Hoptoad - Rails Exception Catching Made Easy

Have you ever installed the Exception Notification plugin in one of your Rails apps, just to get bombarded with E-Mails of the same error over and over again? It's happened to the best of us.

Thankfully, people in the Rails community have been working on different solutions to handle this. One I discovered recently, which I'm really loving a lot, is Hoptoad, brought to you by the awesome people over at thoughtbot. Really, how can you not be an awesome group when your blog is titled Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots?

Anyway, Hoptoad is a service which captures all exceptions that occur in your Rails application, and aggregates them into one place. This way, if you have, for example, a link to AJAX functionality that causes a 500 error, you'll only get one E-Mail notifying you about the error. The service will actually log the times it's happened, though. It also provides a full stack trace, session information, parameters that were passed, and just about everything else you need to make a full assessment on why your application failed. Oh, and one more important thing: it's totally free. Can't beat the price.

It's as simple as creating a new account and setting up a project, installing their plugin on your application, putting the assigned API key in an initializer file, and that's it! It took me about 2 minutes to set everything up the first time. The interface is pretty straight-forward. When you first log in, it will show if any of your projects has any errors (which any developer can mark as 'Resolved' so it won't show again). If there are (and face it, we all get errors at one point or another), then as I mentioned previously, you can view the stack trace to see what happened. Nice, simple and helpful.

I've noticed there are some other sites that offer these services (like Exceptional), but none that seem to have the simplicity of Hoptoad. Not that I think the other services are bad, but it's just not what I want at this moment. In my particular case, I really don't need to have an app that integrates with other services, let's me leave comments about an error, or see how many times in the past week the error occurred. I just want to know if my app is getting errors. Hoptoad does just that.

I fully recommend Hoptoad for any Rails app. If you don't have any sort of exception notifier in your app, you should get something now. If you do, then I hope you never have to constantly use it!

Written by

Dennis Martinez

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