get started on Ruby on Rails in hours

build you own ruby on rails application

Build you own Ruby on Rails web application is a book specially written for people wanting to start exploring rails. It is being pitched as the “ultimate beginners guide to Rails” by sitepoint.
So if you have been appreciating Rails from outside, get hold of this book and jump right it. Start experiencing the joy of Ruby on Rails programming in hours, if not minutes.

This book is also an exteremely useful resource for companies who want to train developers on Rails.

Thanks Jamis, for the review which made me look at this book. Now that a new rails book is coming out almost every fortnight, it’s getting difficuilt to keep track.
Also there is this gem hidden in Jamis’ review : never use a plugin you would not be able to write yourself. We have learnt it the hard way and I am sure so have many other Rails developers.

RailsConf2007, Portland, Oregon


RailsConf Europe 2006 which I had attended at London in September 2006 was my first formal conference. It was organized by Ruby Central and Skills Matter and was fairly expensive atleast by Indian Standards, but it was a great exposure for me.
In May this year, I will be attending RailsConf 2007 at Portland, Oregon, being organized by O’reilly and Ruby Central.

With DHH, Dave Thomas, Jim Weirich, Chad Fowler, Jamis Buck and the team doing the plenary sessions, it is bound to be a lotta fun.

I still have to book my air-tickets, so if there is someone else travelling from India, do ping me and we could travel together and do some ruby/rails hacking enroute.
This will be my first trip to US and I am excited about that. US which by default happens to be the first destination for 90% of my fellow technologists from India is happening to me 11 years after I started my career.

At an early stage in my career I had preferred to take up an assignment in Japan rather than US because US seemed approachable any time while oppurtunities to work in Japan were comparatively rare.
Thanks to Rails for making that “possible any time” trip actually happen now.

What do you use Basecamp for?

I started thinking about blogging about this while writing the previous post comparing activeCollab and basecamp. I had started using basecamp for managing and collaborating on software development projects. But gradually the list has increased to include a lot more kinda projects.
My definition of “projects” here is same as David Allen’s in Getting Things Done.
So basically Basecamp has become my repository of { information, next-actions, waiting-for and someday } for such projects.
Here are some of the things, apart from software projects, that I am using basecamp for

  1. Managing Hiring at Vinsol
  2. Managing accounts related tasks
  3. Managing construction of our new office
  4. Managing internal training and knowledge sharing sessions at Vinsol

Let me ask you this, What do you use basecamp for?

basecamp vs. activeCollab

After reading a few comparisons of Basecamp and activecollab, particularly the one at slackermanager, I decided to run a few projects on activeCollab.

Though features-wise activecollab has been seen giving basecamp a run for it’s money, the area where it clearly lacks is usability.
This point becomes clear if you just compare the dashboards of the two apps.
Basecamp is so intutive that rarely do I have to look around to find some information. And even the effort required to digest the displayed information is minimal in basecamp. The fonts and visual clues used on basecamp are much better than those in activeCollab.

Another feature which I do not like about AC is that it just sends links in emails and not the actual messages. Basecamp sends the actual messages in the email notification, hence avoiding the unnecessary trip to the project website.

I agree that AC is under heavy development but definitely it needs a lot of love.

I find myself much more productive on projects which I run on basecamp that I plan to stick with basecamp and am happy paying them my money.

Barcamp Delhi Again!

When the idea of a Barcamp was first mooted by Jon in February this year, we [Gaurav, Amit and moi] quicky lapped it up. But as the initial excitment of doing an “unconference” mellowed down, doubts started creeping in. We were not sure of what was in store for us.
Would there be enough people to join the “unconference”? Would we get enough sessions lined up? What would be the level of those sessions? etc. etc.

Eventually Barcamp Delhi proved to be a bigger success than any of us had imagined. Not only that, it proved to be the harbinger of a barcamp revolution of sorts in India.

And now the stage is set for the second round.

BarcampDelhi-2 will be held on this Saturday, 9th of December at Impetus Infotech, Noida.

For details visit the wiki page here

Thanks to Impetus for allowing us to use their offices, we were having a very tough time finding a suitable venue this time.

I have not yet finalized what I would speak on, but I am leaning towards something related to testing in Ruby on Rails.

Spread the word around and see you there!

p.s: An interesting bit, I came to know about barcamp from Rashmi at the Uzanto Open House. I always thought the name bar-camp came from the legendary foo and bar variables. Rashmi told us that the bar in barcamp is actually “Bay Area Rejects”, essentially those who were not invited to the foocamp.

back in action

Our second daughter was born on 30th October. It was a Cesarean delivery and my wife took some time to recover, particularly from the anaesthesia’s side effects.
So I was kinda busy and hence no blog post for almost a month.

Here are the two lovely ladies. (Kuhu and Khushi)

BTW if you have been resisting the temptation to buy a Reliance AirCard, like I had been for almost an year, I would say “Go for it”. I bought one before my wife was admitted to the hospital. I could remain in business even while I was at the hospital with my wife. The connectivity and the speed were good enough for me to get some work done, and not just check emails.

Ruby on Rails in India: It’s getting hotter

Believe me! The scene is much hotter than what I had anticipated a few months back.

Good to see so many companies and developers jumping ( or wanting to jump) onto Rails/Ruby from other frameworks and languages.
This means increased competition for us. But it could also be consolidation time for the small agile Rails teams in this area to join hands to increase their offering.

Talking about demand; yesterday, I received a job offer from a “Big Indian Outsourcing company”.
The lady who called me read this blog, but probably didn’t read “technopreneur” written on the top.
So when I told her that I was running a company myself, there was dead silence for a couple of seconds.
Then she asked me, if I could give references of any Rails programmers.

I told her that If I came across good people, I’ll hire them and I’ll pass on the others to her.
Fair enough. Right!

Rails training in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Rails Training at Providence Network, Colombo

I travelled to Colombo last week to train a team of web programmers on Ruby on Rails.

God! I had never imagined, I would be training people on rails in Colombo.

The web programming team at Providence Networks and Solutions was great. They were very good at php and Java, and it seemed like they enjoyed the Rails training a lot.
Thanks to Ajay at ITVidya for connecting me and Providence.

A couple of observations about Colombo, unrelated to the training
1. Inspite of the communal/political probem, Sri Lanka is doing well. The airport is the first impression of any city, Colombo airport was sparkling clean and the immigration staff was very friendly too. The duty free shops were much better than ours, carried much more stock than our new “flamingos” and the staff was friendlier too.
2. The streets were neat and there were no animals or Rickshaws. I thought I would find them in all developing countries. Or do we have too much of them in Indian cities.
3. They have a well implemented parking policy in Colombo. It is not like the haphazard way of sadi-dilli. It’s probably a good suggestion to ask our politicians to stop visiting London, Singapore and Tokyo and rather look around nearby to learn how to implement urban policies.

And for the business minded, there are a good number of developers available at much lesser cost there, and they all speak English too. So you know you have an option available for your next offshore team.

It was a good trip and I look forward to visiting Colombo again. :)