Twenty five months ago I retired. Life has been good - I'm doing a lot of ballroom dancing, updating my book, and meet with a personal trainer twice a week. And, as always, dabble in personal coding projects.
I didn't realize it, but in January, things were about to change for me. I was at a local ballroom dance competition and found myself listed twice in one heat - a scheduling mishap where I was expected to be on the floor twice with two different dance partners.
After the event, Carolyn and I discovered that the organizers used a spreadsheet to collect entries and schedule heats. A very manual and labor prone process, made more difficult by the need to react to last minute cancellations due to the ongoing pandemic.
Carolyn told the organizers that I could do better, and volunteered me to write a program. I thought it would be fun so I agreed. As I was updating my Rails book, I figured that it would be a great way to keep my skills fresh and to try out all the new features of that framework, particularly HotWire and import maps.
The app is on github for those who are curious. Free of charge and open source, because that's the way I roll.
This program was first used in Harrisburg, PA; then in Annapolis MD; and just recently in Charlotte, NC. Two more events have started using it. Two more have indicated that they plan to use it.
I'm currently hosting the app on a Mac Mini in my attic, with an Ubuntu proxy server in front of it. This is fine and has plenty of capacity, but there is always the danger of a local power or network outage making the application unavailable. So on my todo list was to investigate cloud providers. Talking to a number of friends and seeing what others had posted, fly.io was top of my list to investigate.
Before that item bubbled to the top of my list, I saw a tweet by Jared White, pointing to a Rails Specialist job posting. Key paragraph in that post for me:
We don't expect you to be an expert on Fly.io, it just so happens that we already are that! We need your help to understand the needs of the Rails' Hotwire community and framework. You will help pave the way to make Fly.io an even better platform for Rails and Hotwire developers.
Sounded like a win-win to me. I get to share what I know, I get to learn about something I wanted to explore anyway. And to put a cherry on top: I get paid for this, and apparently can even host my side projects for free.
So things moved fast from that point. Jared's post was on Thursday. By Monday, I had what effectively was an interview with Kurt Mackey, CEO of Fly.io. On Wednesday I was entered into their payroll system. I officially start on Monday.
As I'm not sure whether I really want to return to the workforce, I'll start as 1099 contractor, and in a few months time I'll decide whether I want to convert to a full time employee or decide this wasn't for me.
What will I be doing?
Here's what the job description says:
Here's your chance to get people to start thinking of Fly.io as a Rails company, too. Represent!
The team I will be joining has been busy trying to add Rails support to Fly. Given this, I want to start at the other end - adding Fly support to Rails. And when we are done, we will meet in the middle - something made easier because that work (or more precisely, middleware) has already started: fly-ruby.
In short, I want people to think of fly.io as a part of Rails.
I also intend to refer to the Rails Doctrine frequently.