July 2011

Ottawa Startup Drinks: Tonight at 8 p.m.!

by Joey deVilla on July 28, 2011

You could spend the evening doing this:

How to be a table

but might I recommend you do this instead?

Startup drinks

Ottawa Startup Drinks takes place tonight at the Bank Street branch of the Clocktower Pub tonight! Here are the details:

See you there!

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Attention Contract Developers: Shopify Wants You!

by Joey deVilla on July 27, 2011

Shopify shopping bag logo

Shopify has some big customers with online shops that need apps written for them. We’ve been getting a lot of custom work requests from customers who need applications for their shops for their fulfillment workflow – that is, making sure the right things get put into the right boxes, and sending them to the right people for the right price. We also get requests for other things that online shops need: analytics, promotions, CRM-integration-jazz, or some kind of automatic client-retention. But for now, I’d like to talk about fulfillment.

Fulfillment: it’s that part of the shopping transaction where the order has been placed and paid for, and now it’s time to send something to the customer. This sort of app is a web application that will typically talk to a couple of APIs:

  • The Shopify API, which will have the relevant data from the shop, most notably information about the order that was placed,
  • Webhooks (see Dave Underwood’s Syncing with a Store tutorial in the Shopify Wiki to find out what they are. Webhooks are used for about 90% of all Shopify apps),
  • and some fulfillment API, which the app will use to get the order to the customer.

If you’re looking for some contract programming work writing software that does useful stuff for reliable customers and you’re a reliable, responsive type who can be counted on to write stuff that people need to make their businesses go, Shopify would like to pay you for your services. The application you’re writing will be interacting with APIs, which means that you’re free to use the programming languages, frameworks and technologies you prefer, as long as you can solve the problem. And because this project is about fulfilling ecommerce orders and not socially networked cat pictures, this  contract will pay nicely.

Is this the sort of development you can do? If so, drop me a line at joey@shopify.com and let’s talk.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Ottawa Startup Drinks: Thursday!

by Joey deVilla on July 26, 2011

Startup drinks

I like Startup Drinks. The idea behind it is simple: get startup types together in a tavern or other similar drinking establishment and get them to hang out. People end up talking about all sorts of things: not just tech, but the news of the day, whatever cat picture or video is currently eating up their productivity, whatever! It’s all about meeting other people in the community, and as I like to say, great things happen when people get together.

Ottawa’s Startup Drinks event takes place this Thursday. Here are the details:

I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there!

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Ottawa JavaScript Node.js Summer Meetup

Some quick details about tomorrow’s JavaScript/Node.js Summer Meetup in Ottawa, your chance to see some great presentations, have a drink a meet up with your fellow JavaScript/Node.js hackers:

The presenters and topics at this event will be:



I’m Down with MC Spock

by Joey deVilla on July 24, 2011

Trek Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Spock flashing the 'Live Long and Prosper' hand signals as if they were gang signs.

“If you’re havin’ math problems, I feel bad for you, son / I got ninety-nine problems but logic ain’t one.”

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


At the Ottawa Rails 3.1 Hackfest

by Joey deVilla on July 24, 2011

Rails 3 1 hackfest

Between the gorgeous day outside and my last-minute announcement of the Rails 3.1 Hackfest, it’s a little bit quiet at the Shopify office right now, but we’re all happily working away.

The Hackfest is a worldwide effort to help improve the upcoming Rails 3.1 before its general release. The call was put out on the Ruby on Rails official blog for participation of all kinds, from working on bug fixes and tests to checking 3.1 for compatibility with existing applications and gems to writing documentation and blog to just learning about Rails.

Ruby on rails amnesiac

A bit under four years ago, I made a living writing Rails code. Although the project I worked on was a complete disaster — a poorly-thought-out idea being hammered out at a company run by a trust fund kid in love with the idea of running a startup but not the actual work involved — I learned a lot about coding in Ruby and Rails from the experience. But that was a good number of versions of Rails ago, back before Merb was rolled into the project. Between my time at Microsoft, where I was working pretty exclusively with Microsoft technologies and using Ruby only for little scripting tasks and the time that’s passed, I have become a Rails amnesiac. Hence my Hackfest activity: relearning Rails.

Ruby on rails 3 tutorial

Of all the books covering Rails 3, Michael Hartl’s Ruby on Rails 3 Tutorial is running away with the highest rating on Amazon as well as on other book review sites. Small wonder: it’s well-written and covers a lot of aspects of Rails development, from the core Rails stuff all the way to things like using Git for version control, test-first development and deployment to Heroku. It’s the book I’m using to relearn Rails, and so far, it’s been nothing but great.


Developing Shopify Apps

by Joey deVilla on July 22, 2011

Developing Shopify Apps: Hand holding money emerging from a computer monitor

Over at the Shopify Technology Blog, I’ve got a long — but easy-to-read-and-follow article covering the setup for writing Shopify apps. If you’re looking to make some money and want a dedicated group of customers, the 16,000 or so Shopify shopowners are a great market to target and the Shopify ecommerce platform is a great one to build on. Check it out: Developing Shopify Apps, Part 1: The Setup.