshRate = 9000;

jasmine.getEnv().updateInterval = foregroundScreenRefreshRate;

$(window).focus(function() {
    jasmine.getEnv().updateInterval = foregroundScreenRefreshRate;

$(window).blur(function() {
    jasmine.getEnv().updateInterval = backgroundScreenRefreshRate;

(Please refer to the gist for the most up-to-date code.)

This code makes Jasmine run at full-speed in a background tab in Chrome, but continue to be updated about once every 2.5 seconds when in a foreground tab. However, using this as-is in Firefox will result in a warning about an unresponsive script, if the tab is inactive. Luckily, you can continue to run Firefox in the foreground fine with this script (good for CI perhaps), or you can just override the dom.max_script_run_time variable to never get that warning, or you can set updateInterval to something less than the default 10 second max script run time.

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Chrome and Firefox throttle setTimeout/setInterval in inactive tabs

Do your Jasmine tests (or anything else) seem to lock up when they aren't the active tab in your browser?

Unfortunately, your new and modern browser is to blame. There are a few workarounds, but none of them are ideal in my opinion.

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Unwanted whitespace between elements

We recently came across a situation in our markup where we wanted whitespace in the markup for readability, but we didn't want that whitespace represented between the elements.

We found a fix that suggested using font-size: 0 in CSS to eliminate the whitespace. That worked fine in Chrome, but we found that in Firefox, the containing element no longer scrolled with the mouse wheel or arrow keys! Apparently Firefox's scroll speed is proportional to font-size.

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Standup 9/10/2009: "All Alias, All The Time"

Interesting Things

  • One team reported that Capistrano can't deal with host aliases in .ssh/config. Others use host aliases with capistrano without trouble. The problem could be related to multiple host aliases. All this led to the statement:

    If you are working with EY, you should go all alias, all the time.

  • Problems with JsUnit and Firefox 3.5. From Adam:

    If you're planning to use JsUnit, or you already use JsUnit and you plan to upgrade your Firefox to version 3.5, you may run into this problem. Apparently the security settings in Firefox were updated in 3.5 to restrict file access in a way that stymies JsUnit. If you don't fix this JsUnit will fail to open test files, and will simply hang on tests runs, with no error output. To fix it:

    • type 'about:config' in the Firefox URL bar
    • Filter by 'security.fileuri.strict_origin_policy'
    • Set this to false

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Standup 11/11/2008: Firefoxen goodness

Interesting Things

  • In response to our ask for help, Ray Baxter answered us in code with a script called Firefoxen. "It’s a script to automatically configure multiple installations of Firefox so that they open with different profiles." You can grab Firefoxen on GitHub. Thanks Ray!
  • IE7 sends odd Accept headers (*.* instead of an explicit text/html) which can cause undesired behavior in Rails. Someone suggested manually setting the format in a before_filter:

    params[:format] ||= 'text/html'
    This was discouraged because it can cause problems elsewhere. A better solution was to put the html format at the top of any `respond_to` blocks:
    def show
      respond_to.html # run by default when type cannot be determined
  • The Ruby MySQL Gem version 2.7 leaks memory for very large queries. The solution is to remove the 2.7 gem and manually install version 2.8 from source. This library is no longer a gem and must be installed from the mysql-ruby-2.8 tarball.

Ask for Help

"As a followup to Firefox SSL certificate problems..."

It turns out that our server running nginx had an old version of OpenSSL installed. Upgrading OpenSSL solved the problem.

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