Microapps Encourage Hacking

03 Jun 2008
Small Train
photo by Jeff Belmonte
I am back from RailsConf 2008 and two of my favorite talks were "Microapps for Fun and Profit" by Erik Kastner and "23 Hacks" by Nathaniel Talbott. I have recently been toying around with creating small little apps where I can try out new ideas and sharpen my skills. One of those apps is the Template Generator Pro. It was a really simple little app the generates funny cover letters, two week notices, job postings, and more. Not a lot to it. What did I learn? I deployed it to SliceHost (my previous apps have been deployed to DreamHost) and starting learning more about hosting and system administration. I also had a chance to port the Nonsense Perl script to a Ruby version. That was fun!

Tools of the Trade

What am I using for my microapps? The first ones (CathechizeMe and TemplateGeneratorPro) were small Rails applications. But that is alot of overhead and not a lot of "micro" in that. So for new things I am looking at Sinatra for a framework and Stone or ActiveRecord with SQLite for persistance. I like JQuery for the Javascript and BluePrint CSS helps me make it look pretty fairly easily. Open Source Web Design and Open Web Design help to stimulate the creative aspects of the designs.

Check it Out

You can see some my little hacks being stored on my GitHub account: http://www.github.com/gdagley. I also have some projects from work at http://www.github.com/relevance.

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