Read my latest article: 8 things I look for in a Ruby on Rails app (posted Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:59:00 GMT)

Ruby on Rails training in London

Posted by Fri, 21 Apr 2006 19:07:00 GMT

As mentioned on the Ruby on Rails weblog earlier today, EastMedia is hosting a 3-Day Ruby and Ruby on Rails Training course in London. PLANET ARGON was invited to send one of our developers to London as one of the three instructors. We’re excited to announce that Jeremy Voorhis, Lead Architect at PLANET ARGON, will be joining David Black and Matt Pelletier in London as an instructor.

University of East London – Docklands Campus — May 5 – 7 — £1200.00 GBP

A three-day training course which offers a thorough introduction to Ruby and the Ruby on Rails web application framework. Organized by Smartlab/Volks Lab and EastMedia, this course will provide web developers, product managers and entrepeneurs with a solid foundation for understanding the concepts, tools, and real-world tips needed to build robust, scalable, full-featured web applications using Ruby on Rails.

For more information, see here.

Stay tuned for more fun announcements… :-)

Agile development begins within...

Posted by Fri, 21 Apr 2006 14:45:00 GMT

4 comments Latest by Aaron Schaap Sun, 23 Apr 2006 02:37:46 GMT

When I got back from Canada on Rails, I found myself looking at a review copy of Practices of an Agile Developer [1] sitting in our library. I haven’t had a chance to really dive into the book, but did take a few minutes to skim through a few sections that I found interesting.

Some bullets that I found useful.

  • Don’t fall for the quick hack. Invest the energy to keep code clean and out in the open.

There have been times where I have found myself taking the quicker-well, it seemed quicker at the time-approach to solving an immediate problem.

  • Keep your project releasable at all times. Ensure that the project is always compilable, runnable, tested, and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

This is extremely important when there are several people working on one project. Developers have their own schedules and when we make a commitment to push new changes to a production environment, it’s important to be confident that all developers and designers involved in the project are following the same rule… test-before-you-commit. When this rule is followed, you aren’t concerned that if developer A needs to leave work early that the work that she checked in is tested. This allows us to push new changes to the production server at the end of each day if all tests are passing.

  • Develop in increments. Release your product with minimal, yet usable chunks of functionality. Within the development of each iteration, use an iterative cycle of one to four weeks or so.

This is something that PLANET ARGON has been practicing more and more. Our iteration cycle is limited to 2-3 weeks, no more (unless there is a good reason to). When we are able to look at a distinct set of deliverables, which take 2-3 weeks to plan, design, develop, test, demo, and deliver, we can build our cost estimates around the number of resources that we be necessary to achieve those well-defined deliverables. It might only take 2 developers and a designer part time for those 2-3 weeks and we can adjust our cost estimates accordingly.

  • Write code to be clear, not clever. Express your intentions clearly to the reader of the code. Unreadable code isn’t clever.

When Jeremy and I began working with each other last Fall… within a day of working around each others code… we decided to build a style guide for all of our code. This style guide has evolved over time… but the core principals remain. Keep your code… readable.

_“Remember your code is for a human first and a computer second.” _

- Martin Fowler, Refactoring

As I continue to review the book… I’ll post more thoughts. :-)

1 Practices of an Agile Developer, Venkat Subramaniam and Andy Hunt, The Pragmatic Programmers, 2006.

PostgreSQL: An elephant wearing a hula skirt and I find it sexy

Posted by Thu, 20 Apr 2006 22:30:00 GMT

9 comments Latest by Joe Wed, 26 Apr 2006 09:01:52 GMT

Last week, I gave a live presentation to ~250 people, which was basically me walking through the process of using Ruby on Rails to talk to a legacy database1. For my example, I used the Dell DVD database... the PostgreSQL version. You can review some comments about my presentation by reviewing this entry on the blog of Ryan Davis. I wrapped quite a bit of the database in a few minutes and then showed what another 45 minutes of work could do with Rails. I’ll tarball that code and post it online soon.

Alex Bunardzic found it practical. I’ll take that as a compliment. ;-)

Earlier, I noticed this blog entry by Chris… where he said, “PostgreSQL also seems to be growing more briskly among the database category, while MySQL declines modestly. I guess that’s good news for Robby.” What exactly made me happy? This bullet made by Tim O’Reilly on Radar in his post, State of the Computer Book Market, Part 2.

“A surprise to many may be the strong growth of PostgreSQL, up 84% over a year ago. We’ve also been hearing some signs of growth in the Postgres market from our “alpha geek” radar, with reasons given including better support for geo data, and better handling of very large data sets. New companies like Greenplum and EnterpriseDB have also brought a little focus to this market. We’re updating our PostgreSQL book, and watching this market closely.”

That’s awesome! Go PostgreSQL!

Then to my surprise, I was contacted by CRN (again) to get my thoughts on MySQL’s awesome storage-engine plugin system... which showed up a few hours later in this article. The writer of that article managed to goof my last name (Robby Hill?)... and hopefully that gets resolved soon. ;-)

As I said at Canada on Rails in front of 250 people, “I find databases… sexy.”

(free desktop wallpaper!)

Why Rails? Why PostgreSQL?

Rails.. that’s a no-brainer.

PostgreSQL? Well.. they have compatible licenses… no dual-license smell when your trying to sell your application as a complete solution… and as Rails is database agnostic... there is no reason not to give PostgreSQL a try.

Who uses PostgreSQL on Rails?

If your using PostgreSQL on Rails… email me... I’d love to hear and share your story on my O’Reilly blog, like I did with Derek Sivers and Jeremy Kemper of CDBaby a few months ago, which you can read here.

again… I find databases sexy...

If your a PLANET ARGON hosting customer… you can follow these instructions to install PostgreSQL on your PLANET ARGON hosting account.

1 According to the Rails convention (and by me)... any database created pre-Rails or doesn’t follow the conventions is considered legacy. ;-)

Fluxiom Unleashed!

Posted by Thu, 20 Apr 2006 12:05:00 GMT

While in Vancouver BC, I had the privilege of meeting Thomas Fuchs, the guy behind and His company Wollzelle has just launched their new web service called, fluxiom. I’ve seen the videos and saw him demo some of it at Canada on Rails. The stuff that they’ve trained the browser to do with AJAX is unbelievable and it’s also built on Ruby on Rails! :-)

They are offering a free 30 day trial... so go check it out!

Workshop for Good... in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Wed, 19 Apr 2006 19:14:00 GMT

2 comments Latest by Robby Russell Thu, 20 Apr 2006 15:09:19 GMT

Workshop for Good in Washington, DC

Amy Hoy, Ezra Zygmuntowicz and Jeff Casimir are putting together a unique Rails workshop May 20th and 21st in Washington, DC. The two-day workshop is geared toward beginning and intermediate developers. The cool part of the workshop is that the speakers aren’t taking any pay: 100% of the proceeds are going to benefit the César Chávez Public Charter School where Jeff teaches. They are raising funds to improve technology access and usage throughout the school.

PLANET ARGON loves the concept and has donated three of our Level 1 hosting packages as door prizes for the event. They are still seeking more sponsors for the events and if you haven’t purchased your seat yet… you better hurry!

If you’re interested… check out the website at

Announcement: Peat Bakke joins PLANET ARGON as Project Director

Posted by Tue, 18 Apr 2006 17:24:00 GMT

1 comment Latest by topfunky Wed, 19 Apr 2006 00:09:16 GMT

And now for a long overdue announcement! Peat Bakke officially joined the PLANET ARGON core team back in February as our Project Director, and started working with us as a satellite developer in late 2005. As a growing development company, we quickly learned the value of having a dedicated project director. Not only does it help keep the intermingling of projects organized here at PLANET ARGON HQ, but-and maybe more importantly-it also gives our clients a single point of contact. We may be a small team, but that doesn’t mean that all of us get the chance to be intimate with each and every project. That’s Peat’s job, and we sure are glad to have him on board. Be sure to check out his blog at peat dot org to keep up on his thoughts regarding Rails, project management, business development, and his devotion to index cards.

Learn more about the PLANET ARGON core team.

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