Appreciating the functional testing in Rails

Jonathan Nolen and his buddy David has been having a lot of fun practicing eXtreme Programming with Rails over the weekend. He’s most impressed by the support for functional testing:

With Rails, however, you can easily functional testing — where they go, how they’re routed to get there, and whether or not they have the data you expect when they finally render. And it’s done in a dead-simple way. No Cactus, no mock container, no extra framework to install. It’s all built right in. Now, it won’t cover everything — browser differences, javascript, etc. But it covers so much more than we’ve been able to manage in our Java project.

Thanks, Jonathan. We’ve tried really hard to make testing so easy that it feels like fun, not a chore. Now that you’ve checked out functional tests, do dig deeper into the great mock support in Rails.

Beta book: Agile Web Development with Rails

The first Rails book is out — in beta. Agile Web Development with Rails is not scheduled to hit hardcopy before early August, but people need the information now. What to do? Let people have a peak into the kitchen and get a taste of the messy reality of pre-editing. So if you can live with spelling mistakes, bad page numbering, and possibly technical errors, you can have a taste at the master tome of the first wave of Rails books.

It’s more than 500 pages of tutorial and reference on the Rails framework. We build a complete e-commerce application and go through all the sub-frameworks of Rails. There’s even a good 30-paged chapter on how to take your application online. Which web server to pick, how to install FastCGI, and all that jazz.

Buy the beta book now and you get the final polished copy “for free”. We’d be double happy if you bought the combo-pack, which also includes the final hardcopy book — but doesn’t hand all the cash to distributors and Amazon.

The Pragmatic Bookshelf has a lot more Rails books lurking under the surface. The success of this first title will be a good indicator for how many gets the “go”. I’m sure other publishers are watching this thing closely too in order to determine their involvement. So let’s make this the home run title that grows the market above and beyond.

David Siegel wants to build his film app in Rails

David Siegel has been working on an interesting database for the structure of films:

Some people know me as a type designer, a web designer, an entrepreneur, author, or public speaker. Few people know that for the past 20 years i’ve been working on building a database of story structure information taken from popular Hollywood films. I now have an assistant, Kevin, and together we are cranking out the data. It’s a lot of work. Each film has a potential 3,000 data items associated with it. In the past two years, we have managed to complete 100 films. We are rolling now and hope to have 200 by the end of this 2005. We do all the data gathering in excel.

He’s looking to team up with one or more Railers on either pay or barter basis:

I am looking for people to help. I want to put the project on the right footing (i.e., Ruby on Rails) and work with good people to realize it. I am willing to pay, but I would love to find a group that will barter with me for my user-interface and design skills. I can help with client projects and bring a lot of credibility to any team doing web development work. If you are a group of good engineers/programmers/developers with big projects and you need a partner to help with design/interface issues, this would be a very good fit.

See more at his posting for the Story Structure Project.

Odeo is hiring another Rails developer

I didn’t line them all up for this, I swear. But Rails positions are just emerging from everywhere. Today its the imminent podcasting venture know as Odeo that’s looking for another teammate:

Our main application uses Ruby on Rails, so either experience with that or the ability to learn quickly is required. However, more important requirements include: Extensive experience developing web applications, especially the back-end of high-scalability, consumer-oriented sites. Interest in joining a risky, by-the-seat-of-the-pants startup with minimal bennies, in exchange for tons of impact, minimal bureaucracy, and some decent upside potential.

More on the Odeo blog.

More Rails jobs: Adaptive Path, Check Giant

Adaptive Path is in need of some extra talent, writes Michael Buffington:

If you’re interested in a pretty aggressive project and you’re good with Ruby on Rails, drop me a line. The project will only last a couple of weeks but will be intense. We’ll expect you to develop code for our application, but also build tools that you can give away to the community at large. The schedule requires that we move quickly, so please make sure you’re able to start as early as next Monday and work hard until the end of May or thereabouts.

Check Giant, LLC, a finanial services start-up from Lake Bluff, Illinois is looking too:

Will be involved in architectural discussions and be asked to implement parts of the system. It will be important for the candidate to be able to take on a project independently and ensure its success. The ideal candidate will be fluent in Ruby as well as Rails. Experience in Javascript and CSS is desirable as is AJAX. SQL is a must, with experience in MySQL and Postgres being big pluses. Experience with Unix a must. A degree in Computer Science, Engineering or relevant experience. Write in plain text to

Rails job for Hollywood streaming application

Now don’t tell me there’s no glitz or glamour working with Rails. Tom Wolf from World of Wonder is looking to hire a Rails programmer to build a video delivery system in Ruby on Rails. Straight out of Hollywood:

We are looking for a freelance developer who can help us with a large web project involving video delivery, user accounts, content management and online purchasing.

The developer should have experience building modern, scalable and manageable web applications with ruby. Experience with quicktime streaming sever a plus.

The project is in its initial stages of design, so this is an opportunity for you to put your own ideas into action. Please send an email to for more information.

Learn Portuguese from a Rails application

Tim Case has recently launched theVerbalizer. It’s a learning tool for getting into Portuguese using a method of remembering verbs as the prime driver. Very cool stuff. Especially so for me as I’ll be going to Brazil next week for the International Free Software Forum to present about Ruby on Rails.