A CustomInk Technology Blog

0-60 in Ten Weeks at CustomInk’s eCommerce Technology Department

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Going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in ten weeks is impossibly slow for any sports car, but for a summer internship - starting as a novice developer just learning the ropes of CustomInk Tech, to ending the summer developing alongside full-time engineers has been a fast and exciting ride.

Summer at CustomInk

At CustomInk, the bar is set extremely high for being a developer in the eCommerce Technology department as well as being a resourceful mentor. Most of what has made my summer both productive, efficient, and awesome was the willingness of the full-time engineers to help me get up to speed on working with real world problems that CustomInk Tech solves each day. From my first day at the office, I felt a sense that I wasn’t “just an intern” but that the people on CustomInk’s eCommerce Tech team cared that I was there for the summer, recognized I could help benefit the team, and helped enable me to do so.

From working alongside UX designers, learning important DevOps practices, taking care of routine site maintenance, strategizing for large data migrations, refactoring sections of an extensive test suite, developing the code behind new business initiatives, and continually learning and testing my development knowledge and practices are just a few facets of CustomInk Tech I had the privilege to experience over the course of my 10 weeks here.

To any upperclass college students looking for a summer internship or early career position in a fast-paced and collaborative software engineering environment, I highly recommend researching and applying for the opportunities with CustomInk’s eCommerce Technology department. Some important skills and familiar tools to have would include; a growing proficiency in Ruby, JavaScript, and Git, experience with the development of a Rails application, work well in a collaborative environment, understanding proper data modeling practices and techniques, being good friends with the command line, and being able to communicate and understand complex and sometime novel technical problems and ideas with fellow engineers and non-engineers.

Overall, I could not have asked for a more challenging, educating, and enjoyable summer internship experience. I feel that this experience has left me well prepared for the next steps of my career after my senior year at Carnegie Mellon. A huge thanks to everyone on the team who has made this an amazing summer!

Welcome Hunter Madison!

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Hunter Madison

Hunter joins CustomInk for the summer as a development intern on the DangerSquad!

He recently finished upgrading our Clipart application from Ruby 1.8.7 (it’s a classic!) to 1.9.3. This is a mission-critical app that gets plenty of traffic, so he worked closely with our webops group to roll this out to production without downtime or disruption (just in time to upgrade to Ruby 2.1).

Data grows ever faster and knowing exactly where and how fast it grows has become an important metric to watch. Hunter is currently working on a utility to monitor the growth of data in CustomInk applications.

Welcome to the team Hunter!

Welcome Anthony Corletti!

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Anthony Corletti

As a rising senior at Carnegie Mellon Unviersity, Anthony joins CustomInk Tech for the summer as a development intern in the Tako Stand!

Welcome to the team Anthony!

Instrumenting Your Code With ActiveSupport Notifications

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Moving past the supernatural ability to garner information from the log! Have you ever wondered how tools like New Relic are able to gain valuable metrics to your Rails application’s internals? Or maybe you are interested in learning how to write your own libraries and gems so they can be instrumented using those same techniques? Once again the answer is to look deep into the Rails source code – and the answer is ActiveSupport::Notifications. A simple and powerful instrumentation API for Ruby available in Rails v3.0 and upward.

Welcome Jonathan Lehman!

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Jonathan Lehman

Jonathan joins CustomInk from William & Mary where he studied Computer Science powered by bread ends and house dressing at the local Cheese Shop. He joins the Ironborn Industries fireteam.

He will be working on Booster - the best way to raise money and awareness for your cause, passion or project.

Welcome to the team Jonathan!

Welcome Ryan Billings!

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Ryan Billings

Ryan joins CustomInk as a software engineer. He recently added features that allow our staff to quickly cancel and refund orders on Booster.

We’re fans of lean product development, so it’s not uncommon to deploy features with simple implementations in order to quickly learn about our customers. Alas, there comes a time to pay the piper: the manual order cancelation process we got by with was becoming a burden.

Just as important, we realized that our financial data model no longer reflected our reality; a refactor was in order. Ever the consummate team player, Ryan worked with engineers and stakeholders to design a better data model. Through a series of deploys, he updated the system with no downtime or impact on customers or client applications.

Finally, Ryan made quick work of the actual cancel feature, a good sign that we had refactored correctly.

Welcome to the team, Ryan! We’re glad you’re here.

Welcome Lisa Pourkhomami!

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Lisa Pourkhomami

Lisa joins CustomInk as a software engineer. She recently completed integrating payment processing into our new cart for CustomInk Campaigns, a huge upgrade in our user experience.

We are organized into small fire teams, each with a product manager, user experience designer, and a handful of software engineers. We succeed when we work together, balancing getting it done and getting it right. Lucky for Danger Squad!, Lisa brings an awesome mix of pragmatism and attention to detail to the team.

She also brings a broad skill set, which is great because we tackle projects at every level of the stack. Sometimes it’s a responsive customer experience, other times it’s extracting a new web service. And it’s always measured and analyzed in frightening detail.

Welcome to the team, Lisa. We’re looking forward to great things!

Bootstrap Your Next Project With the HolyGrailHarness

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The HolyGrailHarness is a curated Rails application prototype that focuses on simple test patterns for Ruby & JavaScript!

Unlike normal Rails Application Templates or more modern Rails application generators like Rails Composer, the HolyGrailHarness is a basic Rails application that can be considered a prototype and customized via a simple setup script. It is also somewhat opinionated in that it promotes simple and powerful testing choices and focuses on using Ruby 1.9 and up, MiniTest::Spec, Capybara, Poltergeist/PhantomJS, and Konacha. More details on each component and what HolyGrailHarness provides are below.

The HolyGrailHarness is perfect for any of the following:

  • Bootstrapping your next Rails application.
  • Learning and promoting MiniTest::Spec
  • Modern JavaScript testing setups.
  • Teaching Rails and/or JavaScript at your next meetup.