Tag Archives: Ruby on Rails

Upcoming tech events in Ann Arbor area

The Michigan Python User Group (MichiPUG) meeting is tonight at 7 pm, at SRT.  If you want to learn how to write a web framework using WSGI, this is the place to come.  Kevin Dangoor (creator of TurboGears web framework) and Mark Ramm (maintainer for TurboGears 2) are both Ann Arborites and usually attend.

Tomorrow, Phil Wilmington of PeopleSoft will speak at the MPowered Entrepreneurship Hour on "Entrepreneurship in a Changing Technology Environment". This is held at the Stamps Auditorium, Walgreens Drama Center.

Next week:

At 6 pm on Monday February 9, the Ann Arbor New Tech February meetup will be held at the Google building in Ann Arbor (201 S. Division St, 3rd Floor).  Sign up at http://www.meetup.com/a2newtech/. 5 companies this month take the stage for 10 minutes each, 5 minutes to demo and 5 minutes to answer questions, followed by networking downstairs at Bar Louie. Space is limited, RSVP strictly required.

At the same time, across the street, the Flex/RIA group meets at SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty, Lower Level, in Ann Arbor from 6-7:30 pm.

The Michigan!/usr/group meets on Tuesday from 6:30-9 at the Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd, Farmington Hills, MI. George Castro is going to talk about microblogging.

The Ann Arbor .NET Developers group meets at SRT Solutions (206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor) from 6-8:30 pm.  Patrick Steele will be talking about ASP.NET MVC.

And on Thursday, January 12, the Michigan Flex User Group meets in East Lansing at MSU.

To close out the week, on Friday, January 13, SRT will hold its biweekly lightning talks, from 3:30-5. Join us for 5 minute sessions on tech topics. All are welcome to speak and/or listen!

Also, a group is forming to drive from Ann Arbor down to EdgeCase in Columbus for Merb and Rails 3.0 with Yehuda Katz. Contact Winston Tsang if you want to rideshare (not sure how much room is available).

Enjoy!

Monthly user group meetings this week!

It's the first full week of the month.  Hoping I'm able to get away for some user group meetings.

On Wednesday August 6, AACS (Ann Arbor Computer Society) has Eric Inancich discussing Ruby and Domain Specific Languages.  The meeting starts at 6.  Pizza will be provided by AACS, free of charge.  The meeting's free too, but door prizes only go to paid-up members (note to self: remember to take $20 for annual membership).  AACS usually gives out gift certificates.  

On Thursday August 7, the Michigan Python User Group (MichiPUG) will be discussing the state of Turbo Gears 2.  Created in Ann Arbor by local Kevin Dangoor, another local (Mark Ramm) has taken over maintenance of the TG2 project.  Both are very knowledgeable and it's always interesting to hear where the project is, and where it's going.  MichiPUG starts at 7.

Both meetings are at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 and are free and open to the public. Hope to see you at a meeting or two.

Ruby on Rails at the Ann Arbor Computer Society

Featuring Joe O'Brien of the Columbus Ruby Brigade

Joe O'Brien, who helped to found the Columbus Ruby Brigade, is going to be speaking at the next AACS meeting, on May 2.  Meeting starts around 6 pm (well, that's when the pizza arrives; Joe will probably start talking around 6:30).

So, if you're in the Ann Arbor area and want to learn about Ruby on Rails, here's your chance.

AACS meetings are free and open to the public.  Annual memberships (just $20) do qualify you for door prizes and to vote in elections.  The May meeting also happens to be election night.

Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 2, at 6 pm at the Ann Arbor ITZone/Spark Central, 330 E. Liberty (lower level), Ann Arbor, MI.

AACS

Columbus Ruby Brigade

Ruby on Rails

My Reading List


My Reading List

I thought I would share what I’m reading now, and what I’ve been reading recently. And I added some podcasts, for good measure, and even a link to a cool development tool that I learned about at the Java Posse Roundup.

Online

Read today: article on JavaScript libraries

http://www.sitepoint.com/article/javascript-library/2

Blogs:

Blogs that I read regularly:

Bruce Eckel: http://www.artima.com/weblogs/index.jsp?blogger=beckel

Kathy Sierra: http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/

Joel Spolsky: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/

Bill Wagner: http://www.srtsolutions.com/blogs/BillWagner/default.aspx

And, of course my own: http://www.srtsolutions.com/blogs/DianneMarsh/default.aspx

Here are some blogs from the Java Posse Roundup, which are sure to become regulars for me:

Josh Marinacci’s blog: http://weblogs.java.net/blog/joshy/

Michael Levin: Swampcast and also Michael Levin's Weblog

James Ward: www.jamesward.org

Others that I used to read have become somewhat inactive. You know who you are …

Books

In progress:

Implementing Lean Software Development, Mary and Tom Poppendieck, 2007.

Comments: good source for lean software, but also draws a lot from lean manufacturing. Recommending to people in other disciplines as well. I’ll post a more complete review when I finish the book.

On my desk, in hopes of reading soon:

Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art, by Steve McConnell, 2006.

Podcasts

Most recent podcasts:

  • DotNetRocks, from 2/19.  Guest: Steve McConnell
  • Java Posse #107, Special from Crested Butte
  • Java Posse #106, News from 3/7
  • Ruby on Rails: Camping, Episode II
  • Several episodes of “60 Second Science”, from Scientific American

 

Podcasts I follow regularly:

  • JavaPosse – great podcast for keeping current on Java
  • DotNetNukes – entertaining podcast for .NET world

 

Podcasts in my queue:

  • TedTalks podcasts

Development tool that I’m going to try next

http://www.cenqua.com/

CodeMash early bird deadline

CodeMash, a developer conference organized by volunteer developers, is to be held January 18-19 in Sandusky, OH. Drawing from national talent as well as regional experts, this conference provides a unique opportunity for a diverse set of people to get to

CodeMash deadline is TODAY!

Today is the last day to get in on the $99 registration for CodeMash. Tomorrow, it goes up to $149 (still incredibly reasonable). CodeMash is January 18-19, 2007 at the Kalahari Resort (www.kalahariresort.com) in Sandusky, OH, and will bring together developers from all worlds … Java, .NET, Python, PHP, Ruby, TurboGears … you name it! We’ll all learn from one another in a cool and fun environment.

Engaging keynotes by Bruce Eckel, Scott Guthrie, and Neal Ford. Talks by Brian Goetz, Mary Poppendieck, Jay Pipes, David Stanek, Kevin Dangoor, Ted Neward and more!

Don’t miss out on early bird pricing. But even more importantly, don’t miss out … space is limited, so sign up soon!

I’m promoting CodeMash heavily because not only am I on the organizing committee, but also because this is a conference with a theme that I believe in, strongly. SRT Solutions, with diverse knowledge among its staff, definitely benefits from the cross-pollination of ideas. One friend asked me if I thought that the “generic developer” would get much out of this sort of a conference. My response? Any time you learn something, you’re benefiting. You may not use any more than one of these languages in your job, but knowing about the others, and their strengths and weaknesses, makes you a better developer.

CodeMash Registration

Digg story on CodeMash and other events

Kalahari Resort
Conference Venue

Announcing CodeMash 2007

Ohio … where you need to be January 18-19

What? January in Ohio?! That’s always the first reaction. But … once I tell them what’s going on (and that it’s at an indoor water park), the tune changes to, “Really? Cool!”.

I’ve been involved with the planning of CodeMash, a 2-day conference for developers, to be held in Sandusky, Ohio January 18-19. 2007. It’s a conference for developers of all flavors: Java, .NET, Python, PHP, Perl … you name it! We’ll have some Ruby on Rails and some TurboGears, some Oracle and MySQL. The goal is to all get together and learn from one another. We all benefit from advances in other languages and platforms.

We’ve scheduled some really cool keynotes. Bruce Eckel is going to talk about issues of design in software development, from a philosophical standpoint. Neal Ford is planning a talk about the evolving programming paradigm. Scott Guthrie will also be doing a keynote.

We’re accepting abstracts right now, and conference registration will be open really soon (you can reserve a spot now, though!). The pricing is phenomenal … early bird price of $99 for the 2 day conference, if you stay at the Kalahari Resort (conference hotel, discounted room rate of $88/night). The regular price for registration (after Nov 30) is $149.

I think it’s going to be an amazing event.

CodeMash – I'll be there!

Code Mash Conference Page

AACS Meeting Summary

October 4, 2006

Mark Ramm discussed TurboGears at the Ann Arbor Computer Society meeting this week. The crowd was mostly unfamiliar with TurboGears, and most were unaware that it was conjured up and written here in Ann Arbor (well, at least originally … it’s open source, so it’s now getting contributions from all over the world).

Most people know about Ruby on Rails, so he contrasted the frameworks a bit. Basically, Rails is a highly integrated, single piece of software. It uses some naming conventions, and if you follow them, things will just line up and work. But the magic can be a bit disconcerting for some. Features are either provided via Rails, or not available within the framework. That’s the beauty and cost of a single piece of software.

TurboGears doesn’t follow naming conventions. It’s a mega web framework. It combines best of breed tools in Python to support web development. This allows for components to be traded out and replaced with newer, better components, if they become available.

The heart of TurboGears centers around the following components:

SQLObject – an Object Relational Mapper

CherryPy – web server: manages request/response cycle

Kid – templating system, xml-based, guarantees well-formed output

MochiKit (pronounced Mo-chee-kit) – library for Javascript/AJAX, making it easier to write clean javascript

Templates can be made to look really simple by using and extending the master.kid file. Actually, you can have several master.kid files, and use appropriately in different parts of the application.

For deployment, the easiest path is in using CherryPy, proxying with IIS or Apache (using mod_proxy or mod_rewrite). You can also use mod_python, but Mark sees the other options as simpler.

Webfaction has good shared hosting for TurboGears apps. Currently, their control panel only creates 0.8.9 TurboGears apps, but if you ask the webfaction staff will send instructions about installing the newly released 1.0b1 for use with webfaction. They also help to support the TurboGears project.

From a commercial licensing standpoint, there are no hindrances to using TurboGears. It uses the very liberal BSD-style license, which allows you to write applications using TurboGears for commercial use.

Widgets are provided, to reduce work for the developer. Kid produces designer-friendly templates, that can be edited in programs like Dreamweaver without perturbing the python constructs (since Dreamweaver ignores them), but allowing the designer to see placeholders when testing layout without running a web server.

A question from the audience asked Mark to compare with ASP.NET. Basically, he said that you can do anything in ASP.Net that you can do in TurboGears but that you will have to write more code in ASP.NET. Maybe we will see some head-to-head comparisons at CodeMash in January.

Future Directions in TurboGears:

1.SQLAlchemy will replace SQLObject as the default object relational mapper in the future. It does everything that SQLObject does, and more. Needs a bit more work to simplify the definition to match that of SQLObject
2.Genshi will replace Kid as the default templating system. It uses pretty much the same syntax but is about 40% faster.

Documentation options:

1.Mark’s book (Rapid Web Applications with TurboGears) is going to be published in November. Half of the book is now available, on Safari Rough Cuts.
2.The latest issue of Linux Magazine has an article on TurboGears, written by Mark Ramm. It doesn’t appear that it’s available online. Here’s a summary of that article: http://compoundthinking.com/blog/index.php/2006/09/22/turbogears-in-linux-magazine/
3.TurboGears DVD contains screencasts and can be purchased on the TurboGears website.
4.Docs are available on the TurboGears website.

Examples of high traffic sites that run TurboGears:

www.diggdot.us: Combines Digg, slashdot, and de.licio.us into a unified format

www.rpath.com : Linux software appliance company

Next month at AACS: Scott Collins, from the Mozilla project, talking about the design and application of programming languages.

The “It” Thing …

Some kind of event in Crested Butte, CO, July 18-21

Bruce Eckel was going to do a “Thinking in Java” Open Spaces conference in Crested Butte, CO in July, but interest (or at least enrollment) didn’t seem to be there. After a flurry of email between several of the people that were at his Programming the New Web Open Spaces conference (held in March), he is re-working it as potentially an even cooler event. Check out the link for more details at:

http://mindview.net/Conferences/ThinkingInJava

I really trust Bruce when he says, “We'll find something interesting to do even if we don't know exactly what it is yet. It's in the same vein as an Open Space — where you have a basic topic but you don't know what sessions will appear until people start putting sticky notes in time slots — but taken up a notch. Here, we're not sure what the topic will be, but we assume that something will appear by the time we actually convene.”

I hope that I can be a part of it. My attendance, right now, is only limited by family obligations. If I can work out those details, I will be there. If I can’t make it, I will be really bummed and anxiously awaiting news on how it all turned out.

To be able to go and build something for the fun of it (and for the educational experience)! It would be like summer camp!

BTW, there’s a hostel in Crested Butte. I hear it’s pretty nice and you sure can’t beat the price!

Conference Information
Summary of Potential Topics
Open Spaces
Discussion of Open Spaces Technology
Crested Butte Hostel
Best Value in Crested Butte
Other Lodging/Travel Info
Where to stay and how to get there

A Plethora of Web Development Tools

TurboGears, Ruby on Rails, Atlas, Google Web Toolkit: Embarking on a journey with Web Application Development Tools

I’ve got to get my mind around all of these tools. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Who competes with whom? Where’s the overlap? What are the differences?

TurboGears and Ruby on Rails seem to meet the needs of the same audience. They both provide the means for Rapid Web Application development. Atlas lets .NET programmers use the language and environment that they are comfortable with to develop web applications, while the Google Web Toolkit enables Java programmers to continue to use Java to develop web applications.

But … the big question is … do we NEED all of these things? Can we do what we need to do with TurboGears and/or Ruby on Rails? It’s fairly well accepted that TurboGears and Ruby offer us productivity advantages, but do Atlas and the GWT offer us something functionally that TurboGears and Ruby do not?

So, I embark on my journey to play with software. I like this part!