RailsRumble reflections

RailsRumble is a 48 hour web appliction development competion. Your team gets one weekend to design, develop and deploy the best web application possible. We were crazy enough to give it a shot.


We were planning to build a questionaire app but the day before the competition started we decided to change plans. We often have these &“We want to build something, what application would be useful?” discussions. At such moments we can't come up with good ideas while during the day we often have ideas about great applications the world is still missing. Well, now there is an app for that: Idealist.

Idealist is our entry for the competition. It’s a dropbox for ideas. Have an idea? Write it down and let it boil there for a while. Others can look through the ideas and comment on them hopefully resulting in better ideas after a while (or maybe it makes you realize why it may not have been such a good idea after all).


It’s great fun! If you know/want to learn Ruby on Rails I would certainly recommand to compete next year. I learned a lot, like installing a full Rails stack in 3 hours to name one. The best part for me is the atmosphere: both in the team and online (Twitter and IRC). For 48 hours it looks like the whole world is writing code and eating pizza.

What I didn’t like: our preparations sucked. We didn’t think it through which results in a application without a clearly defined goal: it’s not obvious how it works or why you would use it. This could be better. Some other do’s & don’ts: don’t upgrade your Rails version in the middle of the competion, know which gems to user and try them out, have an idea of the website structure and focus on the core features (we lost way too much time with the Twitter OAuth integration).


To the end of the competion the code got a little messy. After the voting round is over we plan to refactor the code, fix the structure and add a Facbook like ‘like’ feature. Once this is done we can move the whole thing to some server and open it up for everyone.

Hope to see you next year as a RailsRumble competitor!

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