TechTalksTO with Ali

   11 November 2010, terribly early in the morning

I went to the Gladstone with a coworker and Tyler to hear Ali and Matt from Well.ca talk about how they keep Well.ca chugging along. They discussed the software development process at Well, the tools they use to get things done, and the corporate culture that facilitates the work they do. Ali’s one of the smartest people I know, so if you’re interested in starting a start up I recommend you copy what he does, more or less verbatim.

Since i’m new to web development I thought the talk was particularly interesting and informative. I learned about a few cool projects that I will share with you now:

  • Matt’s told the audience about an automation tool he wrote called doo that looks quite nice. It’s made out of surprisingly little code. Ruby is a strange beast.
  • Ali showed off a jabber bot called well-partychat. It’s an implementation of Partychat you can run behind your own firewalls. Partychat is a way to do group chats with Jabber, regardless of how shitty or not your IM client is. Since most everyone already has a Jabber account, this is a good way to set up a persistent chat room. Since it’s in something people already have open and running, I can see how it would actually get used over something like status.net or Campfire.
  • Well.ca have somehow managed to trick out Speedtracer to do all sorts of magic. Sadly, i’m not entirely sure how. Speedtracer looks like a seriously awesome project in and of itself. It’s a profiler for Chrome that can tell you all about your web application.

After the talk everyone headed over to the Rhino for drinks. How did that place become the defacto hangout for Toronto software geeks?

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