Heading to Rocky Mountain Ruby?

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

The Scout gang (including founders and co-dictators-for-life Derek and Andre) will be at Rocky Mountain Ruby Conference in beautiful Boulder, Colorado next week.

If you’re going to be there, let us know. We’d love to take our relationship beyond our support email address (if you’re ready for that).

 

Sparklines in your Campfire chat room

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Updates, Examples Bullet_white Comments Comments

Gavin Stark and the Real Digital Media team are Campfire power users. Back in April, Gavin created a Hubot script to send Scout alerts to their chatroom. Now, they needed visuals:

We wanted to grab some of the graphics that Scout’s in-app page offers to users to provide us with visual feedback on historical norms for each metric without leaving the chat room. A call to Scout support got graphics ported into the API in less than a day, and we were off and running.

hubot

His sparkline update hasn’t been merged into the Hubot repo yet, but you can view his fork. UPDATE – Merged!.

Resources

 

Removing deadweight - cleaning up our Rails app

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

Every man has their breaking point when it comes to deadweight code. Andre and I hit ours recently and decided to spend all of last week focusing soley on cleaning up Scout (a Rails app). Our goals:

  • Faster tests – our tests took 8 minutes to complete. While it’s the perfect amount of time to catchup on Daily Show clips, it really tested our patience making application-wide changes.
  • Removing deadweight – unused CSS rules, database tables + columns, views, and assets. It’s good having certainty that modifying code will change something in the application.

Here’s how we went about it:

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Kestrel in Production at Papertrail

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

We’ve added prolific plugin contributor Eric Lindvall’s latest plugins to Scout: Kestrel Overall and Kestrel Queue Monitoring. Kestrel is a simple message queue built from production needs at Twitter. Being the gentleman he is, Eric shared his experiences with Kestrel at Papertrail, a hosted log aggregation service.

Why Kestrel?

As all good message queues should, it provides:

  • transactional reads to prevent losing messages if a worker crashes before finishing processing a message
  • durability to prevent losing messages if a queue server crashes or is stopped after messages have been sent to it
  • “normal” queues (only one client sees a given message) and “fanout queues” (all clients see a given message, which many messaging systems call “topics”)

We picked Kestrel because it has bounded memory usage (it has a configuration setting to specify how many queued messages should reside in RAM, generally defaulting to 128MB), it’s small (I was able to read the entire Scala codebase in a weekend), and running on the JVM (which we have experiencing with) was a plus.

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Giving into reasonableness (acqui-hires)

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development, Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

Last week, Sparrow became the latest poster boy for talent acquisitions (Google gets the team, kills the product). Paying customers complain (I supported it!). Indie devs get depressed as one of their rank sells out.

I disagree with Matt Gemmell that these are a good thing – this is not a feel-good rags-to-riches story. It’s about brilliant developers giving into reasonableness because they didn’t have the runway to be foolish.

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Tomorrow at Fort Collins New Tech: the story I wish I heard before we started Scout

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

There was a clear turning point for Andre and I with Scout – it happened in October 2009. It led to one of our most popular blog articles, “We Just Undid Three Months of Dev work. Here’s What We Learned.”

I’ll be telling that story at the Fort Collins New Tech Meetup tomorrow evening. If you’re a developer starting a business (or struggling turning a side project into one) drop by. If you’re interested in heckling me, stop by too!

 

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