Registration Oct 6 — 16 Competition Oct 18 — 19 Judging Oct 20 — 26

Let The Judging Commence!

Oct 20, 2014

The judging portion of the 2014 Rails Rumble has officially started! Remember, the Rails Rumble is a community judged event. If you completed an app, you’re a judge and you’ll determine this year’s winners! So take some time this week (judging closes on October 26th at 23:59 UTC) to browse through the completed entries and pick your favorites.

When you’re done finding the ones you like the best, go to your favorites section and get it down to your top ten, put them in order, and click the finalize button to lock in your picks!

After you and the other competitors pick their favorites this week, winners will be announced on October 27th. Additionally, after the winners are announced, your team’s accumulated points will be displayed privately to you in your team’s dashboard, if you’re interested in seeing that.

If you want more details about how entries are sorted, how judging works, what kinds of things to look for, and how points for awards are calculated, please check out this very detailed page we put together.

The only award not picked by you is the Public Favorite award and that’s determined by, well, the public! So spread the word about not only your entry, but the whole Rails Rumble. Anyone can come to the site, sign in with Twitter, and pick their favorites.

Lastly, we urge you to leave feedback for other competitors. What did you love about their app? What didn’t you love? How can they make it better? How brilliant was their app? Competitors love feedback, so send it their way!

- @tsmango

Teams - You've Made It!

Oct 19, 2014

Congratulations, teams! You’ve made it to the end of the competition portion of the 2014 Rails Rumble!

Remember:

  • If you completed an app, you’re a judge!
  • You must mark all 5 verification steps as completed in your team’s dashboard to qualify for judging.
  • Do not deploy any new code or make any modifications to your app of any kind or you’ll be disqualified.
  • It’s okay to continue pushing code to GitHub, but be careful and do not push to Heroku.

In about 24 hours, we’ll be opening the judging portion of the competition. At that time, you’ll be able to pick and finalize your own favorite entries, which will decide this year’s winnerers. We also strongly encourage you to leave feedback for other teams. Everyone put in a ton of hard work this weekend, so please take some time over the next week, while you’re recuperating, to take a look at the other entries and let them know how they did.

After everyone finishes picking their favorites this week and winners are announced, your accumulated points will be privately visible to you in your team’s dashboard.

As always, please email help@railsrumble.com with any questions you may have.

Now go get some rest, you deserve it!

- @tsmango

Sponsored Heroku Add-ons - Collect 'Em All!

Oct 13, 2014

As you know, this year we partnered up with Heroku, as our infrastructure sponsor. But what you might not have realized is, this means you can use every single Add-On Heroku has, during the competition. Most Add-ons have a free tier, but Heroku didn’t want to stop there. They wanted you to be able to build the best entries possible, and they didn’t want anything holding you back. So they reached out to a bunch of great services, and asked them to make their first tier paid plans free during the competition, as well.

Once the competition starts, you’ll be able to install these sponsored add-ons right from your team’s dashboard here on railsrumble.com. It’ll look something like this:

And the list is pretty incredible!

See you this weekend!

Meet The 2014 Sponsors!

Oct 08, 2014

We’re about halfway through the registration period, so make sure to get a spot for your team before we run out and then take a moment to learn about this year’s awesome sponsors! Many of our sponsors are prefect for use during the competition.

Heroku

Heroku provides services and tools to build, run, and scale web applications.

Swell

An alert service for traffic. When something exciting happens, we’ll let you know via email, text or phone call.

Sirportly

Sirportly makes handling all your customer support a breeze with enterprise class automation features and powerful E-Mail, Twitter and Facebook integration.

Codebase

Codebase is the software project management tool with fast, reliable & secure Git, Mercurial & SVN hosting baked right in - ideal for any development team.

Deploy

Deploy is an easy to use & fast code deployment platform designed to get your repository onto your server using FTP or SFTP. Also works with S3 and Rackspace.

Github

GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over four million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.

Twilio

Twilio is powering the future of communications software by enabling voice, VoIP, and messaging to be easily embedded into applications whether existing or built new on Twilio.

Blitline

Blitline is a trusted, cost effective, image/vector processing SaaS based in a massively scaling environment.

Ruby on Rails Podcast

The Ruby on Rails Podcast on 5by5 is a popular weekly interview show about Ruby, Rails and related topics that’s subscribed to by thousands of Ruby programmers.

AgileBits

A password manager and secure wallet for OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android.

Sprintly

Sprint.ly is an integrated communication, instrumentation, planning and tracking tool for software development teams and their management.

Code School

Code School is an online learning destination for existing and aspiring developers that teaches through entertaining content.

Honeybadger

Honeybadger is exception, uptime and performance monitoring for the Rails developer.

Rollbar

Error tracking for apps at scale. JS, Ruby, Python, PHP, Node, .NET, Android, iOS, more.

Papertrail

Point Heroku logs, production.log, and system logs at Papertrail and watch the world discover your app. Tail, search, and receive alerts in realtime. Smile.

Algolia

Algolia provides a developer-friendly search API enabling users to perform database search functions in a user-friendly manner.

SendGrid

SendGrid is a cloud-based email service that delivers email on behalf of companies to increase deliverability and improve customer communications. Simply integrate via SMTP or Web API.

New Relic

New Relic is a software analytics company that makes sense of billions of data points about millions of applications in real time.

Taco

See your tasks from 40+ services on one screen (or phone, or Chrome tab), including GitHub, Codebase, Sprint.ly, Gmail, and Trello. Focus more, finish more.

- @tsmango

Registration Has Opened!

Oct 06, 2014

The Rails Rumble is a distributed programming competition where teams of one to four people, from all over the world, have 48 hours to build an amazing web app, with Ruby on Rails or another Rack-based Ruby web framework. After the 48 hours are up, everyone picks their favorites and the top ten winners are revealed!

As many of you have already noticed, registration for the 2014 Rails Rumble is now open! To reserve a spot for your team, simply head over to railsrumble.com and click the big Sign in with Heroku button. After signing in, you’ll be able to register a team, thus reserving a spot in the most action packed weekend of typing into a text editor since last year’s Rails Rumble! After reserving a spot, you’ll be able to invite up to three others to join you on your team.

If you’re in search for others to join your team, or a team to join yourself, use the hashtag #rumbleteamvacancy on Twitter. (I apologize for the use of a hashtag, but it seemed to work okay in the past.)

There are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Spots are limited. Reserve a spot for your team early so that you don’t miss out. You’ll be able to add and remove people from your team up until the competition starts.

  • People judging can’t sign up for hundreds of Rails Rumble entries, whether it’s by email or via Twitter. It’s important to remember this when designing your entry. The easier it is to try, the happier the judges will be. It’s proven. It’s science! If you need user accounts, employ a Guest User Record style system.

  • If you reserve a spot for a team and later want to join a different team, realize you’re unable to compete, or just want to change teams, go to railsrumble.com, sign in with Heroku, click the account button on the top left, click Team Dashboard, then click the Leave link next to your name under the Team Members section. If you’re the last member of the team, your team will be deleted and your spot will become available for another team that will no doubt be eternally grateful to their anonymous patron.

  • If you aren’t already, get familiar with Heroku before the competition! Here’s a great place to start.

  • To keep up to date with everything Rails Rumble leading up to the competition and during the competition, you should follow @railsrumble on Twitter.

  • To hang out with other rumblers before, during, and after the competition, fire up your favorite IRC client and go to #railsrumble on Freenode.

  • And speaking of IRC, please be sure to read our official Code of Conduct. The Rails Rumble has and will always be a place for everyone. Don’t screw it up.

  • Help spread the word about this year’s Rails Rumble! Take to Twitter and let everyone know that you’ve registered and are ready to knock their socks off.

If you need help with anything or have any questions at all, please feel free to contact the organizers. Otherwise, the competition starts on October 18th at 00:00:00 UTC, so don’t be late! We’ll be emailing you about 6 to 12 hours before the competition with more details about your Heroku app and optional GitHub repository.

And finally, while the Rails Rumble is a competition, it’s also about the Ruby community. Be nice. Make friends. Build something you’re proud of. Have fun.

- @tsmango

Prizes, Prizes, Prizes!

Oct 03, 2014

On October 6th, at 00:00:00 UTC, registration opens for the 2014 Rails Rumble. But today, today we get to tell you about this year’s awesome prizes!

1st Place

  • 2014 Rails Rumble Championship Belt - Thanks, Swell!
  • Heroku - $500 Gift Certificate to Amazon for each team member!
  • Ruby on Rails Podcast - Interviewed by Sean Devine on 5by5’s RoR Podcast!
  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 1 year of Gold Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $250 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

2nd Place

  • Heroku - $250 Gift Certificate to Amazon for each team member!
  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 1 year of Silver Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $250 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

3rd Place

  • Heroku - $100 Gift Certificate to Amazon for each team member!
  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 1 year of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $250 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

4th Place

  • Heroku - $50 Gift Certificate to Amazon for each team member!
  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 6 months of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $100 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

5th Place

  • Heroku - $50 Gift Certificate to Amazon for each team member!
  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 6 months of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $100 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

6th Place

  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 6 months of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $100 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

7th Place

  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 6 months of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $100 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

8th Place

  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 6 months of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $100 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

9th Place

  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 6 months of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $100 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

10th Place

  • Swell - Free 1 year of Premium Service!
  • GitHub - Free 6 months of Bronze Plan!
  • Codebase - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Small”!
  • Sirportly - Free 6 month 4 User subscription to “Plus”!
  • Deploy - Free 1 Year Subscription to “Basic”!
  • Blitline - $100 Credit!
  • Twilio - $133.70 Credit Per Member!
  • AgileBits - A Free License For Desktop 1Password!
  • Sprintly - 1 Year Free!
  • Code School - 48 Hours Free!
  • Rollbar - 6 months Free of the Small plan!
  • Honeybadger - $19 Off For Six Months!
  • Taco - 1 Year of Premium Service

Best Solo & Public Favorite Bonus Awards!

In addition to the top ten winners above, we have two special, bonus awards.

Best Solo

  • 2014 Rails Rumble Custom Boxing Gloves - Thanks, Swell!
  • $500 Amazon Gift Certificate - Thanks, Heroku!

Public Favorite

  • $250 Amazon Gift Certificate per team member - Thanks, Heroku!

Everyone’s a Winner!

Even if you don’t place or get one the special awards, a number of our sponsors have been generous enough to provide coupons for their services. For more about how to redeem those coupons, visit your team’s dashboard near the end of the competition.

Thanks very much to our sponsors and good luck to everyone!

- @tsmango

Partnering with 5by5's Ruby on Rails Podcast

Sep 04, 2014

We’re extremely excited to announce that we’ve partnered with 5by5’s Ruby on Rails Podcast, to bring you a whole heaping ton of shows with past winners, future winners, and co-runners of the Rails Rumble. We’d like to thank Sean Devine, the slick speaking, silver tongued genius, behind the Ruby on Rails Podcast, for making this possible. That man can talk!

The first show from the series is up and it’s a behind the scenes interview with the co-runners of the Rails Rumble, Tom and Nick Mango. Stream it from their site, or subscribe and download it on iTunes or RSS.

Thanks again to Sean and 5by5!

Tips for Competing Solo

Aug 19, 2014

In our continuing tradition of asking past winners to write something about what it takes to build a winning app in 48 hours, we’ve asked Kelli Shaver, the 2013 Solo Winner, to give us some insight on competing solo. Gather ‘round!


A few days ago, Nick contacted me and asked if I would write an article about what it’s like to complete in Rails Rumble when going solo, if I had any tips I could offer, and what sorts of insights I had gained about going it alone for a 48hr programming competition. I’ve been participating in Rails Rumble for many years, both individually and on teams. For last year’s Rumble, I created Itemize (http://itemize.cc), which won the solo entry category and competing solo definitely has a different feel than participating as part of a larger team.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years that I hope will be helpful for all participants, but especially for solo competitors.

Be Laser Focused

You’re one person and you only have 48 hours. Accept the fact now that you won’t be able to turn out an app of the same scale as a 4-person team. That’s perfectly OK. No one expects you to build the next Facebook in one weekend. Instead, focus on perfecting a singular idea and really driving home the execution. Your goal should be a small app that does one thing very well.

Of course, to be this focused, you need an idea that’s simple and easy to communicate. I started making lists of ideas quite a while before the competition. About a month before time to code, I went through that list and narrowed down the ideas. If I couldn’t explain what I wanted the app to do in one sentence, it wasn’t a good fit. Sure, maybe the idea would have been simple, but if I couldn’t communicate it concisely, I couldn’t build it in 48 hours. In the end, “simple invoicing for small jobs” won out over “an app that allows you to upload video files and images for….”

Plan for Atomic Features

Start planning the features you want to include in your app as early as possible. The more time you have to plan and prepare, the better. Once you have your features outlined, take a good hard look at the list.

But don’t start cutting out features! Instead, start a whole new list and add in only the core features you need as you get to them. Plan to build your app in layers, with the most vital pieces first and rest only as you have time.

The goal here is to layer on functionality so that you could theoretically stop after the addition of any feature and have a functional, polished application - even if the feature set is limited. This will let you stop development at any time without having to worry about broken links, half-baked functionality, or unfinished pages. Maybe you didn’t get to implement Feature X that you really wanted to include, but the beauty of this approach is that no one else will know that Feature X was ever in the cards.

Use Open Source Sensibly

We all know how useful open source libraries, gems, and plug-ins can be, but when you’re working alone and only have two days to build your app from concept to completion, this is especially important. While you’re doing all of that planning, take some time to track down and compile a list of the gems, libraries, and resources you can leverage to build your app.

Remember, you can’t write any code ahead of time or re-use code you’ve written previously, but you can certainly take some time beforehand to learn how to use a gem, or test out an API, or read documentation. It’s best not to go into the competition relying heavily on a library you’ve never used before and are unfamiliar with. do your research ahead of time and develop a plan for how you will use open source code in your application.

Your Health Is Important

It’s tempting to go into a 48 hour competition with plans of not sleeping and consuming large quantities of Mt. Dew and Funyuns to fuel your 2-day codeathon. I’ll admit, when I first started Rails Rumble, I could do that, but these days, it’s simply not an option.

Schedule sufficient sleep into your weekend. When I built Itemize, I probably only spent 34-36 of those 48 hours programming. The result was a much better application and a much more enjoyable experience on my part. Frustration due to over-tiredness can ruin the entire weekend.

Diet also has a big impact on mental and physical health. These days, I stock up on water, fruit, nuts, raw vegetables, and foods that I know won’t make me feel sluggish, tired, or uncomfortable. Save the pizza and beer for a Sunday night celebration of having made it through the weekend.

Get Involved in the Community

When soloing your build, it’s easy to feel isolated and far removed from the other competitors and what’s going on throughout the rest of the Rumble. There will be a lot of time over the weekend where you will need to be head-down in code, but whenever possible, poke your head up and look around.

Each year, the IRC channel is filled with people popping in to ask for help, encourage each other, and just joke around and have a good time between frantic periods of coding. Being a part of this really makes you feel connected to the community and it’s honestly one of the best things about the entire weekend. I’ve made some great connections and friends through the Rails Rumble IRC channel over the years.

Yes, we’re competing against each other, but there’s also a sort of shared camaraderie among a group of like-minded developers getting together to enjoy their craft and have fun building something they love over the course of a weekend. Take time to allow yourself to be a part of that.

Conclusion

I hope this gives you some insight into some of the unique qualities of doing Rails Rumble solo and how to get the most out of the weekend. Above all, remember that the goal of the competition is to celebrate the community and to have fun.

If you’d like some great general tips on building an app in 48 hours, check out last year’s great article by Darcy Laycock.

Good luck!

Bio: Kelli Shaver has been participating in Rails Rumble since 2007. She is the lead developer at StickyAlbums.com and co-hosts a weekly tech podcast with Jonathan Stark, who she’ll be teaming up with for this year’s competition. You can find her on twitter @kellishaver.

Looking for older posts? Why not browse the archive?