E-commerce is literally the most rewarding part of a web application — you can see money flowing into your company due directly to the code you have written. But dealing with payments and payment gateways is complicated and stressful. It's often the most complicated and precise business logic in a system.
I kind of didn't mean to go into development, which is how a lot of these stories start. I was a philosophy major finishing up school when I started learning Processing, a programming framework for building generative artwork and videos. Eventually I realized the programming part was rather enjoyable all on its own, so I went to Dev Bootcamp and spent 18 weeks learning Ruby. It was challenging, and I knew it was something I'd enjoy doing every day.
Code Platoon is a non-profit that teaches development skills to veterans, to help them transition back into civilian life and get quality jobs. A coding bootcamp for folks who have been to real-life bootcamp. The 16-week courses cover the full Ruby on Rails stack — the same technology Table XI uses — and equips veterans for paid coding internships, and hopefully from there a career. With the help of scholarships, Code Platoon offers all this for only $1,500, a fraction of what other coding schools charge students.
It’s also rather important to many web applications, in that it’s what we ask our customers to give us in exchange for goods and services. And when we do, both us and our customers want those financial calculations to be very precise. Even tiny rounding errors add up, given time.
All that gorgeous photography and stylized copy that makes your product sell so well — it’s also what’s taking precious seconds to load when you call up your site on a smartphone. You need rich media to properly showcase what you’re selling, but you also need your site to be speedy enough to load quickly on small screens and conform to web standards. Amazon estimates that every extra 100 milliseconds it takes a page to load cuts its profits by 1 percent. It’s not just that users won’t wait around for 10, 20 seconds for your site to load — Google uses site speed in its search rankings. Slow sites will take an SEO hit, hurting the odds of your customers finding you organically — i.e. without paid advertising.
Career development is a huge problem for many software shops. The software industry (or at least our corner of it) doesn’t rely on certifications or other external validations. So how can we ensure that our team continues to grow, learn, and improve?
For non-developers, it may seem like a new computer language is created every day, each with an uninformative name. Even developers sometimes feel that way. At Table XI, we’re always assessing ways to solve our clients’ problems, whether that’s a new schema for critiquing design or a new language well-suited to a necessary function. Still, the pace of new languages can make it difficult for our developers to try them out — and their new ways of solving problems
To broaden our thinking, this week several members of the Table XI team participated in a challenge: to take the coding exercise we ask our interview candidates to complete, and to build it in a language that’s unfamiliar. Each developer then presented the results to the group, so the whole team could each get an understanding of the new languages available, and an understanding of how our teammates approach a new language.
[Authors note: So, I wrote this in December, and promptly forgot about it for five months. It happens. I've annotated slightly.]
I was excited to be a guest on Ruby Rogues this week [note: actually last December] to discuss my book Rails 4 Test Prescriptions, available now as an ebook, and coming very soon [note: available now] as a physical object that you can buy or, say, give as a gift to all your friends. [note: still a great idea, please buy for all your friends].