The Ruby Freelancers Show 034 – Brownfield


Eric Davis (twitter github blog)
Evan Light (twitter github blog)
Jim Gay (twitter github blog)
Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Intro to CoffeeScript)

01:58 – Brownfield Projects

Contrast to Greenfield
Legacy Code

06:50 – Labeling and defining a Brownfield Project


08:37 – How to handle Brownfield Projects



Tree (Unix)

The First Step of Refactoring a Rails Application

Socratic Method

15:48 – Rescue Project versus Brownfield Project

State of the Client versus State of the Project

Urgent Need

20:02 – Technical Problems     Business Leadership Problems

Conway’s Law

Working Effectively with Legacy Code: Michael Feathers

26:56 – Refactoring and Testing

Show, Don’t Tell (Leading by example)
Redesigning Agile: Part II - Introducing Intridea Forge

31:46 – Educating team members

Correcting mistakes
Learn how others work
Lead by example

36:57 – Pushback

Trying new angles
Leave the project
Lower standards


Rails Commit (Eric)
Practical KnockoutJS (Eric)
The Delighted Developer (Evan)
Dead Man’s Snitch (Jim)
TweetBot (Chuck)
Therapeutic Refactoring: Katrina Owen (Chuck)
069 Ruby Rogues: Therapeutic Refactoring with Katrina Owen (Chuck)

JIM: Brownfield's project, I’m just thinking, reminds me of this joke I heard where there's like a cabin boy on a pirate ship and the captain is always telling, when they are going in to battle, captain turns and say, “Arrr! Get me my red shirt!” And so, you know, they’d go to a battle and every time they go, “Arrr! Get me my red shirt!”

And so, finally, the cabin boy goes to the captain and captain says, “Sir, why are you always telling to ‘get me a red shirt’?” “Well, I don’t want the men to see me bleed if I get stabbed.”

And so, the next time they were travelling through the entire like Spanish Armada comes out and just completely surrounds them. And the captain turns to the cabin boy and says, “Arrr! Get me my brown pants!”


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CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 34 of the Ruby Freelancers Show. This week on our panel, we have Eric Davis.

ERIC: Hello.

CHUCK: We have Evan light.

EVAN: Today, I have whiskey.

CHUCK: And we also have Jim Gay.

JIM: I am ready to go.

CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from and this week, we are going to be talking about Brownfield Projects. And who says it’s such–

EVAN: It doesn’t sound very pleasant, right?

CHUCK: [laughs] Yeah. There was some discussion before the show about that.

JIM: That term is terrible. I mean–

EVAN: It’s poopy.

CHUCK: Oh geez. [laughs] Somebody has to say it, right?

JIM: Actually before we start talking, I started searching like is there a Wikipedia entry for brownfield? Like, who came up with the term “brownfield”?

EVAN: Well, we can get it in the Urban Dictionary pretty fast.


CHUCK: Oh geez. [laughs] I usually hear it as a contrast to “greenfield” is what I hear.

JIM: Yeah, I’d certainly understand that. I always like I mentioned before,