Three Months at Glam

First, I want to thank my friend Joel for making this opportunity possible and for his support over the last decade-plus. He is an awesomely creative developer and if you need consulting you’ll be happy I made this recommendation.

Overall, I am just really happy these days. Being a Rails developer and being at Glam Media are both very rewarding and fulfilling. Over the last decade I’ve done a lot of coding but always as a small part of my responsibilities or for my own edification but I think DHH was right when he put fun as a priority for Rails. Ruby and this framework are strong matches for my mental model; I’ve looked at most of the major programming languages over the course of the last two decades and not since Clipper, way back in the prehistoric (well, pre-Windows) days have I had such a strong fit. I can see how others get the same from, say, Python or Scala–this kind of fit is a combination of emotions, personal experience and context, not science.

Another big positive about Rails for me is the community. The number of people involved who do things to benefit the community is outstanding, and by things I mean writing blog articles and (often free) books, publishing FOSS libraries (so many great ones but a couple of current faves include Compass, Devise and MetaWhere) and tools (rvm, Git), and simply being helpful on IRC, Twitter and other fora (Elad, I’m looking at you).

Glam as a place to work really suits me. The company is big enough–strong products, revenues and market presence–but still operates nimbly and with staff given freedom to for the most part choose how their work gets done. Of course they started off on the right foot with me just by having a fresh MacBook Pro and oversized, arm-mounted monitor waiting for me my first morning. Also, the team I’m on, which builds GlamAdapt Automate, has mostly developers who are stronger than me and willing to share their expertise and a leader who spends most of his time coding (at least for now).

I tend to like organization. Whether we’re talking about code or my desk I’m always more comfortable when its neat, clean and simple. In code this often leads me to writing components or modules and twice now I’ve done that in our app. Last week, for example, I wrote a Rails plugin because the one we had been using was no longer maintained or compatible and I couldn’t find a good replacement on Github. The plugin is not too complex but it enables us to have the options of one select box on a form change in response to changing the value of another and does it without the server roundtrip of an AJAX implementation. Functionally it meets our requirements though there are some enhancements we can see clearly for a next rev.

The key point, though, is that I was allowed to do this. I’ve never even tried to write a Rails plugin before but that was never even a question; I’m simply trusted to deliver the required functionality in the allotted time.

I’ve worked with smart people on products I was proud of before, Kachingle being the most recent example. But I’m truly happy today as a Rails dev at Glam.