somewhat daily mutterings

/Programming/Ruby My First Paying Rails Gig

OK, my first ever Ruby on Rails gig is also a paying gig. I can't go into too much detail at the moment, but I just started moonlighting on a Rails project for a friend of mine. It's a fairly small site, basically to provide some information about his consulting practice and to give access to his articles and scheduled appearances. As such, it is pretty much the perfect starter Rails project.

My first step was to generate a rails project and "pour" his prototype into the public directories. Having done that, I can start the rails server and look at the content as served by rails. This will give me something to refer to while I move bits of the static content over into view implementations.

Next steps are to get the code into a repository at the hosting service, so we can start collaborating on the app. I'll post more details here, as appropriate, as the project proceeds.

Posted: Tue Feb 07 12:40:44 -0800 2006

/Programming/Ruby Rails Studio Denver, Day Three

Day three was kind of divided into two parts: completion of Rails basics before lunch, then a grab-bag of more advanced topics after:

  • sending email
  • controller hooks and filters
  • web services
  • security
  • deployment issues
  • deployment using SwitchTower

Lunch itself was combined with the much-needed exercise of building a small app from scratch. Of course, my bud Bill (who came up from Dallas) and I burned up most of the allotted time cutting up in the back of the room over our lunch, and thus had only about 40 minutes to build the app. We did so by pairing-by-sharing, whereby he shared his hard drive and we worked on separate parts of the very same project. It worked out OK, but our app didn't turn out to be very sophisticated.

I really hope that Dave and Mike plan on creating an advanced RoR class, because in all, this class was not as deep as I'd have liked. I kind of felt as though I could have gotten nearly as much from going through Dave's excellent RoR book and following along with the Depot project on my machine. This is not to say that the class was bad - I know some folks appreciated it at the level it provided, and as I said before, you can't please everybody. However, I do think a class that focuses on actually building an app from start to finish, with the class perhaps dividing into teams, would be a big success. Perhaps the format could be: mornings spent covering the previous day's foibles, then some RoR feature training, then the entire afternoon spent applying the training.

That said, the class was a great way for me to immerse myself in RoR training to a degree which I probably would not have done on my own. I paid for the class myself (and used vacation time), and thus was quite compelled to take an interest. It was also a great networking opportunity, and having Bill in for a visit was fun, too.

Posted: Sun Jan 22 08:51:15 -0800 2006

/Programming/Ruby Rails Studio Denver, Day Two

We dug deeper into Rails today and covered a huge range of topics:

  • link generation
  • session management
  • ActiveRecord relationships
  • Ajax
  • rails form binding
  • web "components"

The format today was mostly presentation, with few exercises. This was a double-edged sword - a lot of information was provided (much more so than day one), but there was little opportunity to experiment with what was presented.

After class, a group of eight of us headed into downtown for Indian food. It was a bit of a wild goose chase finding the restaurant, but then we enjoyed great Indian food and beer. Aside from the usual geeking out, we were regaled with entertaining tales by an French expatriate attendee named Fernand.

Posted: Sun Jan 22 08:26:02 -0800 2006

/Programming/Ruby Rails Studio Denver, Day One

Just a very short entry, because that's all I have time for. The class is composed of about 50 attendees, from all sorts of development backgrounds. In terms of content, Dave and Mike first did a very short Rails history, then spent the morning on a Ruby review. Even though I've been coding in Ruby (inconsistently) for a few years, I picked up a couple of new things. The afternoon was spent getting up to speed on Rails basics, digging shallowly into ActiveRecord and static and dynamic scaffolding. Probably the most interesting and useful topic was that of migrations, which allow you to "version" changes to the database schema (and data!) as you progress through a project.

In all, the day moved a bit slow for me, but I'm sure there were folks for whom it was just right. You can't please everybody.

After class, a few of us headed into downtown Denver for dinner at P.F. Chang's, and had a good time geeking out over beers, lettuce-wraps, and other sodium-filled goods.

Posted: Sun Jan 22 08:22:34 -0800 2006

/Programming/Ruby Watching Ruby on Rails Metastasize...

... and I mean that in a good way. One of my favorite examples is how Justin Gehtland has moved from a RoR experimenter flush with early success to a full-on proselyte. It's been interesting reading his accounts of RoR experimentation and seeing the transformation in progress. Of course, he's a consultant, so it makes very good sense for Relevance LLC to jump on the RoR bandwagon with both feet and a bag of chips (mixed metaphor very intended) but let's not get too cynical (it's hard, but I try).

Thanks for the posts, Justin. I'm only a little envious.

Posted: Sat Aug 27 08:17:16 -0700 2005

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