Blog

Fix your broken window!
September 22, 2010

As a programmer working with other programmers, I’m usually contributing to an already existing code base and basically just adding new functions or extending their functionality. Because I’m a person who could be influenced by others&...

One Week Iterations Rock
September 15, 2010

Stuck in a project where every iteration fails to deliver? Where every retrospective is a nightmare? Where every show and tell is a verbal cat o’ nine tails session? Where you’re a gibbering wreck yearning for a stronger prescription? ...

Plenty more fish in the sea...
September 10, 2010

It dawned on me this week that sometimes seeking out new business can be a bit like asking out a girl out on a hot date! Cold sweats, nervous shivers, butterflies in the stomach; a total nightmare… right?! This week I went along to the fre...

What car is your website?
September 6, 2010

I was driving the family back from Lucca in Tuscany to catch our flight from Genova when a thought struck me. Car manufacturers segment their markets looking for large niches.  Large enough to attract enough customers worldwide but unique eno...

I'm not working
August 20, 2010

Yes that’s right, despite the fact that I’m employed by Unboxed I’m not working anymore. I’m going to work every day, programming some stuff but it’s not work for me anymore. Really. I have had this feeling since I s...

IRB completion from the debugger
August 18, 2010

The default IRB completion code that ships with Ruby does not work well when being invoked from the debugger prompt: >: ruby /test_script.rb [-2, 7] in /test_script.rb 1 require 'ruby-debug' 2 debugger => 3 :foo /test_script.rb:3 :foo (...

Appetite for Agile
August 13, 2010

This week I’ve been musing over the most expensive, and delayed record in music history, the (sort of) Guns n’ Roses album Chinese Democracy. ‘Sort of’ because it’s not really Gn’R at all, it’s the band&r...

Which JS Unit Testing Framework?
August 13, 2010

As a ruby developer I’m used to using testing frameworks like Rspec or Cucumber. I started polishing an old project of mine recently, which is written in Ruby/js and using Sinatra. When I looked at the code I noticed that there is a lot of J...

The abominable Rails 3 snowman doesn't like Rack-Test
August 10, 2010

I recently started a Rails 3 application to see how things are done in the new version, and also to take an opportunity to try Mongoid. After all, Rails now plays nicely with any library that implements ActiveModel.   The application i...

A++ code review
July 31, 2010

We have had a code review carried out on one of the projects we are currently working on, channel5.com, by an external party.  Xavier Noria has looked at the code and has given us a glowing report which Channel 5 are very happy with.&nbs...

Announcing: Tabnav
July 30, 2010

I’ve just released a new gem called Tabnav. It’s a Rails helper for generating navbars. It allows you to specify highlighting rules for each nav item in a clean way without lots of conditionals in your views. It is loosely based on th...

Wikileaks war logs on rails
July 27, 2010

I assume that everybody has now heard about the wikileaks war logs leak. I thought this was a nice opportunity to hack together a Rails app that contains the data that was leaked. Hopefully this will be a good resource for people to play around bo...

Hacking Safari’s auto-complete feature
July 26, 2010

The recently released update to Safari (version 5.0.1) seems to fix the security issue described below. Jeremiah Grossman points out a serious security issue that he recently found in Safari. You probably know about Safari’s autocompletion...

Scrum in the Deep End
July 25, 2010

As a new employee of Unboxed, and being new to scrum, I thought I would tell you about my 3 month experience as a ScrumMaster thus far. Thanks to Unboxed, I have been thrown into the deep end of the world of agile, London culture, fine whiskey, an...

Recipe for a Cape Town office
June 9, 2010

Search for office space from the Waterfront to Muizenberg and settle on a great and gorgeously located building in Constantia close to some superb vineyards, the names of which are a challenge (for some) to pronounce. Uitsig anyone? Tear do...

Cucumber + iPhone = iCuke
May 31, 2010

Ever wish you could write Cucumber stories for iPhone applications the way you do for web apps? Well now you can, thanks to Unboxed’s iCuke. iCuke allows you to write integration tests for your iPhone applications without changing your exis...

CSS id and class naming
May 30, 2010

I’m a developer, I like structure, I like clean code, I like DRY code. I find writing CSS incredibly painful. CSS1 was first published in December 1996, so I ask, why in 2010 does it feel like CSS is just as painful as it was 14 years ago? ...

The Good Years
April 30, 2010

We’ve turned 5!   The last five years have really flown by but I couldn’t let our fifth birthday go past without a bit of reflection!! We are in a really fantastic place as a company and I’ve got a lot of pride when I look b...

We open our office in Cape Town
April 27, 2010

This hit the newswires this week: Unboxed Consulting Continues Global Expansion Into South Africa - A Record-breaking year drives global expansion plans… Unboxed Consulting, a leading agile consulting and web development consult...

Pair Programming - Luxury or Necessity?
April 25, 2010

I was recently contacted for advice on how to justify utilising pair programming on a project, as the client was very nervous about the benefits and was seeking some reassurances. It raised all sorts of questions, which I checked against my previo...

Agile in Enterprise
April 14, 2010

Our very own Richard Stobart has added to the Agile v Waterfall debate, captured in Information Age. Richard was an expert witness in the recent BSkyB and EDS battle. You can read the whole article here: http://ow.ly/1pqkR We’d love to know ...

The curious incident of the named scope and the non-existent array
November 23, 2009

Rails performance tuning is often a matter of SQL tuning but we recently stumbled upon code involving a named scope that caused more SQL to run than expected. We were looking at an SQL trace in New Relic RPM for one of our apps when Nige and myse...

Businesses are agile already - IT just doesn't look very hard to fi...
November 3, 2009

Lying awake in bed last night I was thinking why IT organisations find it difficult to implement Agile techniques. My initial thoughts were that the business owners are always pushing back on it and not seeing the benefits. Why are IT organisation...

Less is More
October 22, 2009

At Unboxed we are continuously checking the latest tools which enhance Rails application development. Being a front-end specialist I am always keen on different approaches which make front-end development easier and more enjoyable. In recent year...

What do WAGs, Dutch "total" football, and Agile have to teach us ab...
September 16, 2009

I have to confess I have played team sports all my life, especially football with a somewhat unlikely claim to fame of having played the game in Papua New Guinea and watched by the country’s Prime Minister! I have some experience of playing ...

Agile is just another way of saying – let’s use common sense!
July 23, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to understand the nuances of the varying flavours of Agile that fly around and, at times, the purist adherence to one particular dogma, be that Scrum, Agile, XP, Lean, etc. To me it is all about taking ...

A Brand Spanking New Website!
July 19, 2009

Unboxed Consulting is a forward-thinking, innovative bunch of people with fresh modern ideas and unwavering professionalism on everything from building great websites and IT applications to making world-class cups of coffee! Needless to say, a com...

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