This week marks the official launch of a project we have been busy working on for the past few months. Since October we have been putting together mobile and web apps for a startup in Perth called Synaptor.
Synaptor is changing the way SMEs in hazardous industries ensure the safety of their people and the environment with innovative mobile and web apps. We’re happy to have been involved in a project for a local company that is going to improve health and safety outcomes in hazardous industries.
We have put together a case study (Synaptor case study) to showcase the products, but here’s a sneak peek below:
In any given week our company is typically developing five projects at once, with teams of one to three. We run one-week sprints with a half day planning session on Monday morning, and a review session on Friday afternoon.
A sprint is the basic unit of development in Agile. Sprints tend to last between one week and one month and are a “timeboxed” development effort of a constant length.
Our sprint planning session is broken down as follows:
Product owner – prioritise and explain highest priority items in the product backlog (we use Pivotal Tracker). The team can ask questions at this point.
Product owner – set a sprint goal (what are we achieving this sprint).
Team – select Pivotal Tracker stories you can commit to, to attain that goal.
Team – demonstrate a solution to each story in the sprint and ensure no outstanding questions.
Our Friday afternoon review session:
Product Owner and Team - demo all completed stories.
Team – Review estimates from the sprint and note down how you went and how you can improve (if target not met).
Team – Review points missed from the sprint and why, and how you can improve on that for next sprint.
If you’re running sprints in your organisation do you do things a little differently? Drop us a line in the comments.
If you’re looking for an engaging and interactive way to learn Ruby, I’d recommend Ruby Koans by EdgeCase. I think that the koans are especially interesting if you’re coming from another programming language like PHP or Java, because they rely on some basic programming knowledge, but don’t presume any Ruby-specific abilities.
The Koans walk you along the path to enlightenment in order to learn Ruby. The goal is to learn the Ruby language, syntax, structure, and some common functions and libraries.
By manipulating and building upon Ruby’s TestUnit framework, the EdgeCase developers have created a step-by-step process for teaching Ruby through the practice of “Red, Green, Refactor.” They’ve added some simple game mechanics too, by showing your systematic progression through the 270+ challenges (puzzles). Reaching enlightenment results in a pretty ASCII graphic, and a legitimate sense of achievement.
Before you start with the koans though you’ll need a working Ruby installation. I recommend you take a look at the excellent rvm project, which will allow you to install multiple rubies (1.8.7 and 1.9.2 for example, alongside each other) and multiple gemsets in your home directory. Former Frontiersmen and 2011 Ruby Hero Award winner Darcy Laycock was heavily involved in this project as part of the 2010 Ruby Summer of Code, so we really like rvm at TFG.
Lastly, if you’d like to have a play with the koans before diving in too deep, they’re available online through your web browser at Ruby Koans Online. This is a no-risk way of trying out Ruby (hint: team them up with why’s Try Ruby project) in your browser.
For the last 2 weeks a designer and a developer in the trenches at TFG HQ have put their heads together and brought our first iPhone app to fruition. With the build just days away from completion, we’ve finally got the green light to show the app publicly. We’ve had our 15 beta testers reviewing it for that whole time, but it’s always great to show the public what they’ll be able to get access to shortly.
The Menu Book began as a home delivered menu guide with all your local takeaway menus in one location. It also has a complementary website, and soon the iPhone app. We’re excited to have it so close to launch, and will keep you updated once it hits the store.