Interview: James Nathan, Co-Founder of Food Orbit

We admire passion and purpose at REA Group, which inspired us to recently sponsor a prize recognising those very two qualities at Tech23 – an event that lets budding technologists pitch their ideas to investors and bring them to life.

We chose Food Orbit as our winner; an innovative online marketplace community that connects and empowers trade between chefs, local farmers and restaurateurs.

tech23cheque

Tomas Varsavsky, Head of Technology – Media & Developer at REA Group, awards James at Tech 23, 2013

We loved the community centric idea and were thrilled to present founders James Nathan and Melissa Foster with their prize, which included having James come and spend some time with our inventors and makers at REA – soaking up our culture, ways and means of working. We knew we’d learn a lot hanging out with James too!

James joined us for our 15th Hack Day and Hackers Market. In between pitching ideas, swapping insights and tacos, we had a chat about what he does, why and how he does it, and what he and his team have learned.

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Automating CartoDB administration tasks

CartoDB is a mapping and visualisation platform we are using at REA to help us analyse and visualise our data. If you want to read more about how to set up a local CartoDB environment read here.

When you create a CartoDB account you can access the CartoDB dashboard which allows you to perform a stack of administrative functions such as loading data and creating visualisations. Continue reading

Setup CartoDB dev environment on Mac OS X

“CartoDB is a geospatial database on the cloud that allows for the storage and visualization of data on the web. Using CartoDB will allow you to quickly create map based visualizations.” (cartodb.com)

This document walks you step by step to have a development CartoDB running on your Mac OS X

Step 1 – Prerequisites

  • First of all, install Ruby if you haven’t (recommend using RVM or rbenv)
  • Install homebrew if you haven’t
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go/install)"
  • Or, update homebrew if you already have it
    brew update

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Working with AWS

At REA we’ve been working with AWS for several years now.  It’s an enabler for us to work the way we want to, using techniques such as continuous delivery.  It provides us a global platform on which we serve key elements of our sites,  integrating with our data centers.  Above all, there’s a great cultural alignment between us.  I recently had the opportunity to talk about our relationship, which I’d like to share …

 

 

TDD in Bash aka our 1st internal Code Retreat @REA

It was an early Saturday morning (yes, 8am is very early!), when 16 of us got together to spend a day practicing fundamentals of software development and design. It was a great day full of lessons learned and lots of fun, too.

The format of the day was a CodeRetreat. In a nutshell, during a CodeRetreat the developers work in pairs on Conway’s Game of Life. Throughout the day we continuously worked on the same problem. To keep up the challenge we introduced different activities, as well as changing pairs and coding in different programming languages. And very importantly the overarching constraint was to always apply TDD. Continue reading

Real-time dashboard for Agent Admin

The Customer Platform team at REA is in charge of developing and maintaining the Agent Admin application, which is the application real estate agents use to upload properties. Agent Admin is a Ruby on Rails application that in order to be deployed goes through a deployment pipeline on an (almost) daily basis. We use Atlassian Bamboo as our CI server.

Deployment Pipeline

The first build triggered after a commit in the Agent Admin (aka AA) codebase generates a package and determines  the version number of the package to be released. In this stage, unit tests, integration tests and a small set of functional tests will be executed. If the build is successful, the package gets promoted to the next step.

The second stage is about certifying that the package built in the previous step passes a more extended set of end-to-end tests. If the package goes through this step, we can execute exploratory tests inside our test environment where the package gets deployed.

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