Matthew Lindfield Seager

Matthew Lindfield Seager

Online Payment Redirects - Initial Experiment

Recently I came across the need, on our server, to fetch a secure token from another server run by a bank and then redirect the client to a payment URL containing that token as a parameter, all as part of the request cycle. This is quite straight forward in Ruby on Rails but I thought I’d summarise the thinking and discovery process I went through.

After adding my public IP to the whitelist with the bank, the first thing I did was to attempt to fetch the token from my console to see what sort of format it came back in, using Typhoeus because it’s already in use in our app. I started with a request that didn’t have all the mandatory parameters:

uri = URI('[](')).to_s
request =
            method: :post,
            params: {},
result =

I was disappointed, but not really surprised, to get a 200 OK response with a body that told me there was an error. SIGH If only there were meaningful HTTP Status Codes that could be used to communicate errors… At least the error message was helpful!

After providing the required params from the documentation I tried again. Again I got a 200 OK but this time the body of the response just contained token=zk_BxvIFDTifsevfc-W_QhAKCdd2zEFZxbDfpXtJ230. Success!

Turning the string into an array of the two parts I was after was easy with .split('=') but I figured I probably wanted a hash to verify the key and value and I wasn’t sure how to turn that array into a hash. Thankfully I have a couple of friends called Google Duck Duck Go and StackOverflow.

According to an accepted and much upvoted answer, simply calling .to_h should work but it didn’t work for me and the documentation linked to from that answer suggested that to_h needs to be called on an array of two item arrays. Thankfully, someone else had commented with the suggestion of a.each_slice(2).to_h which worked a treat. Time to move on, but not before upvoting the helpful comment… and adding my own to say that the accepted answer is (no longer) correct. As they say, duty calls!

Since this was just an experiment I threw caution to the wind and wrote this beautiful train wreck:

Yes it’s ugly, but I’m trying to learn to fight my perfectionist tendencies and not let perfect be the enemy of good. Besides, that’s what the “refactor” step is for in the red-green-refactor cycle. More on that tomorrow!