Welcome to the BuildingWebApps.com Blog. In the blog you'll find our musings and mutterings about Ruby on Rails, building this site, and building the business. If you're looking for technical articles, click one of the tabs above.
Rails marches on, and the LearningRails screencast sample app was getting a little creaky. Sorry for that!
I’ve updated the application on github so that you can run the tests and the application itself using the current Rails as of this writing (2.3.2).
In the future, I’m looking at providing alternate versions of the intermediate steps of the application that are built and are compatible with Rails 2.3.x.
I’ll announce any updates here in this Blog as well as twitter: @chaupt
When we first built BuildingWebApps.com, it was a dedicated application. As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve since rewritten it as a multi-tenant application, in support of our new business, Webvanta.
We’re pleased to announce that the second site on the platform is now live: Spartina.com is a “knowledge base for entrepreneurs ready to turn their ideas into great Internet businesses.”
You’ll see some visual design similarities to BuildingWebApps, which are not due to any platform constraints but simply to the fact that the same designer created both designs and reused some elements for efficiency. The Webvanta platform enables each site to be completely re-skinned.
If you’re interested in creating your own knowledge base site on any topic, please send us a message and we’ll get in touch.
It’s been awfully quiet here on the blog, and as is often the case, that doesn’t mean we’ve been slacking—quite the contrary, we’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone.
Since our last post here, we’ve been busy:
- We’ve renamed our company to Webvanta Inc. (formerly Collective Knowledge Works, Inc.).
- We’ve refocused our business plan for the hosted web service we’re building to serve web designers, rather than small businesses. You can read the teaser at webvanta.com
- We’ve just launched the second information portal built on our platform, Spartina.com. It’s an information resource for entrepreneurs building Internet-based businesses, which we’ve built for David Hehman, a Webvanta investor and board member.
- We’ve been doing the rounds of Angel investor groups, as we put together our first serious financing round.
- While doing all that, we’ve managed to get out a couple more screencasts, including one on Deployment just released.
If you’re a web designer who is intrigued by the idea of a more powerful, easier-to-use platform for building and deploying sophisticated web sites with no programming, head on over to Webvanta.com and sign up for our beta invitation list. We’re still in alpha testing now, but we plan to gradually open up to beta testers in the next two months.
Yesterday was a big day here at BuildingWebApps/Collective Knowledge Works.
We have transitioned to a new code base, in which nearly all of the code underlying the site has been rewritten. Initially, the site should look exactly the same, and have all the same features, so in one sense this was a great deal of work whose goal was to have no visible change.
We had a few rough spots yesterday, but things seem to be in pretty good shape now, so please let us know if you encounter any problems.
So why did we do this? The big change is that our application is now a multi-tenant system, capable of hosting multiple sites within the same application. And in the process, we’ve cleaned up the system architecture and made it far more extensible.
We’ll be talking more about what we’re doing with this in the fall, but suffice it to say that anyone will be able to build a site like BuildingWebApps on our platform.
Now that we’ve made it through this big transition, we’ll get back to adding features, and you’ll see some results of that effort before too long.
At the same time, we’ve switched to Engine Yard as our host. The site is now running on two load-balanced slices, giving us greater redundancy and scalability, as well as the superb hands-on support from the Engine Yard team. Engine Yard is graciously providing us with these slices as the premier sponsor of the Learning Rails online course.
Kudos to our CTO Christopher Haupt and a small cadre of contractors (with Phil Misiowiec making the largest contribution) for pulling this off. (I wrote a large part of the original application, but I’m now primarily the business guy and am leaving most of the coding to the pros.)
After 10 lessons in which we built a simple Rails application without stopping to worry about testing, we’re redeeming ourselves by stepping back to fix up the tests and explain how to write new ones. The lesson was too long for one screencast, so we’ve posted it in two parts:
The web is such a wonderful facilitator of publishing and communication that it’s almost impossible not to be chronically overwhelmed by the amount of information available.
I’ve been working on my information diet for years, having dropped most print newspapers a few years ago, then cut out most magazines, and more recently having worked toward an effective approach for dealing with the incredible amount of information available via RSS feeds.
Even if I were to focus my interest solely on startups, Ruby on Rails, marketing, writing, or photography, there’s far more content produced every day than I can hope to (or want to) read. Striking the right balance between reading enough to stay informed and find things of interest, but not so much that it takes too much time or feels burdensome, is a real challenge.
I’ve just posted an article on my evolving feed-reading habits over on my personal blog.
What’s your strategy?
We’re thrilled to have been selected as one of the seven companies to participate in Startup Camp. This promises to be a fantastic opportunity to learn from a lot of great folks.
If you’re wondering just what it is we’re up to, take a look at our About Us. As you’ll see, it’s somewhat divergent from the BuildingWebApps site, but built from the same technology base. We’ll have more to say in the coming months.