Rails and WordPress, BostonRB and WordCamp Boston
I recently moved from Philadelphia to Boston, and my house is currently overflowing with half-unpacked boxes. Despite all the craziness of moving (or perhaps because of it…), I was a speaker at WordCamp Boston this past weekend, and also gave a lightning talk at the BostonRB Ruby meetup last week.
If you’ve followed our blog so far, you may have noticed we talk about both WordPress and Ruby on Rails. While it’s unusual to see a consultancy that develops in these two very different platforms, supporting both gives us the flexibility to choose the platform that best suits our clients’ needs. For applications that primarily need CMS (content management system) functionality, WordPress is a natural fit, while Rails is best suited for highly customized application development. Well known sites with a focus on content, such as The New York Times, CNN, Mashable and many others use WordPress. Twitter was originally developed on Rails, and sites such as Groupon, Bloomberg, Airbnb, and many others also use Rails.
Many consultancies will shoehorn the development of your web application into the one platform they happen to know, even if it’s not a good fit for your needs (this may not be a conscious decision on their part – if they only know one platform well, they may not have the perspective to know whether another platform might be a better choice). For example, WordPress’ Custom Post Types are great for situations where your data can be well represented in the relational database table structure on which WordPress is built, and using them can speed along the development process. But if they aren’t a good fit, then you will likely encounter poor performance when your traffic increases, or have to do custom database development work, which is a breeze in Rails but is awkward and inefficient to do in WordPress.
Regardless of the platform, we take an Agile approach to our work. On the technical side, this means a relentless focus on quality, using object oriented design and test driven development (TDD). My lightning talk at the BostonRB meetup focused on an aspect of this: following the Law of Demeter in Rails application development. Check out my slides.
My WordCamp Boston talk was about the business side of the Agile development process, with a focus on how to build professional, long term partnerships with your clients. I’ve given this talk a few times now, and it’s been a lot of fun to have the opportunity to refine it and keep improving it (I also gave it at the Philadelphia Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise conference and WordCamp Nashville). The video is above, and you can check out my slides.
Here are some tweets from people at each of my talks:
@mtoppa @bostonrb Great talk! I've made egregious violations of the Law of Demeter before that I'm now eager to try and fix (sans #try 🙂
— Rahul Horé (@TheAllBox) July 15, 2015
@mtoppa on Law of Demeter pic.twitter.com/lyS7RrgWEK
— Boston Ruby Group (@bostonrb) July 14, 2015
Eager to explore the Agile Contracts Primer and revolutionize the way we run our projects. Thanks, @mtoppa! @WordCampBoston…
— WP SuperService (@WPSuperService) July 18, 2015
Good talk by @mtoppa making the argument for agile development with time & materials contracts @wordcampboston #wcbos
— Andy Gagnon (@andygagnon) July 18, 2015
Great takeaway from @mtoppa's session on Agile contracts at @WordCampBoston #wcbos pic.twitter.com/UG3VywnnP7
— Amanda Giles (@AmandaGilesNH) July 18, 2015
agree: Having to give an estimate when you know least about the client places all the risk on you – by @mtoppa #wpbos pic.twitter.com/OtQCvJ9jOu
— Daria Mark (@dariamark) July 18, 2015
Agile consulting @mtoppa agile focuses on agreement about collaboration rather than deliverables and deadlines constant feedback = less risk
— Pat Carroll (@PatC508) July 18, 2015
Loving the agile contracting idea presented by @mtoppa at#wcbos. Turns out I've been doing this all along without knowing it's a framework.
— Daria Mark (@dariamark) July 18, 2015
Armchair WordCampers: Plethora of WP knowledge in @wordcampboston w/ @bobbiec @williampd @mtoppa @scottwyden @professor @michaeldcain #wcbos
— David Bisset (@dimensionmedia) July 18, 2015