Rails has been, whether I like it or not, a pretty big chunk of my life. When I first started charging for my work, Rails was new and it seemed like a community of really active developers. Github and RubyGems seem to have changed the way we all write and use code. (Remember when Github used to be the best RubyGem host?!)

Here at Made by Many, Ruby along with Rails is often our back end of choice for building applications that require a quick turnaround, particularly when there is lots of CRUD involved. It's often an easy option with a fairly good toolset (we’ll talk more about that later) and lots of RubyGems around it cover everything from pagination to authentication.

Simply “not using Rails” anymore however is, well, not that simple! Rails does certain things very well and that’s a part of why it’s still around. In particular, Forms, Database mapping (ORM), Convention, Emails, Rake Tasks and Migrations to name a few, so what’s around that has a chance of replacing Rails? Go!

I’m not going to try and teach you Go from scratch, but look at the getting start guide and Go by Example for some great help there. Also this video is a great talk about some ideas behind the concurrency in Go.

I’m hoping to make this into a series of posts, but I’m not going to make a step by step guide. If that’s something that could interest you, perhaps a screencast is in order.

In the last week I’ve been building an app that includes Dropbox authentication, a job queue and RESTful controllers — so let’s have a look at some of those parts extracted and compare them to Rails-land! In this example I’m using a simple router/toolkit called Martini.

Here’s my model for Reels (a Reel is a collection of Photos); not so different really! The JSON notation you see is called ‘tags’ in Go, it’s essentially metadata added to the field and here it specifies the field names Go will use to parse or encode JSON. “-” means don’t print anything and “omitempty” means only output the field if it isn’t null.

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What is a Debian package?

For the past year or so we’ve made an effort here at Made by Many to start embracing more tried and tested approaches to releasing software. After having a long debate around what toolchain we’d like to use, Debian packaging was suggested as a possible unit of deployment. It’s a platform that’s been used for ages, is well tested, and Ubuntu, our operating system of choice, uses it by default.

When we took a deeper look into what a .deb file actually does when installed and found it had some properties that we really liked. It:

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Supercharge your Google Form with Google Apps Script!

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I love Google Docs, and with just a little bit of JavaScript, you can supercharge any of your Google Docs using Google Apps Script. In this blog, I'll show you how you can create and send a custom email each time someone fills out a Google Form—perfect for creating bug reports or any other survey where you want to be immediately informed each time someone submits a response.

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Exploring Swift with Playgrounds

This is the first of a series of blogs about using Swift, Apple's new programming language that was annouced at WWDC 2014. They are not in any particular order but are about new and interesting features and differences with Objective-C. I don't intend to explain syntax or specific frameworks as there are plenty of resources available covering those already.

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Bzzzt! Opening the door using WebSockets and a Raspberry Pi

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A few of us Many have been playing around with hardware here over the past year or two. Being a purely software orientated person myself I found hardware and specifically electronics to be of a different world.

When the Arduino and Raspberry Pi came out however, it felt a lot more accessible and I could use my skills in software to power something special.

To start with we hacked our toilets our meeting rooms and now our front door.

Our office comes with an archaic door opening system that is also somewhat broken. Unfortunately we aren't allowed to change it due to external cable routing and our building being a listed building. So we did what any reasonable developer would do: we hacked it with a Raspberry Pi!

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