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Fernando Guillén

a Freelance Web Developer

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software development as an artistic expression

The Rails Rumble Experience

Software development is a box of wonderful surprises and the community I have found around Ruby on Rails is the most passionate I have never met.

The last crazy geek stuff I have been involved in was the RailsRumble. A contest where small web development teams have to show what they are able to build in only 48 hours. Of course the web framework to use is Ruby on Rails, which other can you use to implement something almost finished in only this bunch of hours?

The experience, besides being a technology challenge, is a very enriching personal experience

Our group was formed by Raimond Garcia, Felipe Talavera, Carlos Matallín and me.

RailsRumble Mallorca Team

Within a few days of cross mailing conversation we had an approximate idea of what we were gonna build. The 3 developers get together at my house in Mallorca, our designer and front developer, Carlos Matallín, could not enjoy physically the experience with us, but was on continuous contact through mail, skype and video conference.

The previous night was the discussion time.. a few cups of coffee and a lot of pen and paper, our idea was incredibly simple and could become something incredibly helpful, but it was full of small details and possible solutions that should be decided before work started.

Functional Paper Doc2am, Day D -2, Hour H -48, the time of the first commit, just a very concise README.md file and go to sleep.

When I waked up in the morning my partner Felipe had already the server standing up and our most important tool working: the mail digester.

The day was very pleasing, not any pressure stressed us, our code was responding our expectations incredibly well, Raimond was concentrated on the integration test layer of our application, Carlos was sending us very correct designs time at a time, Felipe working here and there knowing all the stack of the application and me focusing on the mail parser. Time at a time we reset our bodies with a very cold dip up on our small swimming-pool.

At the end of the first day our application was working. Not on any casuistic worked well, but it was working.

The second and last day supposed to be only to correct details and test any problematic casuistics, I don’t know if it was for overconfidence or because the problems to resolve were too hard to resolve but the last commit was exactly at 2am on Sunday, that means Hour H on Day D.

The supposed objective of the RailsRumble is to convince the expert judges that our application developed on 48 hours is above the rest of them.. Our project was judged as the #57 of more than 200 applications. Not available to pass to the next level: the public vote. That suppose to mean that we failed. Nothing further from the truth. We built something very transgressor, very innovative and also very simple, we were congratulated for one of the most known Ruby on Rail gurus: Obie Fernandez, we enjoyed ourself a wonderful geek weekend and we have decided to improve the code and to expose it to the community to see if it becomes as helpful as we think.

And over all we were full up of new inspiration and energized passion towards our profession.

What was that we were working this weekend? … :), the new mailing bot to help your mailing list with informal votes: LetsDecide.us. I’ll talk more concise about it on future post.

3 Comments to “The Rails Rumble Experience”
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