The Life of a Radar

About me

My name's Ryan Bigg and I am currently gainfully employed at Marketplacer as a Senior Rails developer. You can find me on Twitter as @ryanbigg.

I won a Ruby Hero award in 2011 for my work on documentation for Rails. As part of this documentation, I've worked on the Asset Pipeline, Active Record Query Interface, Configuring Rails Applications, Getting Started with Engines and the Rails Initialization Internals guides. I keep some guides in my guides repository on GitHub. I've also been known to hang out on Stack Overflow.

I wrote a book called Rails 4 in Action with Rebecca Skinner, Yehuda Katz and Steve Klabnik.

I also wrote Multitenancy with Rails, a book that guides you through the process of building a multi-tenanted Rails application.

I am not actively looking for any more jobs. If you still really really really feel like contacting me about a job, include the phrase "Bravo Foxtrot Uniform", just so I know you've done your research. If you do not include this phrase, I will assume you have not done your research. I get contacted quite often by recruiters, and this phrase is what I use to weed out those who have done their research and those who haven't.

I've been doing Ruby and Rails for the past decade and I consider myself an expert at it. Just look at my Stack Overflow score. I don't profess to know everything, I just know a lot and I've got a fair bit of experience in developing Rails applications. To be honest: I learned a lot of what I know from spending way too much time in the rubyonrails-talk mailing list, the #rubyonrails IRC channel on Freenode, and Stack Overflow.

I'm passionate about learning new languages and technologies, although the time spent working with Ruby and writing books kind of eats into that. Particularly interested in Elixir and EmberJS.


I write mostly about Ruby and Ruby on Rails -- I've even written a book on it! Other times I write about the community in general in such posts as You suck., Advanced Rails Documentation and Please learn Rails.

Super-popular posts of mine include the Ubuntu, Ruby, Ruby-install, chruby, Rails, and You and its "sequel" Mac OS X, Ruby, Ruby-install, chruby, Rails and You, as well as Congratulations, a post based on a true story about how I got into doing Test Driven Development.

I've done a lot of work on the official Rails guides, enough to be ranked #21 for all time Rails committers at the time of writing. I've done this by writing such interesting guides as the first copy of the Active Record Querying Guide, the Configuring Rails Applications guide, the Asset Pipeline Guide, and theEngines guide. I also re-wrote the Getting Started Guide into its current form.

I'm also writing other guides that don't fit into the Rails guides over on my personal guides repository.


Besides writing Gigantic Walls of Text, I also write code. Some of my favourite projects to work on are forem (a lightweight forum engine built for Rails 3.1+ applications), paranoia (a better implementation of acts_as_paranoid), by_star (date range scoping library for Active Record), dotiw (a more accurate version of Rails' distance_of_time_in_words), and summer, a tiny IRC bot framework (with inspiration from autumn), which runs the #rubyonrails channel bot, helpa. I've also built (a Phoenix application) which maintains a list of IRC logs using that bot.

Over my development life I've worked with many, many teams developing Rails applications.

In 2007, I worked my first full-time Rails job at SeaLink helping them build their new reservations system.

In 2008, I worked with a small consultancy called NetFox in Adelaide developing various web applications. In this year I also helped coordinate the first Railscamp held in Adelaide, Railscamp #4.

In 2009, I worked at a consultancy called Mocra in Brisbane, again developing web applications for clients. It was here that I really became a zealot of TDD/BDD.

In 2010, I introduced a small team of PHP developers at GetUp in Sydney to Ruby on Rails and the best practices (such as BDD and Agile) associated with it. All of the developers, aside from one, are now doing Ruby on Rails development professionally. The one that's not doing Rails development has chosen to study economics, but still has a passion for programming.

In 2011, I worked as a Ruby on Rails consultant for RubyX in Sydney. It was my favourite consulting job so far. I performed extensive code reviews of existing applications, training and application development and really enjoyed it.

Between April of 2010 and September of 2011, I was working on the first edition of Rails 3 in Action during my spare time. I even found additional time to build a review system called Twista> when I found Manning's own to be insufficient for my own needs. In Twist, authors and reviews can view individual chapters and start discussions about particular elements.

In November of 2011, I left RubyX after being offered a job by Spree Commerce to work full time as the Community Manager and developer of the Spree e-commerce platform.

Between February and May 2012 I travelled across the US meeting all my programming friends there and attending some conferences, such as SpreeConf, Ruby on Ales and RailsConf. I spoke at SpreeConf and Ruby on Ales, but not RailsConf. During this trip I visited about 12 different cities over an almost 3 month period.

In 2013, I was still working at Spree. In this year I wrote another book called Multitenancy with Rails and in November I started writing my third book called Debugging Ruby.

In July of 2014, I looked for a new job, and shortly after that accepted a job offer from LIFX. I worked there until January of 2015.

In January 2015, I accepted a new job at Marketplacer as a Senior Ruby Developer. I am currently employed there.


I moved to Melbourne at the beginning of 2012. I am originally from Adelaide, but I've also lived in Brisbane and Sydney. I attend the local user group meetups when I can and most of the Australian Railscamps. I help run the Melbourne Ruby Hack Night.

If you need help with anything Ruby or Rails related, ask me and I can probably help you or get you contact with someone who can. Or you could read Rails 4 in Action, Multitenancy with Rails or Debugging Ruby.