Four Months In at The Iron Yard

I hit the four month mark at The Iron Yard at the beginning of the month. We’re building a lot of really cool software and it’s been a fun chance to start a project from scratch and make new decisions.

  • Yet again, it’s a Rails app. We tested out a lot of language and framework setups before we landed on Rails. I’ll hit my 10 year anniversary of working with Ruby and Rails next year, but it’s still my favorite framework/language combo.
  • We’re doing dev in Vagrant boxes rather than directly on our systems. It’s been cool, but hasn’t always been the easiest setup.
  • Both our production servers and our Vagrant boxes are built out with Ansible. It’s been a pretty cool tool, and has had a lot less mental overhead than Chef.
  • Gulp is replacing the Asset Pipeline for us. I think it’s a good decision, but it hasn’t always been completely easy. We’re processing JS with Babel, though, and ES6 has been great.
  • We’re focusing more on feature specs than on unit testing controllers. I’ve been a huge fan of that.
  • Although our app is primarily a rails app, it already has a couple of additional projects attached to it, and we’ve built everything out in a single monorepo. I’ve really liked that format.
  • We’ve got a pretty small team of 5, but we made a concious effort to start hiring a mix of more experienced and less experienced developers from the beginning. I think it’s really payed off in diversity of ideas and in forcing the team to understand the tradeoffs of different decisions.

As far as the company goes, I’ve been really impressed with the team at The Iron Yard and their student focused approach. Each day carries tons of discussions of how we do what’s best for students, and that’s been a lot of fun.