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August 2009

Kanban for Bench Projects

photo credit: alq666 As a software development company, we mostly work on client projects. Occasionally one project doesn’t start right when another ends. In that short interval, we would like to work on something useful — in house products, R&D projects, etc.. Unfortunately, we can’t run these “bench” projects the way we run a normal project. We can’t do two or even one week i
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Chiphone Meeting: Chicago iPhone user group gets its TDD on

Eric Smith from 8th light gave a hands-on TDD presentation at last night’s Chiphone meeting, hosted at Obtiva’s downtown office, (conveniently located near the the train). There was a good crowd of people, most attendees have ‘played around’ with iphone development, 4 have actively developed apps (3 people have live apps in the store).  From my quick survey of those that have submitted apps, i
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Bridging the Gap Between Rails Developers and HTML Designers

To make a cheap joke and paraphrase a common quote, web developers and web designers are two groups separated by common languages. In our case, the languages are HTML and CSS, which are the output of both the web design process and the web development process. Developers and designers produce their HTML/CSS in different ways and with different goals. Here are some ideas for bridging the gap so that the developers and
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Signs of the Nextpocalypse

Q: What is the NewNet? a) The increasing prevalence user-generated information on the Internet b) Push-web triumphs over pull-web c.) Social media d) An attempt to sell subscriptions to Om Malik’s new “research” service Answer: d. GigaOm Pro: Fresh Internet buzzwords, unsullied by the taint of the latest crash. Can I have my Web 2.0 back, please?
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Making Vaadin, PureMVC and Grails Work Together

On seeing that someone had developed a Grails Plugin for Vaadin (the former ITMill Toolkit, based on GWT as a front end technology), I immediately grabbed it and started exploring. One of the first things I do when developing things that look like GUI’s is apply PureMVC to it. It’s sort of like a big MVC switchboard that lets you hook together the smaller MVC’s of whatever framework you’re usi
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Using Mocha for ActiveRecord Partial Mocks with Finders

Mocha on sparklette.net Mocha is the mocking library used by the Rails team, so it has understandably gained some traction among Rails developers. I have started using it over flexmock lately, but ran into some problems with partial mocks on ActiveRecord objects. The problem stemmed from the fact that ActiveRecord instantiates new records when returning records from finders, which meant that creating partial mocks fo
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Building a High Performance Agile Team: Assume You Will Be a One Hit Wonder

One thing about agile teams is that they constantly strive to get better. In my experience an Agile team takes 2-4 iterations to work through the forming stage. By iteration 10 or so the team is past forming and storming and is well into norming. At this stage the team is often moving fast enough or better than expected for the business’ needs. Now the team faces a dilemma: How to become a high performance team and w
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Software Development and Wasted Motion

All the good stories in agile software development start “three manufacturing efficiency experts walk into a bar…” But seriously, I think it’s clear that software development has a greater affinity to manufacturing than to construction. So, its good to see the Lean and manufacturing folks get a little blog buzz over at AgileSoftwareDevelopment.com with Jack Milunky’s post The 7 Software
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Thinking about starting a SaaS or eCommerce business?

I’m approached by people every week that think they have a great “new” idea for a web startup.   The ideas run the gamut from those that aren’t yet technologically possible to those “new” ideas that I have received 10 similar calls on over the past year.   Here are some things to consider: Think about the business need and revenue model first.  Who are the users (your “customers”), what is the application or service
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Rails Testing First Look: Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Mountains by eleda 1 So, I tried Blue Ridge for the first time yesterday and I thought I’d write down some quick impressions. Hence, Rails Testing First Look. Disclaimer: We came into this tool so cold our toes froze. We fumbled, we made mistakes, we probably missed really great ways of doing things. I look forward to being enlightened. Let’s do this question-and-answer style:
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