Read my latest article: Six days to complete the Rails hosting survey (posted Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:36:00 GMT)

See you at LessConf and RailsConf?

Posted by Tue, 09 Apr 2013 16:15:00 GMT

Hey all,

It’s been a while (most of my blogging is over on the Planet Argon blog)... but I’m hoping to have some technical-related posts coming in the near future.

If you’ll be at LessConf in Florida this week, I’ll be there. Do I owe you a drink?

Also, if you’re coming to visit Portland for RailsConf 2013 and will arrive the weekend before, you should join us on a hike. If you can’t make it, be sure to say hello at the conference!

Hope all is well!

Cheers, Robby

Rails 3 and Merb

Posted by Tue, 23 Dec 2008 22:55:00 GMT

So… Rails and Merb are going to be merged into Rails 3. (link)

Has hell frozen over?

(it has in Portland the last week)

I’m curious about how the revised core team will incorporate the library-agnostic view points into Rails without increasing the complexity for configuration. For example, being able to use a different ORM is great, but at the same time, one of the things that I have really liked about Ruby on Rails was that it did make decisions ahead of time for you. Conventions over Configuration and all that jazz. While they intend to keep these defaults, I really wonder how much more configuration will be involved. Be that as it may, Rails and Merb are run by some of the best developers I’ve ever known… so I am sure these decisions will not be made without some deep consideration.

Rails application don’t all look and smell the same, but it’s nice to know that there is consistency across all of our client applications. What I’m concerned about (from an efficiency standpoint) is that this could lead to project-diversity at the cost of experimenting. Pre-Rails, the development teams that I was a part of was constantly trying out new libraries from client project to project, but this came at a huge cost. We weren’t able to leverage our experience with previous projects like our team does with Ruby on Rails currently. (hell, I even helped write two different ORMs in the two years before Rails for PHP… and still wasn’t satisfied)

But, this isn’t so much a technical problem as much as a people problem. The thing is… is that Rails helped solve a people problem with a technical answer. Having testing, consistency, and other best practices built-in did the world a huge favor. ...and all it took was someone like DHH to throw his opinion out there and stick to it. It took me nearly a full year to really embrace a lot of these conventions, but in the end.. it paid off.

While I do feel that it’s in developers best interests to try out new approaches, I just don’t think it should be on your clients dime. This was part of the reason why I quit my last job to start Planet Argon full-time. I really wanted to get away from that cycle.

Since we (Planet Argon) adopted Ruby on Rails four years ago, we’ve been able to build off of every project we had worked on before. We since adopted things like RSpec and JQuery, but our team decided on these changes after someone took the initiative to experiment with these on internal and personal projects. Having this foundation has freed up a lot of our time to focus on other issues as a team, like Interaction Design, Usability, and client collaboration.

As far as Merb itself, I honestly haven’t tried to do anything with it since about 0.2/0.3. I gave up quickly though because the documentation didn’t help me get anywhere and my time is valuable. I’ve since seen that documentation has improved drastically, but I haven’t been able to prioritize the time needed to really play with it. With Merb being merged into Rails 3, it means that I really should spend more time exploring it as we might be able to leverage some of it’s benefits without as much of an investment.

Much of the lack of great interest in Merb was because I felt Rails had consistently provided our team with a solid foundation for a majority of our internal and client applications. The old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Not to say that others haven’t expressed a lot of excitement about Merb and it’s benefits, I just didn’t see there being enough of a productivity gain to warrant the time investment required to really learn and use a new framework… and the one thing that I have had trouble with was that it didn’t sound like Merb encouraged a default set of libraries. I could be totally wrong, but that’s been the perception I’ve had based on how it was branded.

But… the best part about this for you, me, and the Rails community? Is that I don’t need to register robbyonmerb.com anytime soon. ;-)

I hope that you’re all having a great end to 2008 and am excited to see all the energy in the Ruby/Rails/Merb community. I suspect that between these two (now-merged) teams, we’ll have an even better platform to develop web applications on. I believe this is great news and I’m all in favor of seeing the Ruby community conquer these challenges that lay ahead.

Anyhow, I’m just thinking out loud. What are your thoughts?

Meet us at RailsConf

Posted by Wed, 28 May 2008 13:46:00 GMT

If you’re coming to Portland for RailsConf or CabooseConf, be sure to introduce yourself (and we’ll try to do the same). A few of us from Planet Argon will be attending the conference. I thought that I’d make it easy to spot us by putting some faces to our names.

In corner #1 we have Alex Malinovich who is our Director of Deployment Services. If you have any questions about hosting options, deployment tips, and scaling your Ruby on Rails application.. be sure to tug on his shoulder. I also overheard that he’ll be giving people discounts on our Boxcar products to those he meets in person.

Alex
Alex Malinovich, Director of Deployment Services

In corner #2, we have Andy Delcambre who is on our development team. You might remember Andy from his series of blog posts/tutorials on using Git and getting Basecamp RSS feeds working in Google Reader via a Mongrel-based proxy (our team is still using this approach using this after ten months!).

Andy
Andy Delcambre, Software Developer

In corner #3, we have Gary Blessington who has been leading our design and development team. If you’re looking for a job working with Ruby on Rails, be sure to introduce yourself to Gary as he’s hoping to meet up with several applicants who will be in Portland this week.

IMG_9286 copy.jpg
Gary Blessington, Director of Design and Development

In corner #4… is me. I’m not doing any talks this year so I plan to do wander around stress-free as I’m not finishing my slides at the last minute or preparing for panel talks. I’m happy to field questions and exchange stories with you. :-)

me...
Robby Russell

We are hiring... so feel free to introduce yourself to any of the faces above.

...and most importantly, I hope you have a great time in Portland!

Coming to Portland for RailsConf or CabooseConf

Posted by Fri, 23 May 2008 12:45:00 GMT

If you’re coming to Portland, Oregon for RailsConf 2008 or CabooseConf… I’d like to invite you all to check out our collection of articles that we wrote to highlight some stuff to do in town. We’ll be posting a few more before the conference, but wanted to help you all plan out your visit in our wonderful little city. Portland

Portland Revealed series

beertown
Uploaded with plasq’s Skitch!

Stay tuned as we’ll be posting more over the next week.

Portland is calling... (you)

Posted by Fri, 11 Apr 2008 06:30:00 GMT

We’re not looking for rock stars or ninjas at Planet Argon. ;-)

We’re looking for individuals that share our core values.

  • COLLABORATION – We believe that an open dialogue between all members of a group helps to produce more reasoned and intelligent decisions.
  • ENTHUSIASM – We recognize the unique power of people who are passionate about their craft. We believe that fun is an essential ingredient in a collaborative and vibrant company culture. We think happy people make better software.
  • COMMUNITY – We are part of many communities. Our neighborhoods, our cities, our workplace, and our professional communities. We give back to our communities by implementing socially responsible business practices and sharing our knowledge and tools with our peers.
  • VERSATILITY – We believe that it is important for our team to be open and flexible, as well as the work that we do. This allows us to adapt to change and encourage innovation.
  • EXECUTION – We value action and when people make things happen. It is important that we follow through on our commitments, plans, and ideas.

..maybe you’re a .NET/Java/PHP/Python developer (who secretly plays with Ruby on Rails at night/weekends). We’re looking for an intermediate-level Rails developer to join our team. Ideal candidates would be in the Portland, Oregon area or willing to relocate.

PLANET ARGON

If you’re interested, take a moment and introduce yourself.

Moved to our new studio

Posted by Wed, 21 Nov 2007 14:56:00 GMT

One of the reasons why I’ve been too busy to write on my blog lately is that we recently moved into to a new studio. We had a lot of preparation to do before we moved in and are finally getting settled in the new space.

We took the space from…

Planet Argon - Studio BEFORE improvements

To this…

As you can see.. we have lots of natural light for the entire team…

I think that Chris Griffin shares the same excitement that I do about the new space. ;-)

Chris Griffin jumps for joy!

We’ll be posting more photos on the Planet Argon flickr stream over the coming weeks as we get the studio organized. :-)

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