Congratulations Mike!

Congratulations to Storm senior strategist Mike Ellis, who has received a ‘Bath Life Event of the Year’ award for his hard work last year in establishing The Big M conference in the city! 

Mike at the Big M

The Big M is an independent mobile focused event which allows those interested in mobile technology to learn from and connect with the very best in the industry.

Mike developed The Big M with local entrepreneur Chris Book, and attracted some of the best speakers in the sector including Aral Balkan, Bruce Lawson and Dan Applequist.

The event brought together over 200 people from the UK and beyond, including delegates from international companies (Everything Everywhere, Prudential, Opera, Estee Lauder) as well as a huge range of freelancers, creatives, developers and academics. 

In fact The Big M 2011 was so successful that Mike and Chris decided to run it again this year, resulting a great day as part of Bath Digital Festival.

We’re thrilled Mike and Chris won the award – it was much deserved – and we’re all looking forward to The Big M number three in 2013!

Basic Exception notification in Rails 3

There are a number of services out there, like Airbrake, that will capture exceptions from a Rails app and do clever stuff with them. They let you manage your exceptions and track any work that results from them.  But they all cost money, and might be overkill for what you are doing. So here is a quick guide to making your Rails application email you when exceptions happen, and how to display better error pages to your users.

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Where to find Rails’ default validation error messages

I’ve been playing around with simple_form and I18n in Rails a LOT in a recent project. I’ve been customising form labels and validation messages using the internationalisation features – it works really, really well.  There is, however, one small problem.  When you start, you are presented with an almost blank YAML file and some very flakey documentation at the bottom of the simple_form readme.  How do you know how to structure that YAML file?  What attribute names should you use?

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Using HAML with Rails 3.2

I’m currently working on a small internal project, so I’m taking the opportunity to try out HAML and see if I like it.

After some digging around I found various docs that suggested that you need to add the haml gem and include something like the following in application.rb

config.generators do |g|
  g.template_engine :haml

However, after a couple of attempts to generate HAML templates for a scaffold controller there was clearly something not quite right. I kept getting the following error:

error  haml [not found]

It turns out that the haml gem doesn’t give you generators for Rails 3.

After a bit more digging I found the haml-rails gem. Add that to your Gemfile and it adds generators for HAML, and enables it, so you can get rid of that declaration in application.rb

So now I’m all HAML’d up and ready to go. I like it so far, but we’ll see how I feel in a week or two of working with it.

The one where it snowed

We very nearly didn’t return from our team-building event this weekend, having got stuck in a small Welsh village after a great deal of snow fell during the night!

The weekend started well with a scenic drive up into the Black Mountain area where we found a fair bit of snow – enough for a good snowball fight.

The team in Wales

We spent the evening at Penderyn whiskey distillery in the Brecon Beacons, where we had a very informative tour followed by a lengthy tasting session which ensured we didn’t remember too much of what we’d learnt!

The heavy evening was followed by a Saturday morning lie-in, with us oblivious to the thick snowfall outside. We did finally get up and moving, just in time to slip and slide out of the village before the snow completely cut it off. 

Felix, our front end designer, said: “Awesome weekend. Snow and whiskey. What more could you want?”