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Release It! by Michael T. Nygard

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Configuration Files

Ruby on Rails might favor convention over configuration, but every piece of enterprise-class software I’ve seen has scads of configuration files containing hostnames, port numbers, filesystem locations, ID numbers, magic keys, usernames, passwords, and lottery numbers. (I made that last one up.) Get any of these properties wrong, and the system is broken. Even if the system seems to work, it could be broken without anyone knowing it!

Configuration files are often obscurely named, buried deep in the directory structure of the code base, or just plain inscrutable. When a property is named hostname, is that “my hostname,” “the name of the authorized caller,” or “the host I call during the autumnal solstice?” Property files ...

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