Powered Up by the RailsApps Project: XPlaygrounds.com

This week I learned of a new site, XPlaygrounds.com, that was built using the rails-prelaunch-signup app from my RailsApps project. I interviewed XPlaygrounds.com founder, Michael Gajda, about his experience powering up his new site using the app.

What’s the concept for XPlaygrounds.com?

Our aim is to deliver a next generation sports platform for people who are passionate about fun and extreme sports.

Are you the only developer on the project?

 At this time I am the only full-time developer. My business partner is primarily managing business-related things though he has some coding experience. 

What’s your skill level? What else have you done in Rails?

I first encountered Rails a bit more than a year ago when I joined a team of developers on another project here in Germany. It was like love at first sight. I would say I am a fast learner with solid background experience.

What’s the most useful resource you’ve found in getting started with Rails?

I read blogs at first and and later I found screencasts like the great RailsCasts, Michael Hartl’s online book, and Rails for Zombies. Stackoverflow and Github were valuable when I got stuck.

How did you discover the RailsApps examples?

I found the RailsApps examples when I was searching on GitHub for code examples using MongoDB. I found the RailsApps devise-mongoid example. It looked simple and showed what I needed. I was pleased to find the prelaunch-signup example later.

Did you use the tutorial that accompanies the example app?

I had similar ideas for a prelaunch signup app and tried my own ideas first. Then I looked to the tutorial to compare your way with mine since I appreciated the quality of the RailsApps examples. Thus it was more supportive than guiding, however when it came to testing, it was my mentor. Testing was always a thing I wanted to do, but was often too lazy to do it.

What modifications did you make to the app?

I added the rails_admin gem to it.

Did you save time by using the RailsApps example?

I believe that it saved me two to three days, especially for implementing testing. The tutorial is well written and shows how easy it can be to write tests.

Did you find anything was unnecessary or “extra”?

I didn‘t find anything that was too much.

Did the tutorial spend too much time on testing?

Actually, I’d like more on testing. I think testing is missing in many tutorials. Before this I never did it for my own projects.

What database do you use for the app?

We decided to use PostgreSQL in production after some hours of talks with experienced developers who had several issues with MongoDB, which was our first choice.

Where are you hosting the app?

We are hosting all on our own servers. I like to know and learn how everything is done!

Will you contribute code back to the project?

I need to spend more time building tests, but will contribute as much as possible back, particularly social sharing features for Facebook, Twitter and G+ with easy config files.

What example app would you like to see next?

I’d like to see a blog app with functionality to add moderators and guest authors (so some CanCan stuff) and an admin backend to manage new comments, guest posts (maybe rails_admin or active admin integration). I think it is a common need and would be a useful project.

How could we help the RailsApps project to grow?

You should encourage people to spread the word at user groups. Also they should blog, tweet and write about it. You should add a Facebook page. I recommend it to my colleagues and friends who are new Rails users.

You’re based in Berlin. Are you part of the startup scene there? What’s it like?

I live in Wernigerode in the Harz area in Germany, so I’m not in Berlin every day. I commute to Berlin often and my business partner lives there. I can say from the events, connections and even friendships I made there: The startup scene in Berlin is unbelievable. There is an ecosystem with an huge number of startups and possible supporters, advisors and people who really want to push things forward. A lot of talented people (including possible coworkers) live and work there. In my opinion it‘s the place to be when you want to raise a startup.

Good luck with XPlaygrounds.com!

Thank you. I hope your readers will sign up for XPlaygrounds.com if they are passionate about fun and extreme sport!