I’m working on some really cool Rails stuff, but it’s all proprietary code, and that makes it tough to show people what I’m doing. If you want to hire a software developer, you really need to look at some code, talk about the design decisions, implementations, pitfalls, etc. I’ve often thought about showing up to an interview with my corporate laptop, hook up to the internet, establish a VPN connection and show people what I’m actually working on today. The potential new employer can see me in my “native” environment, no code gets downloaded or printed (what is this printer of which you speak?) and the code disappears when I close the lid on the laptop. But I can already hear the lawyers sharpening their knives, so I guess that’s out.

Contributing to open source projects is an obvious strategy, but it’s hard to find the time when you’re doing Mortgage Driven Development, plus family, plus commuting, plus ranch, and maybe you really do want to step away from the computer once in awhile for a beer or something.

Then I had a thought – why not start with somebody else’s (non-proprietary) code, shape it into my own personal style and tell people how I did it along the way. And a great place for finding interesting projects like that is the books published by The Pragmatic Bookshelf. Disclaimer: I have no financial interest with those guys, but I have purchased 16 books from them, so yeah, I’m a fan.

So, with further ado, here are my two “transparent” development projects:

Take My Money by Noel Rappin – a fully functional e-commerce application

My fork of the code will be on my GitHub account at


and also

Agile Web Development with Rails 5.1 by Sam Ruby and David Bryant Copeland – also an e-commerce application, but without all of the hooks into payment sites.

And my version of the code will be here:


Note: The code is open source, however:

Published by The Pragmatic Bookshelf.
Copyrights apply to this code. It may not be used to create training material, courses, books, articles, and the like. Contact us if you are in doubt.

I’ll provide running commentary on my progress on this blog. Stay tuned. Cheers!