Midnight coding with Ruby on Rails


I’ve been playing with Ruby on Rails
over the past few weeks – intermittent, midnight type stuff. A customer
had recently enquired about the potential for using it to build some
quick and dirty intranet applications; their words, not mine –
aficionados may just love/hate that description.

The data behind the applications was to come from a mixture of
pre-existing systems, spreadsheets, word documents; My goal was to
produce something quickly that could illustrate to the customer how
something like this could be developed a) pretty quickly and b) if they
did not bite, allow me to something to post about on this blog 8;.

The incongruity of my speed on delivering this vs. that being the
requirement of the customer has not been lost on me; but as i said,
this is late at night stuff and was fronted as such.

The dangers of free consultancy/not having the terms of engagment crystal clear  has been discussed recently by Tom Raftery
but the effort here (the most time consuming has been the manual data
entry) has been lesser that I thought. Of course there is a learning
curve – the most annoying being the lack of substantial online
resources on rails for common problems; do a search for a perl or php
issues and chances are you will have an answer very quickly.

The result of this is casualtyfigures.com
– a site which allows easy access and dissemination of patients
awaiting admission to Irish hospitals (A&E figures or A&E activity) through casualty departments. The
figures have been collated from the HSE website (pdf’s), and are from April 2005 to April 2006. The Irish Nursing Organisation (INO) also maintain figures under the Trolley watch campaign, but these have not been used.

All told, probably more time than I expected, but rails has been on
the dabble-list anyway  and so was inevitable.  Over the last week or
so, I’ve had a good few suggestions on potentially how to add extra
functionality and reporting – We’ll see.

Update :  a case of that sinking feeling – the
client has backed out. however, i’m going to give this a  little more
time, and add the suggestions that have been received.



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