Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Agile Web Development with Rails

As a follow-up to the question posed at the end of this post, I've been working my way through the PDF version of Agile Web Development with Rails, Third Edition by Sam Ruby, Dave Thomas, David Heinemeier Hansson, et. al. and I think it is the best introduction to Rails out there. The book is currently in beta and is not available as a paper book yet.

The contents cover
  • Getting Started (Installation)
  • Building an Application
  • The Rails Framework (Active Record, Action Controller, Action View, etc.)
  • Security
  • Deployment

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I like the style of the book, because it is designed to be hands on with code included such that you can run it as you read and come out of this with a running application. Iterative development, testing, YAGNI, DRY and other agile development practices are naturally used. My only recommendation would be for the authors to use jQuery as the recommended javascript framework, but since it doesn't come as the default with Rails, then I can understand why they haven't.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

socialdevcamp east

Last weekend I attended SocialDevCampEast in Baltimore, MD.

SocialDevCamp East is the Unconference for Thought Leaders of the Future Social Web

Where is the social web going? It's going mobile, to geocentric services, and to open platforms. A community of like minded developers, social media gurus, CEOs and thought leaders from DC to Boston came together to discuss the future of the social web. Check out the link above to see the participants and topics.

Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors, volunteers and participants that made it so awesome.

I particularly enjoyed the session with Bill Mill where we built out a simple application on the Google App Engine platform. The last session concerning startups/VCs was really good too. I liked the thoughts from Jared Goralnick and Nick O'Neill pointing out the strengths of the east coast.

I can't wait for the next camp in the fall.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Tonight I attended my second NovaRUG meeting. Dave Thomas of The Pragmatic Programmer discussed the Ruby object model and Paul Barry discussed Merb. There seems to still be a lot of development and refinement of the language and implementations at this point (including the best frameworks like Rails, Merb, and ORM). There is a good chance that Ruby will be a great language for rapidly creating high quality applications.

  1. It has a very strong object model.
  2. It has good support for unit testing.
  3. Syntax is simple.
  4. There is a decent developer community to support and champion it.
It will still take a high commitment to execute at the craftsman level, but with good methodologies I think some great code can be developed. I am currently researching the best book for an introduction to the language. Suggestions?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New O'Reilly Title

Thanks to a colleague, I recently came across this book that is being created O'Reilly Software Craftsmanship: From Apprentice to Journeyman by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye. It builds on The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas and the Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative by Pete McBreen.

As they point out, the book is not available yet. But you can comment on the chapters as they are being written. What I like so far is it seems to blend the pragmatic examples of the earlier Dave Thomas book with the principles presented in McBreen's book. It appears that the book is very early in development (for example Chapter 1 references what you learned in Chapter 3) and maybe has some reorganization down the line. But the ideas are worth considering for any software craftsman and I am eager to see what the final product is.

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