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Parker Thompson

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LABS
Badges and Widgets – How would you like to promote your project?

We're starting work on Tracker badges and widgets. Our goal is to allow you to share information about your project or backlog on your website, or to promote Tracker and Agile Software in general.

Our current thinking is a few widgets that expose project summary data and stories, as well as something along the lines of "I <3 Tracker"/"I <3 Agile Development" badges for those who just want to spread the love without sharing their private project data. We imagine these being used on open source project pages, personal websites, and blogs.

So I ask you: What information would you like to share (story summaries, upcoming stories, members, etc?). If your project is private do you want to be able to expose some of this information anyway? If you are interested in sharing your love of Tracker and Agile Software but not your project data what kind of badge(s) would you want?

As always, thanks for your feedback!

LABS
Need a Job? Come Work With Pivotal Clients

At Pivotal Labs, one of the services we provide is bootstrapping startups, including helping them interview and hire. We currently have clients looking for skilled engineers to build their development teams. This is an excellent opportunity to learn Extreme Programming by working side-by-side with Pivotal's talented and experienced developers while at the same time getting in on the ground floor of a small and dynamic product team.

Pivotal Labs and our clients place a strong emphasis on Agile development and its many aspects: Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, rapid iterations, and frequent refactoring. General technical requirements include serious web development experience, and a significant subset of Ruby, Rails, CSS, JavaScript, or MySQL.

Here's a short description of ekoVenture, oneforty, Honk, and Mavenlink, Pivotal Labs clients currently looking for developers. Their full job postings follow at the end of this post.

ekoVenture is the world’s first social marketplace for adventure, experiential and active travel, a $250 billion market. Utilizing the best social networking technology on the web, we allow users to share their travel experiences, meet other travelers, and book trips online in real-time. Our revolutionary marketplace also features a comprehensive inventory management backend platform for tour suppliers, enabling them to manage their entire business and sell trips or drive leads directly online – this is already implemented across 500 tour suppliers…and adding several each day.

oneforty is a Twitter ecosystem/API venture with considerable traction. oneforty comes with all the excitement and opportunity of a Techstars startup backed by talented and successful investors/advisers who have built some of the best known companies on the web. The founder authored Twitter for Dummies and does tons of press and public speaking and the investors and advisors include Guy Kawasaki, Laura Rippy, Jeff Bennett and many others. oneforty has closed their angel round and is looking for RoR developers fired up about building something that will be highly visible and well-promoted.

Mavenlink is a funded startup that is changing the way people find experts who can help them and is providing the necessary tools to get their work done online. We are founded on the principle that virtually everybody needs qualified professional services that are readily accessible, affordable, and there when they need them. We’ve been working with Pivotal Labs to get our product launched, so we’re serious about being agile and we’ve got the right engineering process in place. This is a unique opportunity to join the Mavenlink team and contribute significantly to the direction of the company. We're looking for someone who is not only passionate about development, but also shares our vision for the tools and capabilities necessary for making remote work better than working in person for both the client and the maven.

Honk.com is a new online automotive website that will make car shopping fun and social. We will enable consumers to experience a new way to explore new cars. We have partnered with a top social website to deliver this new way of car shopping and are funded by one of the largest media companies in the world. Our small team is made up of an experienced group of humble, efficient, and hyper-passionate individuals who are veterans of the automotive industry and social media space. We are proud of our ego-less culture, one that promotes team thinking, not individual accolades. If you're interested in helping prove that social media and car buying go hand in hand, social networks serve a bigger purpose than keeping up with one's day, and a small team can outdo the work of an army - then we may have a seat waiting for you.

If you are interested or for more information please contact each company directly. This is an exclusive service provided to our clients, no external companies or recruiters please.

Full job postings follow.

LABS
Need a Job? Come Work With Pivotal Clients

At Pivotal Labs, one of the services we provide is bootstrapping startups, including helping them interview and hire. We currently have clients looking for skilled engineers to build their development teams. This is an excellent opportunity to learn Extreme Programming by working side-by-side with Pivotal's talented and experienced developers while at the same time getting in on the ground floor of a small and dynamic product team.

Pivotal Labs and our clients place a strong emphasis on Agile development and its many aspects: Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, rapid iterations, and frequent refactoring. General technical requirements include serious web development experience, and a significant subset of Ruby, Rails, CSS, JavaScript, or MySQL.

Here's a short description of ekoVenture, oneforty, Honk, and Mavenlink, Pivotal Labs clients currently looking for developers. Their full job postings follow at the end of this post.

ekoVenture is the world’s first social marketplace for adventure, experiential and active travel, a $250 billion market. Utilizing the best social networking technology on the web, we allow users to share their travel experiences, meet other travelers, and book trips online in real-time. Our revolutionary marketplace also features a comprehensive inventory management backend platform for tour suppliers, enabling them to manage their entire business and sell trips or drive leads directly online – this is already implemented across 500 tour suppliers…and adding several each day.

oneforty is a Twitter ecosystem/API venture with considerable traction. oneforty comes with all the excitement and opportunity of a Techstars startup backed by talented and successful investors/advisers who have built some of the best known companies on the web. The founder authored Twitter for Dummies and does tons of press and public speaking and the investors and advisors include Guy Kawasaki, Laura Rippy, Jeff Bennett and many others. oneforty has closed their angel round and is looking for RoR developers fired up about building something that will be highly visible and well-promoted.

Mavenlink is a funded startup that is changing the way people find experts who can help them and is providing the necessary tools to get their work done online. We are founded on the principle that virtually everybody needs qualified professional services that are readily accessible, affordable, and there when they need them. We’ve been working with Pivotal Labs to get our product launched, so we’re serious about being agile and we’ve got the right engineering process in place. This is a unique opportunity to join the Mavenlink team and contribute significantly to the direction of the company. We're looking for someone who is not only passionate about development, but also shares our vision for the tools and capabilities necessary for making remote work better than working in person for both the client and the maven.

Honk.com is a new online automotive website that will make car shopping fun and social. We will enable consumers to experience a new way to explore new cars. We have partnered with a top social website to deliver this new way of car shopping and are funded by one of the largest media companies in the world. Our small team is made up of an experienced group of humble, efficient, and hyper-passionate individuals who are veterans of the automotive industry and social media space. We are proud of our ego-less culture, one that promotes team thinking, not individual accolades. If you're interested in helping prove that social media and car buying go hand in hand, social networks serve a bigger purpose than keeping up with one's day, and a small team can outdo the work of an army - then we may have a seat waiting for you.

If you are interested or for more information please contact each company directly. This is an exclusive service provided to our clients, no external companies or recruiters please.

Full job postings follow.

LABS
Need a Job? Come Work With Pivotal Clients

At Pivotal Labs, one of the services we provide is bootstrapping startups, including helping them interview and hire. We currently have clients looking for skilled engineers to build their development teams. This is an excellent opportunity to learn Extreme Programming by working side-by-side with Pivotal's talented and experienced developers while at the same time getting in on the ground floor of a small and dynamic product team.

Pivotal Labs and our clients place a strong emphasis on Agile development and its many aspects: Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, rapid iterations, and frequent refactoring. General technical requirements include serious web development experience, and a significant subset of Ruby, Rails, CSS, JavaScript, or MySQL.

Here's a short description of ekoVenture, oneforty, Honk, and Mavenlink, Pivotal Labs clients currently looking for developers. Their full job postings follow at the end of this post.

ekoVenture is the world’s first social marketplace for adventure, experiential and active travel, a $250 billion market. Utilizing the best social networking technology on the web, we allow users to share their travel experiences, meet other travelers, and book trips online in real-time. Our revolutionary marketplace also features a comprehensive inventory management backend platform for tour suppliers, enabling them to manage their entire business and sell trips or drive leads directly online – this is already implemented across 500 tour suppliers…and adding several each day.

oneforty is a Twitter ecosystem/API venture with considerable traction. oneforty comes with all the excitement and opportunity of a Techstars startup backed by talented and successful investors/advisers who have built some of the best known companies on the web. The founder authored Twitter for Dummies and does tons of press and public speaking and the investors and advisors include Guy Kawasaki, Laura Rippy, Jeff Bennett and many others. oneforty has closed their angel round and is looking for RoR developers fired up about building something that will be highly visible and well-promoted.

Mavenlink is a funded startup that is changing the way people find experts who can help them and is providing the necessary tools to get their work done online. We are founded on the principle that virtually everybody needs qualified professional services that are readily accessible, affordable, and there when they need them. We’ve been working with Pivotal Labs to get our product launched, so we’re serious about being agile and we’ve got the right engineering process in place. This is a unique opportunity to join the Mavenlink team and contribute significantly to the direction of the company. We're looking for someone who is not only passionate about development, but also shares our vision for the tools and capabilities necessary for making remote work better than working in person for both the client and the maven.

Honk.com is a new online automotive website that will make car shopping fun and social. We will enable consumers to experience a new way to explore new cars. We have partnered with a top social website to deliver this new way of car shopping and are funded by one of the largest media companies in the world. Our small team is made up of an experienced group of humble, efficient, and hyper-passionate individuals who are veterans of the automotive industry and social media space. We are proud of our ego-less culture, one that promotes team thinking, not individual accolades. If you're interested in helping prove that social media and car buying go hand in hand, social networks serve a bigger purpose than keeping up with one's day, and a small team can outdo the work of an army - then we may have a seat waiting for you.

If you are interested or for more information please contact each company directly. This is an exclusive service provided to our clients, no external companies or recruiters please.

Full job postings follow.

LABS
Need a Job? Come Work With Pivotal Clients

At Pivotal Labs, one of the services we provide is bootstrapping startups, including helping them interview and hire. We currently have clients looking for skilled engineers to build their development teams. This is an excellent opportunity to learn Extreme Programming by working side-by-side with Pivotal's talented and experienced developers while at the same time getting in on the ground floor of a small and dynamic product team.

Pivotal Labs and our clients place a strong emphasis on Agile development and its many aspects: Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, rapid iterations, and frequent refactoring. General technical requirements include serious web development experience, and a significant subset of Ruby, Rails, CSS, JavaScript, or MySQL.

Here's a short description of Oneforty, Honk and Mavenlink, Pivotal Labs clients currently looking for developers. Their full job postings follow at the end of this post.

oneforty is a Twitter ecosystem/API venture with considerable traction. oneforty comes with all the excitement and opportunity of a Techstars startup backed by talented and successful investors/advisers who have built some of the best known companies on the web. The founder authored Twitter for Dummies and does tons of press and public speaking and the investors and advisors include Guy Kawasaki, Laura Rippy, Jeff Bennett and many others. oneforty has closed their angel round and is looking for RoR developers fired up about building something that will be highly visible and well-promoted.

Mavenlink is a funded startup that is changing the way people find experts who can help them and is providing the necessary tools to get their work done online. We are founded on the principle that virtually everybody needs qualified professional services that are readily accessible, affordable, and there when they need them. We’ve been working with Pivotal Labs to get our product launched, so we’re serious about being agile and we’ve got the right engineering process in place. This is a unique opportunity to join the Mavenlink team and contribute significantly to the direction of the company. We're looking for someone who is not only passionate about development, but also shares our vision for the tools and capabilities necessary for making remote work better than working in person for both the client and the maven.

Honk.com is a new online automotive website that will make car shopping fun and social. We will enable consumers to experience a new way to explore new cars. We have partnered with a top social website to deliver this new way of car shopping and are funded by one of the largest media companies in the world. Our small team is made up of an experienced group of humble, efficient, and hyper-passionate individuals who are veterans of the automotive industry and social media space. We are proud of our ego-less culture, one that promotes team thinking, not individual accolades. If you're interested in helping prove that social media and car buying go hand in hand, social networks serve a bigger purpose than keeping up with one's day, and a small team can outdo the work of an army - then we may have a seat waiting for you.

If you are interested or for more information please contact each company directly. This is an exclusive service provided to our clients, no external companies or recruiters please.

Full job postings follow.

LABS
Need a Job? Come Work With Pivotal Clients

At Pivotal Labs, one of the services we provide is bootstrapping startups, including helping them interview and hire. We currently have clients looking for skilled engineers to build their development teams. This is an excellent opportunity to learn Extreme Programming by working side-by-side with Pivotal's talented and experienced developers while at the same time getting in on the ground floor of a small and dynamic product team.

Pivotal Labs and our clients place a strong emphasis on Agile development and its many aspects: Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, rapid iterations, and frequent refactoring. General technical requirements include serious web development experience, and a significant subset of Ruby, Rails, CSS, JavaScript, or MySQL.

Here's a short description of Honk and Mavenlink, two Pivotal Labs clients currently looking for developers. Their full job postings follow at the end of this post.

Mavenlink is a funded startup that is changing the way people find experts who can help them and is providing the necessary tools to get their work done online. We are founded on the principle that virtually everybody needs qualified professional services that are readily accessible, affordable, and there when they need them. We’ve been working with Pivotal Labs to get our product launched, so we’re serious about being agile and we’ve got the right engineering process in place. This is a unique opportunity to join the Mavenlink team and contribute significantly to the direction of the company. We're looking for someone who is not only passionate about development, but also shares our vision for the tools and capabilities necessary for making remote work better than working in person for both the client and the maven.

Honk.com is a new online automotive website that will make car shopping fun and social. We will enable consumers to experience a new way to explore new cars. We have partnered with a top social website to deliver this new way of car shopping and are funded by one of the largest media companies in the world. Our small team is made up of an experienced group of humble, efficient, and hyper-passionate individuals who are veterans of the automotive industry and social media space. We are proud of our ego-less culture, one that promotes team thinking, not individual accolades. If you're interested in helping prove that social media and car buying go hand in hand, social networks serve a bigger purpose than keeping up with one's day, and a small team can outdo the work of an army - then we may have a seat waiting for you.

If you are interested or for more information please contact each company directly. This is an exclusive service provided to our clients, no external companies or recruiters please.

Full job postings follow.

LABS
Need a Job? Come Work With Pivotal Clients

Today we're starting a new weekly posting on Blabs for those of you looking for engineering jobs. We hope you find it useful, and if you're happily employed please ignore this.

At Pivotal Labs, one of the services we provide is bootstrapping startups, including helping them interview and hire. We currently have clients looking for skilled engineers to build their development teams. This is an excellent opportunity to learn Extreme Programming by working side-by-side with Pivotal's talented and experienced developers while at the same time getting in on the ground floor of a small and dynamic product team.

Pivotal Labs and our clients place a strong emphasis on Agile development and its many aspects: Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, rapid iterations, and frequent refactoring. General technical requirements include serious web development experience, and a significant subset of Ruby, Rails, CSS, JavaScript, or MySQL.

Here's a short description of Honk and Mavenlink, two Pivotal Labs clients currently looking for developers. Their full job postings follow at the end of this post.

Mavenlink is a funded startup that is changing the way people find experts who can help them and is providing the necessary tools to get their work done online. We are founded on the principle that virtually everybody needs qualified professional services that are readily accessible, affordable, and there when they need them. We’ve been working with Pivotal Labs to get our product launched, so we’re serious about being agile and we’ve got the right engineering process in place. This is a unique opportunity to join the Mavenlink team and contribute significantly to the direction of the company. We're looking for someone who is not only passionate about development, but also shares our vision for the tools and capabilities necessary for making remote work better than working in person for both the client and the maven.

Honk.com is a new online automotive website that will make car shopping fun and social. We will enable consumers to experience a new way to explore new cars. We have partnered with a top social website to deliver this new way of car shopping and are funded by one of the largest media companies in the world. Our small team is made up of an experienced group of humble, efficient, and hyper-passionate individuals who are veterans of the automotive industry and social media space. We are proud of our ego-less culture, one that promotes team thinking, not individual accolades. If you're interested in helping prove that social media and car buying go hand in hand, social networks serve a bigger purpose than keeping up with one's day, and a small team can outdo the work of an army - then we may have a seat waiting for you.

If you are interested or for more information please contact each company directly. This is an exclusive service provided to our clients, no external companies or recruiters please.

Full job postings follow.

LABS
desert 0.5.0 released, now with Rails 2.3 support

This is a quick announcement that there's a new desert version (gem, git) that supports Rails 2.3.x. If you have existing desert plugins the only change you'll need to make will be to rename your plugin's routes.rb to desert_routes.rb to avoid conflicting with Rails' new built-in engines functionality.

Please post here if you see any incompatibilities/issues when upgrading.

LABS
Split testing with Rails Part 2 – The Results Are In

In my last article I ask you to visit Blabs and participate in a simple split test. A few hundred of you were nice enough to humor me and we were able to collect some statistically significant data. It turns out you like pictures of us, and love blink and marquee tags.

To elaborate, I started with a goal of driving traffic to our "Who" page, with the idea that this would be a good proxy for how well we're getting readers of our blog interested in Pivotal (people are our secret sauce). I then created two new versions of the Blabs page (below), one that added Pivots' pictures to their posts, and a second that added pictures and a big blinking "click me" button.

Control Control Page: The Current Blabs Landing Page

Variation 1 Variation 1: The Blabs Landing Page With User Images

Variation 2 Variation 1: The Blabs Landing Page With 'Click Me' Link

Web Optimizer requires that each of these pages be at unique URLs, so I added a query parameter to my controller 'p' that could be set to 1 to create the first variation and 2 for the second, e.g /blabs?p=2. You may have noticed this if you visited the page and weren't in the control group. Here's what the Web Optimizer (WO) summary screen looks like:

Web Optimizer Summary

I wont get into configuring WO as it's pretty dang easy. So, without further ado onto the code...

I started with a simple base class to take care of the JS and conditional logic around it (web_optimizer_test.rb). WO requires a specific bit of JS on the control page that does not appear on the variation pages, which web_optimizer_test takes care of for me.

I then created a subclass that contains functionality specific to the two permutations I was testing:

class BlabsSplitTest < WebOptimizerTest
  def initialize(id, control, plea=false)
    super(id, control)
    @plea = plea
  end

  def show_images?
    !control?
  end

  def shameless_plea?
    @plea
  end
end

With this done the controller code became pretty simple. I just needed created this object with the test id (created when making the test in WO), and the parameter onfo (e.g ?p=1) from the request:

class BlabsController < ApplicationController
  before_filter :setup_ab_test

  protected

  def setup_ab_test
      @profile_image_test = BlabsSplitTest.new('2726898050',
                                        params[:p].nil?, params[:p] == '2')
       @profile_image_ab_testing_control_js  = @profile_image_test.control_script
      @profile_image_ab_testing_tracking_js = @profile_image_test.tracking_script
  end
end

The second and third arguments to BlabsSplitTest.new are a bit confusing. The second (control) is true if we request the page with no p param. If p is defined we're on a variation page. The second argument is necessary because I have two variations, and is true when we're on the "shameless plea" version of the page (p=2).

Since all the logic for what to do is encapsulated in this object, the blabs template is pretty easy to understand:

<!-- images -->
<% if @profile_image_test.show_images? %>
  <%= image_tag(user_img)%>
<% end %>

<!-- sidebar -->
<% if @profile_image_test.shameless_plea? %>
    <div class="sidebar-node alarming">
      <marquee>Split Test in progress!</marquee>
      <blink>
        <%= link_to "please click here", '/who' %>
      </blink>
  </div>
<% end %>

That's all there is to setting up the test. All that's left is to track conversions, which we do on the "Who" page, which happens to be served up by the User controller. Here I could've used a BlabsSplitTest, but since I apways print out the same JS (and I refactored to BlabsSplitTest) I just use the WebOptimizerTest directly with the same test id:

class UsersController < ApplicationController
  before_filter :setup_ab_testing

  protected

  def setup_ab_testing
    @profile_image_test = WebOptimizerTest.new('2726898050')
    @profile_image_ab_testing_conversion_js = @profile_image_test.conversion_script
  end
end

and include the JS in the corrisponding template:

<%= @profile_image_ab_testing_conversion_js %>

That's all there is to it. In terms of results, WO provides a running summary of the test and can be turned on/off without a redeploy whixh is very nice. Here's my final summary:

Results

which indicates we should add blinking marquee tags to all our pages, so stay tuned....

In terms of my opinion having implemented a simple test, I like WO overall and recommend it for simple tests and/or new testers. The reports kept me from having to bust out my stats book, and I didn't have to keep the data myself, which was a plus and would be great at scale.

That said, WO seems limited in some key ways and I expect to outgrow it rapidly. For example, the Blabs controller and our "Official Blog" controller have a common ancestor, so it should be easy to have a parallel test there with one line of code. I would have loved to do that, however the conversion script uses a global variable to track which test it's for so -- as far as I can tell -- you can't have multiple tests end on the same page (e.g eight tests that all convert when a user registers).

This was fun for me, I hope y'all found it useful as well.

LABS
Split testing with Rails

At Pivotal we are all about rapid iteration and continual feedback for our code, and try to get our clients to get excited about this same mode of thinking with respect to their products. To make that a bit easier, I've been working on a simple ruby wrapper for the Google Website Optimizer that allows you to perform split tests with just a few lines of code.

To get my feet wet I've set up a simple experiment on this blog -- http://pivotallabs.com/blabs -- and need a few more participants to get interesting data. If you get this is an RSS feed (you know who you are) and haven't been to the site in a while c'mon by and check it out. In addition to a silly split test, we've been working on the site in general and there are some cool new updates.

I hope to follow up with the code and results of this test in another post. Meanwhile, I'm interested in experiences other folks have had with split testing. What kinds of tests have you done? What tools did you use, or did you roll your own? What kinds of patterns did you discover for managing multiple tests from a development and deployment perspective?