Playbook Thirtynine

Ship interactive web apps with minimal tooling.

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Solo Founder

This isn't another eBook on how to build a to-do app; but rather an insightful manifesto into the inner workings of four real-life Rails apps. Learn how to ship interactive web apps with minimal tooling.

March 28, 2020 Slow Sales. Little interest. The push continues.

It's been 15 days since I launched pre-orders for my eBook on Rails ( , and so far I've had 14 sales. I've been consistently sharing on Twitter, including pages and snippets, but I don't have a large following.

I guess I just expected more interest. I definitely expected more sales, especially when you look at the popularity of other eBook. I have so many years of experience across multiple apps. I built and sold a business in two years. Surely developers would want to read about my approach and techniques.

But who am I?

I'm just another fish in the ocean.

This project has felt like pushing a rock up a hill. There's a number things that are just out of my control:

  • Rails is not popular
  • We're in a pandemic
  • It's a pre-order
  • I don't have a large megaphone (Twitter followers)

What can I do?

Finish the book. Finish the app. Deliver the book and app on time to those who pre-ordered. Complete the project.

Who knows, maybe this will just be a late bloomer.

March 20, 2020 $1K in Revenue from Pre-Orders

I just reached $1K in revenue from pre-orders for my eBook. It's validating to have some interest, and it's really inspiring me to complete the project.

This morning I crossed over 25K words, and so far sitting at 116 pages. It's coming close to the end, and it's starting to feel pretty good!

March 14, 2020 Free Chapter Download

Based on some user feedback, I decided to add two free chapters as a download. You don't even have to pre-order to get the free-chapter, it's right at the bottom of the book page.

I'm hoping that this spurs a few more pre-orders, because in the last 24 hours I've only gotten 8.

March 13, 2020 Rails eBook pre-orders now open!

Pre-orders for my eBook, Playbook Thirty-nine - Design patterns and techniques for Rails apps, is now open! I’ve been working on this project for the last couple of months and have put a lot of work into it. It’s currently sitting at 21,500 words and I estimate it to be around 25K words when completed.

It covers everything you need to know to build beautiful web applications with minimal tooling. No React. No Vue. No Angular. Just Rails, and a sprinkle of jQuery.

Pre-order now and save 40% off launch pricing!

March 5, 2020 Completely discouraged, but still moving forward.

I've been talking a lot about this book, but for the most part it's falling on deaf-ears, which is really unfortunate.

After some tweets yesterday and some RT's by some accounts with lots of followers, a whopping 5 users were added to the newsletter list bringing the total to 45. Forty-five.

The truth is that developers just don't use Rails anymore, and I don't think there's anything I can do to change that.

I just crossed 20K words and 110 pages, but the more I write, the less I get excited.

February 28, 2020 eBook Companion Rails App

I started on the companion Rails application that will ship with the eBook. The app is pretty much completed, built just in a few days.

It supports everything one would need to get a SaaS application launched. It's paired tightly with the eBook, and the code that's supplied is covered in great detail.

🖌 Bootstrap 4
📑 Admin UI
👱 Customer accounts
💲 Recurring memberships
Stripe Connect
💬 Community forum
🖊 Traditional blog
🖼 Media handling via S3
✉️ Sendgrid for transactional emails
⚡️ Zapier integrations
✉️ Mailchimp for marketing
📝 Rich-text editing via Quill

Here's a preview!

You can sign up to be notified of updates here:

Newsletter Subscribers: 35
Total words so far - 15,700
Pages so far - 76

February 22, 2020 Championing Rails in a World of JS

Each and every day I see another developer asking what JS library to use in their new product. I remain befuddled.

Because the applications that I've built over the last few years have some crazy interactive features. Real-time notifications. Drag and drop page builders. REST API's. All using the same tooling that we've had for nearly 15 years now.

Ruby on Rails is not a web developers first choice in tooling anymore, overshadowed by the shear popularity of JS. I'm out to change this, and it's given me a bit of a fire inside to make the final push to finish this eBook.

Today I hit 15K words, and so far it's looking to be about 60% completed. After the eBook draft is completed, I'll start working on the companion app, and I'm excited about that!

If you're interested in a simplistic and pragmatic approach to building amazingly interactive and powerful web applications, leave your email to be notified when the pre-sale starts.

February 14, 2020 Why am I writing this book?

This is raw and un-edited, but I wanted to share the driving force behind writing this book.

"As experienced software engineers, I think we’re scaring away other potential engineers because we have over complicated web development. We're putting too much emphasis on what tools to use, or what technology stack to build, and not enough focus on actually teaching others how to build great products.

This is at least, my attempt to mitigate that, on whatever level that may be."

February 11, 2020 10K Words

I feel like I've run the gauntlet of emotions with this eBook already.

  • this information sucks
  • nobody will read this
  • what value do I really have to offer

But the more I write, the more I feel good about it.

Reaching 10K words is neat milestone, but the reality is that I'm not even half-way finished. There's a lot to cover. Most of it is centered around Rails, but there's a lot of extra chapters that cover my experiences over the years.

Here's a sneak peak at the chapter on Mitigating DDoS Attacks.

February 5, 2020 5000 Words

I'm not sure if reaching 5000 words is worthy of a milestone, but it seems like it should be. There's still a lot left to go. If I were to estimate it now, it would be well over 25K words by the end.

It's taken a couple of days to get into the groove of writing, but I'm able to get a little done at a time after the days priorities are done (the day job). That leaves nights and weekends!

It's a challenge for me to write this eBook because there's just so much to cover. I don't want to get granular, but I also want to cover enough that the theory makes sense.

Anyways, I decided to just focus on finishing one chapter (eCommerce), and that's what I've been on for the last few days.

Reading some of the threads here on IH is inspiring because it reminds me how much of this tech I took for granted over the last 12 years.

I'm really eager to share this with everyone!

This isn't another eBook on how to build a to-do app; but rather an insightful manifesto into the inner workings of four real-life Rails apps. Learn how to ship interactive web apps with minimal tooling.