Lessons From The Real World by Dirk Elmendorf

Dirk, the speaker, is a founder of rackspace managed hosting. They have 1600 employees.

Dirk develops for the enterprise, but he’s not an “enterprise developer.” I.e., Gantt charts, ties, TPS reports.

Three big steps in building an enterprise Rails app:
1. Build a team
2. Build the app
3. Get it to play with others

Build a team

An anchor (someone who knows Rails ) makes it easier.

The Learning Rails Curve
1. Everything is so weird!
2. The “black magic” is annoying. (And scary.)
3. Tasks get done with little code
4. You look up how to do thing in Ruby
5. You realize how much faster they are at building things
6. You stop saying: in Java/Python/PHP, I’d do this …
7. Why didn’t I switch a year ago?
8. On Rails
Payoff is at #8.

More hand-raising polls! Only one person was a Ruby developer before they became a Rails developer.

First rackspace Rails app used to manage Katrina evacuees in San Antonio. Developers always say that we have no time, but they had people getting on evacuation buses before the app was coded. (I think this isn’t the only Rails app that is Katrina-inspired.)

Build the app

“Finish lines are only for consultants and demos.” People depend on your app, and downtime is bad. So you need tests.

50% audience knows what Test-driven Development is. 40% do TDD. The speaker, Dirk, doesn’t actually do it. He recommends rcov to check for test coverage.

He asks: How many of you use IE? Me (Scott) and like two other people raise their hands! News flash from Dirk and me: your users use IE!

Selenium is great, but … if your UI design isn’t set, it will become a huge time sink to keep the Selenium tests running.

Get it to play with others

No app is an island in the enterprise. Integrate early because things that seem easy — are not; and integration takes time to figure these things out. That sure is my experience with Banfield’s WPA project and our integration with Petware 1 and 2.

Integration testing is hard with enterprise systems, and mock objects help here. The rackspace team is arm wrestling over FlexMock versus .

There is nothing that they haven’t been able to integrate with.

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