Craftsman Swap - Day 3

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After a great first couple of days I was really starting to catch a groove at the Obtiva office. I switched off to a new project and a new pair. The task today was to take a look at integrating Paypal’s express checkout for an online retail application in Rails. My pair for the day was Nate Jackson. Nate started out at Obtiva as an apprentice and became a full time employee after his journey was complete. It’s great to see people who have enjoyed the experience and had such a positive view of their mentorship that they want to continue to work with their mentors. It is also great to see the mentors accept everyone as peers. It might not seem like a big deal, but it makes a huge difference!

One of the things I love about pairing is sitting down for the first time with somebody and observing how they work. Ruby on Rails gives us a common ground for ideas and communication, but the way we communicate is always different. It’s fun to see different tools and environments, and to see in what ways people invest in their tools to help make them a more productive programmer. We started out our pairing by firing up the one true editor and taking a tour of the application to get an idea of what we needed to do to accomplish our goals. The morning seemed to fly by. As soon as we were done walking through the application and reading the PayPal documentation it was time to head to lunch.

After lunch it was time to get cracking on our task. We were off to a great start with PayPal using the active_merchant gem. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. We had setup the basic developer sandbox accounts and got a simple example working, but found out that the proper solution was the “Pro” remix. This involved much more setup with the developer sandbox. The nice part is that since the Obtiva gang works together in the same room, we were able to get the pre-baked account credentials from others that knew where we needed to be. After fighting for a good part of the day around settings in the developer sandbox, and things not working properly, we arrived at what seemed to be a reasonable solution. The bad part was that PayPal just wasn’t cooperating with us. We were able to confirm that things were working with a live account, just not a developer sandbox account.

Nate and I were pleasantly suprised at the end of the day by a phone call from Carson Conant over at Medifly. Palm had contacted him to produce an app for the Pre and Pixi that would be able to stream the “Hope for Haiti” concert and allow for people to donate directly from their phones. The only downside was that we would only have one day to complete it. Obtiva had already built the original Pre app for Mediafly so we at least had a base app to work from. I was excited and nervous all at once for what day four would bring.