Jamie's Weblog

Lessons of a startup CTO — and other things

Here I am!

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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July 6, 2015 0

Why Rollbar is the exceptional Exception Tracker

2015-07-02 at 23.00

I’ve used a few exception trackers over the years: first Airbrake (I won a lifetime account way back when); BugSnag for about a year; and Rollbar for the past few years.1 What does an Exception Tracker do? We all make mistakes. Sometimes we forget to test something. Sometimes we didn’t think our users would enter […]

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June 8, 2015 0

It’s all about the (creative) process

It's all about the creative process

How do you get from a design to actual code? That was my big question last week and, if you’re primarily a developer, you might be wondering the same thing. I hear a lot of web designers talking about working in Sketch or Photoshop, but I just couldn’t understand what the hell happens after they’ve […]

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May 30, 2015 0

Implementing HexGrids in Ruby

Tantrix

One of my favourite board games is Tantrix. I can be played as a puzzle like Solitaire or as a competitive game. We picked it up in New Zealand over 10 years ago (it was invented there) and we played it in the evenings as we travelled around. The rules are pretty simple but the […]

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May 26, 2015 0

Analysing a List of Names for Gender

2015-05-26 at 22.51

WebSummit decided that sending the names of 3000 attendees to people who still hadn’t availed of their wonderful offer would be a great idea. Personally, I found it offensive to receive the email — and my name wasn’t even on the list. I wonder how they felt? In fairness, it’s apparently made clear to attendees […]

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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 1

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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