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Refactor Christmas, Be Agile, and Be Happy

Here is a great story of Ruby on Rails being used for a great non-profit fundraiser idea that I can’t wait to buy into. This Christmas I was truly unhappy with the amount of gifts that flooded our family’s lives. Its just become too much and I feel like Heather and I need to take the lead by giving something truly meaningful like a half a day of a cancer researcher’s time, buy a week of landmine detection for a mere $55, or displace cocaine farms in Columbia by subsidizing coffee bean farms.

Well Bruce is fortunate enough to have an opportunity to build this with Rails. And the results have been phenomenal:

The founder considered Java for scalability and stability, but the early bids came back and the project looked too expensive and complex…. Our team built the initial version of the site at about one fifth of the projected cost of bids using other languages, and in about one sixth of the projected time. Rails has absolutely been critical to our productivity and success.

Be Agile and Be Happy

And I love Bruce’s take on agile programming. I really hadn’t taken the time to figure out what agile development really meant but its very close to where I find my method today:

* We focus our process around short, sharp one-week iterations. We deploy at least weekly.
* Instead of forcing quality through the funnel of a formal test cycle, we rely heavily on our developers to build test cases as we code.
* We are not afraid to refactor when it suits our business purposes. We refactor to improve code quality, address requirements, or improve flexibility.
* We manage minor requirements weekly, and major requirements monthly.
* We maintain tight communication with our business users through weekly demos, even though our team is distributed.
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