11 March 2009

Front End Rails Developer Job at DealBase.com

At DealBase, we have an opening for a part-time front end Rails developer at DealBase.com. The opening is for US residents only, and for individuals, no agencies or recruiters please. Most likely you'd be working remotely/telecommuting. The job posting, which is posted in several places, such as Rubynow, Working With Rails, and Rubyjobs.in, covers all the details, but I'll relist it here for ease:

DealBase.com, a startup hotel deals site, is looking for a stellar front end web developer who will adapt our current look/feel to new features, leverage JavaScript for useful and fun features, and is eager to apply their skills to enhance the user experience of our site. We're looking for you to share your knowledge and make an impact, be passionate about your work, and up-to-date on the latest technologies. If this is you, and you enjoy working with a small, distributed, agile team, then we'd love to talk with you.

Requirements for this position:

  • Deep knowledge of XHTML and CSS

  • Familiarity with browser capabilities and restrictions for all major browsers

  • Solid JavaScript skills

  • Experience with/demonstrated use of Git

  • You use and demand MacOS X as your primary development environment

  • Comfortable at the command line

  • Basic skills for image editing and optimization for the web

  • Exposure to and basic knowledge of Ruby on Rails

  • Great communication skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Ability to work both independently and on a team

  • Eagerness to share ideas and problem-solve creatively

  • Experience working on consumer oriented web applications/consumer focus

  • Quick learner, and good at digging in to problems

  • Agile development practices

  • You are based in the US.

  • Individuals only (no multi-person firms, agencies, etc.)

Nice to have:

  • jQuery experience

  • GitHub experience

  • MySQL experience

  • Use of test frameworks, TDD, and BDD

  • experience with Linux

If you'd like to work with us at DealBase.com and think you're a good fit for this position, send us a resume and sample work, or let us know where we can see your resume and work/code, by emailing jobs@dealbase.com. Please note, we are only considering candidates based in the US.

I'm excited to find a great developer to work with. DealBase has been an awesome company and app to work on, and we're already experiencing great success. We have some pretty cool features planned, and it'd be ideal to get some real CSS and JavaScript ninja skills making those features even better. So, if this is you, please do get in touch, making sure to send email to the right email address as outlined in the job description.

02 March 2009

Deploying per-server crontabs with Capistrano

There's been a couple cool writeups/solutions to deploying your crontab files when you deploy with Capistrano, which I think is great. I can't find the first one I saw (mention in comments and I'll update), but on GitHub, javan has the whenever gem that is really more about allowing you to define crontabs with Ruby/Rails' time methods so you don't have to remember the crontab file syntax which none of us ever seems to be able to remember. You can of course integrate this with Capistrano (and that's covered in his Readme). The point of all this: no more having to remember to go put in or uncomment a crontab entry once you deploy a certain build, and keeping your crontabs under version control. However, for us, none of the solutions out there worked quite right, and I just use what I find to be a simpler setup.

First, we have multiple servers with different crontabs per server. Also, we have some environment variables that get defined within the crontab so that they work properly on our Engine Yard slices. I just found that, while yes, I sometimes don't remember all the crontab syntax perfectly, I also don't do this often enough for that to be an issue, and would rather just have the real deal right there, so I knew exactly what I was going to install on my server. Lastly, I didn't really want to have yet another gem dependency for something pretty straight forward like this (IMHO).

So, get on with it you say, what's the solution? Two pieces. First, I create a crontab directory within my Rails app's config directory. In that I store crontab files named by the hostname of the server - the same thing you'd get by doing a hostname on the server. You could add an extension or whatever you want, but the hostname is what makes this work easily, so you want that somewhere in your file naming convention. We only have a couple servers and I know them well, so I just went with pure hostname for now. The contents of each file are exactly what you'd see in the crontab file on the server, for the user you set it up under.

Second, a simple Capistrano task to affect the given crontab file on the server, with an after hook to run it:

task :write_crontab, :roles => :app do
puts "Installing server-specific crontab."
run("cd #{deploy_to}/current/config/crontab; crontab `hostname`")
after "deploy:restart", "write_crontab"

That's it. You can obviously tweek this for your own setup, for example, maybe you need to run it on all roles, or different roles, or what not. Your run command might need to be more robust (or run a shell script or rake task) for example if not all servers have crontabs or you have something more dynamic. But, as you can tell, setting this kind of thing up is pretty straight forward, and it's great to keep your crontab setups in version control. Thanks to you guys that stimulated the idea in the first place.