Getting ready to ruumbleee…

After being absent last year, today I will start my participation in the Rails Rumble event. Together with a teammate we will try to finish a project within the next 48h, using the Ruby and its Ruby on Rails web framework. Personally I enjoy this kind of challenges, even though it’s not guaranteed that we will be able to finish anything. This was what happened 2 years ago when we weren’t able to finish our project, our final push had a bug that turned the application completely unusable. Even didn’t winning anything, we learned a lot and had some fun.

Later we continued working on that project for while, eventually we were able to enter other contests with it and obtained very good feedback. The application was called Payup and is still online (but it doesn’t work very well).

Payup landing page

However the market for this kind of application already had many competitors, some of those more mature and well established. Our app had some flaws that needed to be fixed, with our day jobs and other projects we slowly let it die. But hey, it wasn’t bad for the work of one or two weekends.

Not every personal project either related to a hobby or from a challenge must necessarily be a huge success and be maintained forever, that is the great thing about these kind of projects, you do it, you succeed, or you fail, and you move on to the next one and keep learning new stuff. If you had to maintain every project or experience, you once worked on forever, you probably would lose the interest in starting new things, even if they were just for fun.

So today, we will do it again. I’m searching my list of ideas and discussing them with a teammate. A new ride is about to start…

Technology and Internet

Integrating security tests into web applications

Today I published a blog post about how to easily run and automate security tests while developing your websites and web applications using Zed Attack Proxy. The example uses Ruby on Rails framework but it is independent of any stack. I’m planning to write a follow up article on the same theme, so any feedback on this first part is welcome. You can check the blog post here ( and the sample code here (Github).

Personal Portugal

RubyConf Portugal

In the beginning of last week, during the days 13 and 14, I and some guys from Whitesmith went to Braga for the first RubyConf Portugal. I’m not a huge fan of Ruby but since i work with it from time to time, i took the chance to learn a little bit more about it and improve my understanding of the language.

The event was pretty cool and if you go through the agenda in the site you can see that the speakers that gave the talks are well known individuals in this community. The good stuff about this conference started with the choice of the city of Braga to host the event, since this kind of stuff in Portugal always happens in Lisbon or Oporto.

The venue was in an amazing spot, called “Bom Jesus”, that has a nice view over the city as you can see in the photo below:

Photo from Braga
Venue Location: Braga

I liked some of the talks, essentially the ones that are related with my work, the rest didn’t said much to me but this is normal and it happens in every event. The funny part was that in this event we spent more time hearing about other languages (Javascript, Go, Rust, C) than ruby even though they were related with the ruby ecosystem.

The host of the event was Jeremy Walker, and he did a great job from the start where he showed up dressed as a roman guy (seems it was the theme of the event) until the end of the last talk.

Regarding the contents of the conference, in the first day i really enjoyed the talks “Building better web APIS with rails” and “Writing fast ruby“, this last one was already available online (video, slides).

Talk photo
Carlos Sousa’s talk in the first day

In the second day the two presentations that i liked the most were: “TBA” (according to the speaker that was exactly the name of the talk) and “Search Your Feelings: Multi-Table Full Text Search in Postgres“, both without too much ruby. One addressed Rust and the other Postgres, two topics I’m really interested in improving my skills at the moment.

Photo of TBA talk
Steve Klabnik’s Talk

Aside from the talks the rest of the event (food, party, etc) was great. The only complain that I have is about the conditions of the room where the talks were given, since those who were unfortunate (or late) to stay in the back of the room had some issues to properly see the slides (as you can see in the last photo, I was in the middle of the room).

Finally I must congratulate the guys at Group Buddies for the organization of this conference. I hope this kind of events become more common here in Portugal and happen outside Lisbon, so more regions of the country can benefit from them.

Edit: For those unable to be there, the organization just released some photos and videos taken during the event. You can find them here and here.

Old Posts


Generally when I have to develop a website or web application, I use technologies and frameworks that I am used to work with and I have more than basic knowledge about them, in most of the cases it turn out to be django and in some of them I also use node.js. With these two i can always achieve what I want without to much effort (with some exceptions).

Some time ago I was asked to participate in a project that involved Ruby on Rails, a technology that I didn’t have too much knowledge and never had done anything with it, besides attending few workshops and talks about it (where I’ve just got a general idea how it worked). So it was time to give it a try and the fastest way to learn basics is to build something from the ground up with it and understand how stuff works along the way, and that’s what I’ve done at the time.

So the first step was to find something or some idea that I wanted to work on and that would involve all the common techniques and stuff that you generally have to master when you start developing webapps.

Here is what I’ve come up with:

An inverted daily “To Do” list. So basically instead of making a list of what you have to do, you at the end of the day write what you have done and rank it with the amount of effort it took to do it. The system then store it, and shows to you in a pretty graph of your performance along some period of time. For a motivational boost at the end of each week it sends you an email with all tasks that you accomplished and the total amount of effort points.

Basically it’s an app to monitor your daily performance and could serve as a motivational tool to help those who struggle in getting things done.

I know its a basic app and I didn’t implement too many features, but it served its main purpose, at the time, of understanding the basics of ruby on rails.

Yesterday I made it available on-line to anyone who wants to try it. For those who end up using it for some days/weeks I would appreciate some feedback, reporting of any errors you find or even suggestions of new features that would improve the app.

So you can find it at: (Update: after 5 years, the server was turned off)