Using a HAXOR Approach for Peace and Productivity

Tim Dysinger

Date: Wednesday 19 September 2007
Time: 11:35 - 12:20
Location: Saal Maritim C

Larger real-world web development teams often consist of a half-dozen or more web developers and one or more seasoned UI web designers. Often times the designer will develop the UI as a prototype and then hand it off to the web team. The web developers will then rip it apart and litter it with tags in order to integrate it into the Rails project.

Unfortunately, once the mock-up conversion takes place, the designer is really no longer part of the active development. The designer can make changes to the original set of mock ups and hand them off again for the web developer to merge into the Rails app but this is tedious for the developers. The designer can also abandon the mock-ups and work with the ERB partials and tags but this is tedious for the designer.

HAXOR is a way of configuring a Rails project for clean separation of concerns between designers and developers on larger teams. It stands for HTML, Ajax, and XML Over REST. It allows Rails developers to implement REST in Ruby on Rails in parallel with designers keeping their UI pure HTML, CSS, and Ajax.

Keeping the UI pure HTML, CSS, and Ajax allows designers to use any commonly available tools for standards-based web design and frees them from having to learn yet another script-tag set. Designers then become active-participants in the project for its entire life-cycle.

Pure HTML and Ajax also allows designers to preview their dynamic UI against mock REST services even before the back-end is complete, thus allowing for developer and designer to work in parallel. As the project progresses, designers can update the UI at any time without worrying about learning Rails.

Keeping the UI out of the Rails developers hair allows the Ruby developers to concentrate on the back-end REST services, models, performance, and BDD/TDD. Thus, the entire team can move forward and concentrate on their areas of expertise.

During talk, we will review a sample project showing the ease of the desingers and developers working together using the HAXOR approach.

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