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Annette's a Rails Girl

Annette's a Rails Girl

Heard of Rails? Heard of Girls? What about RailsGirls?!

(Ruby on) Rails is, and I quote Wikipedia: "an open source web application framework written in Ruby". In layman's terms, it's what our clever web developers use to make our websites.

Girls are... well, insert your own answer here.............. (try wonderful, clever etc). But for me as a Girl, I didn't know much about Rails, or Ruby - and in fairness, I don't need to - but I was starting to want to.

Over the three years I've been here at Focus, I've seen and heard lot of code-y, tech-y stuff, like 'Gems', 'Frameworks', 'Scaffolds' and the like. I see black screens with white text on that looks like something out of the Matrix, and I am DEAD impressed. So when I heard about the latest Rails Girls event in Bristol, I signed myself up to find out more.

So a couple of Saturdays ago I headed over to At-Bristol (where loads of cool stuff was going on with kids flying drones and all sorts!), and got stuck in to a really informative, interesting and empowering day. The guys running the sessions all had different experiences with Ruby and Rails. We learnt some basic information, terminologies and the like, did some tutorials, had a yummy lunch, and then onto the highlight - building our own web application. With the assistance of several experienced helpers, I managed to set myself up a server and make myself an 'ideas application'. I made CSS styling changes, created new 'ideas' (headlines with text), I even made buttons that facilitated an image upload.

Back at work on the Monday after the event I proudly showed off my work. I think the developers sniggered into their sleeves a bit :-) but everyone was interested in what I'd done and how I'd done it.

Moreover, I now feel better informed; when talking to our developers and also hearing them talk, and seeing what's happening on their screen when I ask for changes to a website. I know what a Gem is, and what it means to create a new scaffold. And it helps talking to clients about their website work, I can better picture what might be involved with what sounds like a simple change...

So huge thanks to @RailsGirlsBriz - I enjoyed the day and learned lots of new stuff. And the fact they run these events for free I think is marvellous. Can I go to the next one?

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Wednesday December 10 2014 09:43 AM


Tags: website open-source web-development bristol rubyonrails ruby rails programming


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Rails 4: It's Upgrade Season!

Rails 4: It's Upgrade Season!

We've going through a bit of an upgrade period here at Focus towers. The web framework we use for all our websites is Ruby on Rails, and version 4.0 has just been released.

Major "point" upgrades, when systems go from v3.x to v4.0 are always an exciting, and yet challenging time. Normally major upgrades have exciting new features that we want to use, but the downside is they often require other code or libraries to be upgraded to work correctly.

Ruby on Rails v4.0 requires Ruby 1.9, dropping support for the older Ruby 1.8 series, which means servers running 1.8 need to be upgraded in order to use Rails 4. However, Rails 4 also supports the also-new Ruby 2.0, which brings performance optimisations and other nice language improvements to the table.

The best approach would seem to be to install multiple versions of Ruby on some of our servers, making them able to serve sites both old and new.

This is thankfully easily achievable - IF we upgrade Phusion Passenger, which serves our Rails sites on our production server to v4.0, which is the first version to support multiple Ruby versions at the same time!

So, we find ourselves wanting to upgrade to Rails 4.0, Ruby 2.0 and Phusion Passenger 4.0 at the same time in order to achieve what we want! It's an exciting time, but also one that involves a lot of testing!

Version numbers aside, you may be wondering what the point of these upgrades is. It's generally true that a website created in Rails 4 can't (from a user viewpoint) really achieve anything that fundamentally a website in Rails 3 (or even 2, or 1) can. (There are a few specific exceptions, but I'll leave these for now!)

Rails 4 brings the developers some nice additional tools to the table, meaning we can write code in simpler, better and more consistent ways. This helps us write code quicker and reduces the possibility of making any errors.

The main customer-facing improvement, however, is probably performance - Rails 4 gives us some great tools (such as "turbo links" and "russian doll caching", believe it or not!) to make your websites run faster for your users.

Everyone is clamouring for more speed on websites these days - figures show that faster websites convert customers better (and generate more revenue), and Google is factoring load speed into it's ranking - meaning faster websites could rank better in the natural listings.

Therefore, it's great for everyone that we're getting an even better set of tools for making your websites run faster.

If you'd like to know more about any of our technologies, or would like to talk to us about website performance, please do get in touch!
 

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Wednesday August 14 2013 12:17 PM


Tags: rubyonrails ruby


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Focus are hiring....

These are busy times in the Focus studio, so we're after two new people to join the team - an experienced web developer and an account manager! Both roles are full time and based at our Bristol office....

Web Developer

We're looking for a web developer to work in our central Bristol office. Preferably we're after someone with experience of the Ruby on Rails framework but we're also happy to hear from applicants with strong skills in other MVC frameworks and PHP programmers looking to get into Rails and we're happy to provide training.

You'll be working throughout the project lifecycle - meeting clients to confirm requirements, writing specifications, coding (front and back-end), testing and some minimal sys admin work.

Back-end, we're focussed on Ruby on Rails, which we use for all our sites - there will definitely be front-end XHTML / CSS work too. We mainly use Macs for development, but are flexible if you're a Linux or Windows die-hard.

You'd need either some Ruby on Rails or strong skills in another MVC framework. Commercial experience is a plus, but we'd also like to talk to you if you've been doing Rails in your spare time and are looking for your first commercial Rails gig. Your XHTML and CSS is expected to be solid, and you'll hopefully have good Javascript chops too - we use jQuery, so that would be ideal. You should know your way around a database (ideally MySQL), have some experience of version control, and be comfortable working from the command line.

Salary for this role between £25k and £30k dependent on experience.

To apply please send a CV and covering email to:
devjob@thisisfocus.co.uk

If you have a relevant blog, or code samples, they would also support your application.


Account Manager

We're looking to recruit an experienced Account Manager to help provide proactive services to our wide range of clients.

Key responsibilities of the role include:

 - creating effective and innovative solutions and digital strategy for our range of clients.
 - provide a day to day point of contact for multiple accounts, responding to work requests and scheduling work within the studio.
 - developing relationships with key individuals to generate work and revenue.
 - using Google Analytics to track web site goals and objectives.
 - search strategy including optimisation and PPC campaigns.
 - assisting with marketing and new business sales.

A full job specification is available. 

Ideally we're looking for someone with experience in a similar agency environment, with excellent communication and organisation skills and a flexible approach to manage multiple accounts.

For more details or to apply please send a CV and covering email to:
hello@thisisfocus.co.uk

If you have a relevant blog that would also support your application. 

Salary for this role between £25k and £30k dependent on experience.


For both roles - strictly no agencies

 

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Friday June 17 2011 09:37 AM


Tags: web-development ruby programming


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Ruby & rails: Just like peas and carrots

Ruby & rails: Just like peas and carrots

We often get asked what language we use to build our sites, and as first point of contact with the client, I chirpily rattle off the reply: 'Ruby on Rails!' It sounds nice, comes with gems and I'm pretty proud of myself (as a non-tecchie) for even knowing that much!

But what does it mean? Why do we use Ruby over any other more widely used programming language? I realised I wasn't entirely sure, so set myself the task of finding out.

Rails is the framework that grew out of the development of the popular project management tool Basecamp 

Open source, it enables people to use it and deploy 'commits' to it (contribute to its growth) and is increasing in popularity all the time. Some sites you may have used that are built in Ruby on Rails (apart from ours!) are:

  

 

So why do we use it? One reason, really: It's so much less complicated than some other programming languages.

Ruby on Rails is designed to use less code than other programming methods, meaning less repetition, quicker development times and less margin for error. 

Its two main principles, Convention over Configuration and Don't Repeat Yourself, mean that it's more intuitive for programmers and enables them to programe more quickly and with A LOT less code. In short, we think it's better than anything else out there.

Drop us a line if you would like to know more!

 

 




Ruby & rails: Just like peas and carrots

Ruby & rails: Just like peas and carrots

We often get asked what language we use to build our sites, and as first point of contact with the client, I chirpily rattle off the reply: 'Ruby on Rails!' It sounds nice, comes with gems and I'm pretty proud of myself (as a non-tecchie) for even knowing that much!

But what does it mean? Why do we use Ruby over any other more widely used programming language? I realised I wasn't entirely sure, so set myself the task of finding out.

Rails is the framework that grew out of the development of the popular project management tool Basecamp 

Open source, it enables people to use it and deploy 'commits' to it (contribute to its growth) and is increasing in popularity all the time. Some sites you may have used that are built in Ruby on Rails (apart from ours!) are:

  

 

So why do we use it? One reason, really: It's so much less complicated than some other programming languages.

Ruby on Rails is designed to use less code than other programming methods, meaning less repetition, quicker development times and less margin for error. 

Its two main principles, Convention over Configuration and Don't Repeat Yourself, mean that it's more intuitive for programmers and enables them to programe more quickly and with A LOT less code. In short, we think it's better than anything else out there.

Drop us a line if you would like to know more!

 

 




Ruby & rails: Just like peas and carrots

Ruby & rails: Just like peas and carrots

We often get asked what language we use to build our sites, and as first point of contact with the client, I chirpily rattle off the reply: 'Ruby on Rails!' It sounds nice, comes with gems and I'm pretty proud of myself (as a non-tecchie) for even knowing that much!

But what does it mean? Why do we use Ruby over any other more widely used programming language? I realised I wasn't entirely sure, so set myself the task of finding out.

Rails is the framework that grew out of the development of the popular project management tool Basecamp 

Open source, it enables people to use it and deploy 'commits' to it (contribute to its growth) and is increasing in popularity all the time. Some sites you may have used that are built in Ruby on Rails (apart from ours!) are:

  

 

So why do we use it? One reason, really: It's so much less complicated than some other programming languages.

Ruby on Rails is designed to use less code than other programming methods, meaning less repetition, quicker development times and less margin for error. 

Its two main principles, Convention over Configuration and Don't Repeat Yourself, mean that it's more intuitive for programmers and enables them to programe more quickly and with A LOT less code. In short, we think it's better than anything else out there.

Drop us a line if you would like to know more!