On Friday night, I decided to finally drop in on #rubyonrails on irc.freenode.net. It turns out that I couldn’t have arrived at a better time, chronologically, as Ruby on Rails day was about to start. The room (yeah, I know it’s technically a “channel,” get over it) was full of enthusiasm about the impending start.
People started getting their emails for their Subversion repositories and their mysql databases.
A few pointers for people doing this next year (there will be a next year, right?):
- Make sure you’ve set up rails on your home box (this goes for each of the developers on your team, of course).
- Make sure you’ve set up subversion and mysql, too.
- Have some idea of what you want to accomplish and how you’ll go about it.
- If you’ve never used Subversion before, take it for a spin. It can throw you for a loop if you’re not used to source control.
- Pick a project that’s smaller than you think you can do in 24 hours. Each person has to learn (unfortunately, the hard way) what their “guesstimates” are off by, but the rule of thumb that works for me is: Everything takes twice as long as you think, including thinking. In other words, multiply your /dev/ass estimate by four. The project I thought would take an hour, more if I added an extra feature, actually took 3:45 today (with the extra feature) — so, for me, 4x is a good estimate. Of course, I’d quoted 4 hours to management, because I’ve learned my “number” over the years. Your number will differ.
I haven’t seen all the railsday projects, but there’s two I thought stood out: Tally by Technoweenie, dpiddy and caseygollan; the other was Clockwork from Maylo. Clockwork had some really beautiful design on the front page.
More railsday apps are out there, of course, but those were the two that struck me as particularly nifty one-day apps.