Jamie's Weblog

Lessons of a startup CTO — and other things

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Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence

I help non-technical founders start their business, build their product, get their first customers, and grow their technical team. I'm a generalist software engineer and I've worked with many different languages over the past 15 years but my current tool of choice is Ruby on Rails. I'm also an enthusiastic photographer and a novice archer

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February 3, 2015 0

SSL the easy way

SSLMate

A long time ago I wrote up how to setup SSL with Rails 3.2, nginx and NameCheap. That will forever be known as “the hard way”. I still need to do things the hard way with my current project but for all new projects I’m going to take one of the easier paths. Note, I […]

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January 23, 2015 0

Default has_one instances in Rails without the performance hit

2015-01-23 at 22.07

My first ill-fated attempt A while ago, I added an optional profile object for our users. I thought, in my haste, that the easiest way to provide an default profile instance would be like this: class User < ActiveRecord::Base has_one :profile after_initialize :default_profile def default_profile self.build_profile unless self.profile end end This would build a new […]

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November 23, 2014 0

Schema vs Query-based Multitenancy

2014-11-23 at 23.17

Most SaaS application are “multi-tenancy” to some extent (i.e., host more than one customer on the same system) but typically the term is reserved for apps that have company accounts, each with multiple users, authorisations etc. These companies would like to believe that company.mywebapp.com is their instance of MyWebApp and that you’ve lovingly prepared and […]

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October 23, 2014 0

The Ruby in Rails

2014-10-20 at 17.04

Back in August I did a short talk at Corkdev about the features of Ruby that make Rails so easy to work with. The aim was to show off Rails to a general tech audience but without being all preachy about it. So instead I flew through the actual Rails stuff and then looked at […]

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October 20, 2014 2

Generating a hierarchical graph with Rails & Javascript

2014-10-20 at 21.50

At WorkCompass, we can import a .csv file of employees from a customer but, as anyone who’s done anything with CSV files knows, you need a lot of validation to make sure the data is clean. Among the automated checks are some manual things like “these are the email domains used, are you sure they’re […]

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September 11, 2014 0

Is the Apple Watch ‘good’?

edition_red_leather_large

So Apple finally announced their watch and everyone can claim they predicted it. As a piece of design, it is pretty nice, much cheaper than I’d have expected and will be sure to gather a fervent following of fans. To be honest, I think the design is bulky and not something I’d like to see […]

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August 28, 2014 0

How your business model affects your hosting choice

This business would look for cheaper hosting providers

I’ve mentioned this a few times in conversation recently so it probably deserves a blog post. Heroku is the go-to host for Rails applications but there are often complaints about how expensive it is. What these startups don’t realise, is that their chosen business model has limited their hosting choices. Heroku is free to play, […]

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August 5, 2014 0

Ansible syntax highlighting for Sublime

Highhlighted as Ansible

If you’ve done any work in Ansible you’ll know that it uses YAML files for the bulk on the configuration. Whilst you can just make do with a standard YAML syntax highlighting, Ansible uses variables inside lines and Jinja template tags that it would be nice to visually highlight. First, you’ll need to install the […]

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March 24, 2014 0

The perfect in-app help system… doesn’t exist. Yet.

I’ve been looking for a solution that would allow our support team to screen-share with customers when providing support. When you have non-technical users, there’s no point in asking for a screenshot, or technical specs, or asking them to walk you through the problem. You just need to see it. An ideal system would work […]

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February 24, 2014 4

Using Guard and Vagrant for Rails development

Background I do all my development in a Vagrant VM and it’s mostly a seamless experience — except when using I was using guard. guard listens to file changes and runs the matching specs — it’s invaluable when doing any test-driven development. But when guard was running inside Vagrant it wouldn’t receive the filesystem events […]

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