My uncle has been bugging me to help him with writing some software for awhile now, and this last weekend he sent me another email with a new idea, to help him in his business. I had some time available this week, so I decided to drive down to his shop and try something. My goal was to take his simple idea, boil it down to its essence, and write the whole application in a day using Rails.

To prepare myself I started working on TDD again, using shoulda and factory_girl. I also built my own version of bort from the ground up, called pudding (it has a couple flavors, including vanilla and tapioca). I tried to find the right mix of features to give myself a running start when I arrived onsite.

I arrived at 8:30am this morning and started programming at 9am. At first things were going fairly well, building my models out using TDD went fast, and I was rolling along nicely on writing my controllers using TDD when I hit a wall, aka, lack of knowledge on my part. After hitting this wall for 45 minutes I finally gave up on TDD and just went back to my old way of doing things, i.e. no testing.

I was back on a roll again, using my osx theme for the admin interface, and blueprint for the css reset, typography, and layout on the technician facing part of the application (the part that will be used the most).

Things were going along nicely until I ran into issues with the way I was doing ajax modals, via thickbox. I’d already implemented quite a bit using thickbox, when I decided I needed to start over on my modals using a different library. So far I think I’m gonna use jqModal.

So, at 4:30pm I called it quits for the day, realizing my “app in a day” dream was not gonna happen, although I believe I’m about a 1/3rd of the way there, which isn’t too bad.

Lessons learned?

  • I need to work quite a bit more on testing, I need to know it like the back of my hand
  • I need to have a sample controller built out in my pudding apps, so I can do a bit of copy/paste when building my controllers
  • It would also be nice to include my osx theme, and blueprint theme in my pudding apps
  • I need to get better at jQuery, and find the best plugins for my different needs