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

Rails Code Audits and Reviews, continued

Posted by Mon, 18 Jun 2007 16:47:00 GMT

In response to my article, Audit Your Rails Development Team, Tim Case writes,

“I think what you are doing has value and I’ve been anticipating that someone in the rails community would step up and do this, hence the question I posed because I’ve thought about that thorny issue too. I have a feeling Planet Argon is making the first step in a direction that has been building, Peer review has the potential to be positive for the entire community, provided that it’s shepherded properly and with care.”

It’s been just over a year since we first made a public announcement of our Rails Code Audit and Review service and we’ve had different types of clients inquire about it. We make sure to call it a code audit and review because we’re not aiming to only point out flaws. We see our service as a way to help stake holders gauge the capabilities of their developers while also providing developers with some more insight to how things could be done differently. There are a lot of developers using Ruby on Rails now and it’s safe to say that there are many that aren’t very good yet. Some may argue that the ease of getting started with Rails makes it easy for inexperienced developers to stay just good enough and never take the next step. We’ve seen some beautiful code and we’ve seen some horrific code. Some of our clients have made the tough decision to fire their existing freelancers after we’ve completed our analysis… but we’ve seen several situations where our clients were happier with their developers after.

For example, we recently completed a code audit and review for a client, which came to us with some concerns about their development team. Things seemed to be going slower than they thought it would and really wanted to have an outside opinion about the quality of their work. Overall, their application was being developed really well and the biggest problems that they had were related to a lack of testing. So, we’re now walking them through the process of integrating RSpec into their development process. Their development team admitted that they suffered from a lack of testing, but were very honest about the fact that they just didn’t know where to begin as it wasn’t something they had time to learn before. We’ve been able to provide them with some direction and now we’re available to answer questions and review their work from time to time. The outcome was good for everyone. The developers are better off because their manager has more confidence in them. The manager has more confidence in the product as a whole and knows exactly where his team should focus their attention on next. We’ve gained a new Rails consulting client and get to help them with their cool project.

While we love working on entire projects from start to finish, we also love working with other developers and development teams. This has been one of our favorite types of client relationships. We’re currently working with a handful of people as they work their way through the project life cycle and we’re always a phone call, Basecamp message, or email away from assisting them. I feel that these types of services are important to the Rails community, because we’ve witnessed situations where clients were unhappy with Rails because they weren’t happy with their developers. We’ve seen people drop Rails in favor of something else because of the poor quality of code that was being written in Rails. When bad perceptions spread, it’s bad for the community as a whole.

What we can do, is become the backup team for the client and/or development team. Should they run into any weird deployment issues at 2am on a Sunday morning or aren’t able to track down the cause of some performance issue, we’re another set of people that can help out. While we don’t know every nook and cranny of our consulting clients’ applications, we do have a good understanding of them. This allows us to dive in and help more quickly than we can for clients that call us for the first time a few hours after they had an emergency.

It’s my opinion that these types of services are very valuable and highly encourage other consultancies in the Rails community to offer them.

If you’re part of a development team and/or a freelance developer and looking for this sort of relationship, please contact us to see how we can assist you.

Ruby on Rails gets down to business

Posted by Tue, 29 May 2007 13:53:00 GMT

It’s been a week since I announced the new Ruby on Rails meets the business world group. Already, the group attracted over 300 members from around the globe... from Argentina, Boston, Australia, Florida, Seattle, Portland!, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

We’ve already seen some great topics come up… from:

  • Project estimates
  • Fixed bids versus time and materials
  • Pricing
  • Handling code ownership with client contracts
  • Incorporating (LLC, S CORP?)
  • Managing money/accounting
  • Contracts

I expect that many of these topics will resurface and there has been a lot of valuable information passed around. It’s exciting to see that so many people not only want to use Ruby on Rails as a platform of choice for their business ventures, but they’re also willing to share their personal experiences and knowledge to help others move into this space.

If you’re running a business that focuses on Ruby on Rails or just considering it, you should stop by and introduce yourself.

update: membership grew from 200 to over 300 in the past day!

All the cool kids are doing it... why aren't you?

Posted by Thu, 17 May 2007 17:15:00 GMT

Josh Knowles just mentioned an article written by David Chelminsky, titled, an introduction to RSpec – Part I. In this article, David introduces you to some of the new language that appeared in some of the recent versions of RSpec as well as give you a complete tutorial on building some specs.

Last night, I had the opportunity to sit down with Aslak Hellesøy and David Chelimsky for a few hours and talk about my experiences of using RSpec at PLANET ARGON and how it’s helped us redefine and evolve our process. In particular, how RSpec has helped us reshape our process of gathering user interaction specifications from our Interaction Design team and business rules from our clients.

If you’re in town and are using RSpec… or are thinking about using RSpec… and see these guys… thank them for all the hard work that they’re doing… and of course, if you run into anybody else on the team... do the same. :-)

Aslak Hellesøy and David Chelimsky
Aslak Hellesøy and David Chelimsky

Also, by the end of the conference... Graeme and I are hoping to have a small project done to help encourage more adoption of Behavior-Driven Development

Introducing Boxcar... coming soon to a train station near you!

Posted by Tue, 08 May 2007 19:35:00 GMT

As I just announced on the PLANET ARGON blog... our new hosting solution is almost here!

Last month, we put a freeze on new orders on several of our Rails hosting packages so that we could do some remodeling. Well, we’re almost done and excited about what we’re going to be reopening with. :-)

We’ll be posting updates on the PLANET ARGON blog over the coming days/weeks… so yo might consider subscribing to our feed.

Be sure to sign up on our mailing list to be amongst the first to be notified when Boxcar gets launched!

Speaking at Ostrava on Rails

Posted by Wed, 02 May 2007 13:04:00 GMT

I have been invited to speak at Ostrava on Rails in the Czech Republic this June. I hear that Jamis Buck and Geoffrey Grosenbach will also be speaking at this event. Once a few minor details are set, I’ll post more information about the talk that I am giving, which will related to the Business of Rails panel, which is where you see me speak in just a few weeks at RailsConf 2007 (Portland, OR).

If you’re going to be at the conference in Ostrava, let me know. I’m thinking that I’ll also try to visit Prague before or after the event… as I’ve seen and heard great things about both cities. I believe my lodging in Ostrava will be decided by the powers that be… but if you have any pointers as to where to stay while in Prague, let me know. :-)

Do Your Views in Ruby on Rails need a cleaning service?

Posted by Wed, 28 Mar 2007 01:55:00 GMT

I’ve been working on a project with Graeme, and we’re spending some time cleaning up some RHTML views.

He posted an article earlier, titled, Dirty Views? Clean them up!, where he asks the following.

“I am also looking for more information on best practices with views in Rails. There doesn’t seem to be much information on the subject.”

We’re starting to re-evaluate how we approach our views and are curious what other teams are doing… especially if you have a team thats approx 1/2 designers… 1/2 developers per project. We’ll be reviewing some of the other options for the View layer over the coming week(s) and welcome any suggestions/insight to this area of Rails… head over to Graeme’s blog and share your thoughts. :-)

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