Red Squirrel Reflections
Dave Hoover explores the psychology of software development

Dave Hoover

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Old Archives


Thu, 24 Aug 2006

Apprenticeship Patterns at Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference

I will be leading a discussion on a small assortment of the apprenticeship patterns at The Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference on October 26 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I'm looking forward to road-tripping there with Tyler, who is giving a talk on Practical Pair Programming.

[/craftsmanship] permanent link

Wed, 23 Aug 2006

Obtiva's first Rails/TDD Course Sold Out

The last seat in our first Rails/TDD Course was sold today. I'll be spending next week with 8 developers from several regions of the United States building a Rails app from scratch using Test-Driven Development. Half of the attendees will be staying for Friday's Ajax on Rails add-on, where we'll ajaxify the application we built earlier in the week, using Selenium and Watir to test our Ajax interactions from end-to-end. Good times!

We're planning on scheduling our next course in the November-December timeframe. Contact Obtiva Training if you're interested.

[/training] permanent link

Tue, 22 Aug 2006

Rails Integration Testing redirect_to :back

ActionController provies some ultra-convenient functionality via redirect_to :back. To get it to work in your Controller and Integration tests, you'll need to make sure that the HTTP_REFERER is set on the request. This is fairly straightforward for Controller tests:
  @request.env["HTTP_REFERER"] = "/babies/new"
  get :create, :baby => { ... }
  assert_redirected_to "babies/new"
For Integration tests, it's a little different:
  get "babies/create", { :baby => { ... } }, { "HTTP_REFERER" => "/babies/new" }
  assert_redirected_to "babies/new"
Unfortunately, this Integration test will fail. There is a bug in ActionController::Integration::Session (patched here) which can be worked around if you change the header to 'REFERER' => "/babies/new" or :referer => "/babies/new".

[/dynamic] permanent link

Malamidis on Java and Ruby

George provided an insightful post on Java and the trend toward dynamic languages:
I'd like to see focus shifted to the core characteristics of Java that made it such an interesting prospect at first, and these, in my opinion, boil down to good software design, powered by fundamental OO principles, not bells and whistles like Continuations, which, according to the Ruby FAQ, can be used to implement complex control structures, but are typically more useful as ways of confusing people.

[/links] permanent link

Sun, 13 Aug 2006

The Long Tail of Rails Training

I returned from a much needed vacation with my wife and kids last Wednesday to find out that Obtiva's first Rails/TDD course is close to selling out. I'm excited to meet the attendees in a couple weeks. My fellow Obtivians and I are working hard to make it a unique and rewarding experience. The structure and spirit of the course will be inspired by The Coder's Dojo which I had the pleasure of participating in last year.

While on vacation I started reading The Long Tail book and so it was through that lens that I interpreted the news about the Rails course upon my return. When it comes to Rails trainers, I would guess that the distribution of success (as defined by reputation + number of trainings provided) follows the same power law seen in this graph, with the excellent Pragmatic Studio guys way over on the head. They are the blockbuster training group, no doubt about it. And in our celebrity-centric, hit-based culture, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they're the only game in town. But there's enough demand for Rails out there (for now) to generate some nice business for people down on the tail.

This is an interesting time to be part of a small startup like Obtiva. There is enough demand in our industry right now that we find ourselves openly cooperating with several other small firms rather than competing with them. I guess that might change when the market turns south, but I find it to be an encouraging phenomenon among companies on the long tail during times of abundance. And I wonder how that cooperation will affect those companies during times of scarcity. As more small companies offer Rails training it could be in their best interest to extend that collaboration into their course materials.

[/training] permanent link

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