Tom Ward by Tom Ward

Week 139

It’s natural that some weeks will be quiet, and others be busy. Occasionally though, you have a week that seems both.

On the surface, we haven’t had much to do. With no client work and very little admin (our office move is proceeding smoothly), it’s been a nice break from the usual stresses and strains. On the other hand, there are always hundreds of things you want to complete “when I’ve got the time”. When you do have the time, it can be a struggle to fit them all in.

Making things

Last week James mentioned spiking some scripts to build a new email tool. This week it has a name, Sauron. It’s been harder than expected to collate all our emails (mine in particular seem to break things), but it’s now ready for us to try out. We don’t yet know how useful it will prove, but the only way to really find out is to use it.

Meanwhile Chris has been moving a bunch of old code into github. As a Google fanboy, it must have been painful for him saying goodbye to Google Code. He’s sorted through his old projects, discarding some and keeping others, taking the opportunity to clean up those that remain. One of those is Active Places, a project from the first Rewired State National Hack The Government day. He’s tidied it up so it’s usable, using bundler to lock the dependencies as if it was still 2009. Hopefully this isn’t the end of the story - it’s a lot better than the official government site.

Jase has been working hard writing his talk for a conference in Bulgaria, and I’ve been doing more work on my experimental Capistrano deployment recipes. They’re not there quite yet, but I think they show promise. I also finally published a post on the geohash toy I wrote. 6 weeks as a draft is 5.9 weeks too long.

Meeting people

On Monday, James and I popped down to LRUG to hear Chris Parsons and other members of the Agile Delivery Network talk about their experiences building the new Government e-petitions site. They demonstrated clearly what can be achieved by an agile team in a very short timescale, but better than that, were candid about what things went wrong.

We also dropped in at the Ruby Business Meetup, chatting about all things ruby and business.

The future

Next week we’re starting work with gov.uk (the project formerly known as alphagov). They’ve assembled a formidable team, whom we’re really looking forward to working with. We’ve had to drop our rates a little and turn down other work, but it will be worth it if we realise even half the potential shown by alphagov.

We’re not all going to be down in Lambeth next week. I’ll be in Helsinki for Frozen Rails, while James Mead will be learning about Top Down TDD in Clojure. If you bump into us, be sure to say hi.

Until the next time Harmonia chooses me as our Week Notes writer,

Tom

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