Who is José Valim?
@josevalim An open source developer, a speaker, a musician and an entrepreneur. I’m co-founder and lead developer at Plataforma Tecnologia – a development and consultancy company focused on Ruby and Rails, based in Brazil – and a Rails Core Team member. I am happily living in Kraków with my wife!
Where and when did you start programming?
I was 12 years old when I had my first contact with programming. At that time my parents bought a computer, which came with a BASIC book. This experience lasted no more than 2 hours as I failed to do the calculator example from the first chapter. :)
However, when I was 17 years old at university, I found that my failed experience five years before was called “programming”. I took C classes there and I was known by professors for asking unusual questions as: “what happens if I don’t include the library headers?” or “what if I pass an invalid argument here?”. A few professors quickly understood that I wanted more than introductory material in the courses and a few eventually explained to me how C compilers worked behind the scenes. It was a fun experience!
A few months later, my dark ages started. :)
First, I decided to use Flash and learn ActionScript by myself in order to create my band’s website. Next, I did PHP development with MySQL and PostgreSQL as freelancer. That was pretty much the deal until my fourth year in university when Hugo Baraúna, who played guitar with me in the band, invited me to be part of a web startup.
In the startup, they were using a new framework for web development called (surprise, surprise) Ruby on Rails.
Since my experience before using Ruby on Rails was limited to PHP, Active Record really amazed me in the beginning. However, today I clearly see that my true love is really Ruby! Ruby gives me the freedom, fun and motivation to work and contribute to open source as I do today!
What does your typical day look like?
Hrm, it is actually hard for me to describe a typical day. They vary a lot, but let’s try it!
Currently, I work from my home office in Poland and I always start my day reading my e-mails. After that it’s just a “controlled chaotic schedule”. Basically I work on Rails, other open source projects, Plataforma Tecnologia’s customers’ projects, preparing talks and presentations, writing blog posts or conferencing via Skype.
Finally, due to time zone difference between Brazil, sometimes I need to stay up late, while other times my wife makes me go to bed early!
What do you do in your free time?
Most of my free time today goes out to family time. Sometimes I do enjoy playing the guitar and I really hope to get an electric piano soon.
Current favorite apps?
Github, codebase, typewith.me, campfire and dropbox. Without them I couldn’t get my work done.
What OS do you prefer?
OS X, Snow Leopard. Although I wish I had less snow around here.
Small picture for your Workplace?
Ok, this is the current picture of my table, no cheating, no changes:
Favorite: Color, Font, Language, JS Framework?
Blue, Monaco, Ruby, jQuery.
Name something that has inspired you recently?
I definitely love how Plataforma Tecnologia is shaping up and every single day I get inspired by someone in our team doing something different or creative. Although most of it is internal to the company, part goes out as open source contributions helping a lot of people out there.
The Rails Core Team also inspires me. It is a big team (today we are 9), working on a big project with big challenges but we are still able to meet every single of these challenges with simple and useful solutions.
Finally, I am frequently surprised and inspired by the different music that I hear around Europe. Mentions go to Phoenix (French band), Sigur Rós (Icelandic band) and The Swell Season (Irish and Czech duo).
What do you prefer (and why)? Freelance work or full time employment?
I like a mix of both. As a co-founder of Plataforma Tecnologia, I face different challenges from different projects frequently, just like a freelancer would, and I also get the change to be constantly building something meaningful, in this case Plataforma Tecnologia itself. So I have the best of both worlds.
What are your personal projects and goals for 2010?
I am very thankful that this year was already full of achievements: Plataforma Tecnologia has doubled its size compared to one year ago, I was invited to be part of Rails Core, I had a successful talk at Euruko (biggest Ruby conference in Europe), I won a Ruby Hero award and we shipped Rails 3!
On the personal front, I want to get back at studying music and finally start to learn some Polish. But I believe the most exciting news is on the open source front. We have great plans for Rails 3.1 and we also want to get Devise 1.2, with OAuth 2 support, out.