never not correct, except sometimes
if ENV['RAILS_ENV'] == 'development' # or whatever # do somethingend
That looks like bad habits from perl.The problem with learning new languages is the old languages you already know.
It's a shortcut people take to debug stuff. It's not really a Perlism, as much as a sloppy-framework-ism. The environments files will automatically give you that same conditional execution, so explicitly specifying it is an error. People do it even though they know they shouldn't. It's the running a red light of Rails.
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