Archives for February 2009
Last week I held my first meeting at NetDoktor, introducing the rest of the company to both what I’m doing and how I organize my work. Of course, I’d dropped the ‘agile’ word around the office from time to time and, suprisingly, most everyone had some idea of what it meant. Sure, it was some kind of new-fangled, black-magic to them, but they understood that it was supposed to help bring ideas faster to market. It was time to to shed some light on the subject of agile, and what better way than to walk them through the tool I use every day – Pivotal Tracker.
Maybe this sounds familiar to you: To maximize advertising revenues, it is necessary to constantly optimize ad placements, ad layouts and ad formats used on your site. This leads to a flood of really small user stories, which are often written like this:
Please put 3 AFS ads after the first search result, 3 ads in the middle and 5 at the end
Let’s try to ad another link block above and below the search results
Sounds pretty simple, huh? It is. But, you can waste a lot of time if you blindly approach such stories (like I did ;-). [Read more…]
We’ve managed our complete development with Pivotal Tracker for over a month now, and never looked back. All in all, our administrative overhead simply vanished and the flow of implementing user stories smoothed out quite a bit. All’s well that ends well, you might want to say. But the last couple of weeks raised some questions.
Emerging Iterations Remove Overhead
As you might already know, Pivotal Tracker is an agile project management tool featuring emerging iterations instead of user defined iterations. This has the big advantage that you, as an agile project lead, do not have to care about setting up and maintaining iterations. E.g. the backlog is automatically cut into iterations based on your team’s velocity. This enables the product owner to easily see the impact of any priority change in the backlog. So far, so good.
I know, I know – last week, I promised a post about hooking up Xdebug to Eclipse along with some nifty profiling howto. But, unfortunately, real life managed to intervene again!
Every site has its peaks, and every knowledgeable sysadmin automatically keeps an eye on the server farm during this time. Let’s face it – the Internet is a flash mob waiting to happen to your website, not to mention downright dangerous to your servers’ health. One false misconfiguration, and KA-BLOOEY! Nagios and pingdom alert hell.
In my post about Carpet is a re-mix of existing configuration management solutions, I gave you a rough overview of the problems I tried to address with Carpet. In this article, I want to show you how you can set up a complete Ruby on Rails stack with only a few lines of configuration while leveraging the extensibility of plain Capistrano recipes.
With all the LAMP stacks in the world, its hard to imagine we need yet another howto blog post. But I did have some trouble getting things running smoothly on my Mac and I’d like to share my experiences with you, the gentle reader. Living-e bundles Apache, MySQL and PHP stack for the Mac called MAMP. It’s made to run out of the box and it certainly lived up to its promise.
And, yes, before you ask – I really tried to go the purist route. I installed MySQL after perusing the “incredibly helpful and updated” Apple documentation on the subject (circa 2005 where they even spend a paragraph discussing MySQL drawbacks). But what defeated me in the end was trying to configure such oddball php plugins like pdo_mysql, GD2 and mbstring. I wasted almost a day of my life in the process. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!