In which we discuss our ideas about software development & technology consulting.

Migrating Legacy Data

When building a completely new version of an application that has to account for legacy data how well you deal with the legacy data can make or break the new application. Read on to learn how we manage the migration.

Visual Languages & CSS Frameworks

CSS frameworks often give developers a "visual language" with which they can work, but at what cost? Flip explores the difference between design and snapping an interface together.

Building Better Software, Part 1: The Need for Project Management

Over the next several weeks, I'm going to discuss the ins and outs of successful project management, and all of the ways it can improve your life. This is the first post in that series.

Art Bytes Hackathon Retrospective

A couple weeks ago we participated in the Art Bytes hackathon put on by The Walters Museum. All in all it was a blast, certainly one of our favorite hackathons in recent memory. Read on for highlights and observations.

Generating Thumbnails During an XCode 5 Build

In this tutorial, we demonstrate the use of Xcode 5's "Run Script Build Phase" to automatically generate resized images, such as thumbnails, as part of your project's build.

Announcement: Back Forty Speaker Lunches

We're happy to announce Back Forty Speaker Lunches: our plan to help out new and returning B'more on Rails presenters. Read on for the details.

Fundamentals: Mandatory Communication

This is the first in a many part series where we'll cover some core ideas we use here at Back Forty to ensure the success of our projects. We'll discuss one of our most important practices: mandatory communication.

Follow up on 'Consultants vs. Employees'

My last post got pretty popular on Hacker News, which was a little bit crazy and very fun. Now let me respond to some of my critics!

Consultants vs. Employees: The Real Costs

We hear a lot that consultants are "too expensive." Everyone wants to hire a full-time employee because they think it'll cut their software development costs in half.
Here's what I found when I ran the numbers.

On Taking Equity

It can be hard finding a reliable development team. The competent ones are usually expensive, and "expensive" is the last thing you want to hear when you're managing cash down to the cent at your startup.

As a result, a lot of the new clients we talk to want to know if we might take equity in lieu of our hourly rate, or, in the more extreme cases, in lieu of anything at all.


Six Reasons ReinventTransit was Great

Six reasons the ReinventTransit hackathon was great:

1) Ambitious goals that matter to the attendees. It really felt like everyone in the room was on the same page: getting around Baltimore is harder than it should be and new ideas and creativity are needed to help combat the problem.

2) Fantastic organizers. There were a lot of people that helped make ReinventTransit not just possible, but...

Stamp is Awesome, Don't Use Stamp

I don't think I'm alone in having a hard time remembering strftime directives or being a frequent flyer at So I was excited when a couple weeks ago I was introduced to a really neat gem called stamp. It's pretty simple and has one goal:

Format dates and times based on human-friendly examples, not arcane strftime directives.

Stamp is a great tool on its own but it s...