On the Rails Over the Weekend

It is easy to avoid learning things and I often find that I make excuses to myself about thing that I have not done. So this weekend I have been forcing myself to learn some of the things I have been avoiding. (And sorry Terry, this doesn’t mean I have finished MoonLander — see Terry’s version here.)

I started out looking at 37signals’ Get Real eBook. I had been putting it off for some time but finally relented. It is a fast read and has some great tips and approaches for web development. However, the cool thing is that much of what they say can be translated to many other forms of business. I like the way that the focus on saying "no" to new features. It is their default response. Of course, if the same request keeps coming back then it becomes obvious that it is an actual need … this means that there is no need to keep logs of requests.

And, of course, buried within this document is a spiel about Ruby on Rails, which is another thing I have been avoiding. So while I was dealing with demons, I thought I may as well take on the beast. So I downloaded the software, followed the tutorial and built the test application. Now this is seriously fast and fun! It is nice to feel excited about some web software again (in that I spend most of my blogging time talking about stories, branding and marketing).

The next challenge, of course, is to see whether I can use Ruby on Rails to actually do something without instructions! Where to start? At the beginning of the Get Real eBook the 37signals team urge us all to under-do our competition — so that is where I will start. I may be on the rails, but there seems to be a long track ahead. I will let you know if I make it to the first station.