The Year 2011 — A Summary

Wow, another year over already. It feels like it was just recently that I wrote a summary of 2010. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so it's about time that I try to sum up this year. And what a year it's been.

One of the highlights this year, just like last year, was our conference Nordic Ruby. I feel like this year was even better than last year, with amazing speakers such as Chad Fowler and Aaron Patterson, a party on an 18th century style ship, and 150 fantastic attendees. Next year we're trying something quite different, and I think it's going to be awesome. Keep a look out for the new web site for Nordic Ruby 2012.

Aaron Patterson at Nordic Ruby 2011

Aaron Patterson at Nordic Ruby 2011. Photo by Athega.

Right around the same time as Nordic Ruby, we said goodbye to our partners at Edithouse, and moved to our own space. Our new office is in a fantastic 19th century building, the old offices of the famous Gothenburg camera makers Hasselblad. We love our new office, and others seem to like it too, as we made the finals in a competition for Sweden's nicest office. Feel free to come visit us, we love having guests. If you can't make it, check out the pictures of our new office.

Our new office, in the Hasselblad building

We didn't just move out from Edithouse's office, but we also bought back their shares in Elabs. Right now I'm the full owner of the company. The main reason for this was that the collaboration that we envisioned when I started Elabs together with Edithouse never happened. In 2008 and 2009 Edithouse's business changed, and we set our own course. Our own office and ownership reflects our independence, and that feels great. Personally, I still want to say Thank you to Edithouse for helping get Elabs off the ground in 2008.

Another side of our move was that we decided to close down our Stockholm office. While we had some great projects there, for clients like Bonnier's Mag+ and TV4 Play, it was hard having people spread out. One of the best things about Elabs is our culture. Our way of working together, and our camaraderie. Extending that across the country wasn't easy, and it didn't feel fair to Ingemar and Dennis, working by themselves in Stockholm. We asked them if they wanted to join us in Gothenburg, but they decided to stay in Stockholm, and are now working for our clients Mynewsdesk and Mag+. I wish them the best of luck there.

To make up for the loss of Ingemar and Dennis, we've started hiring again! In August, we welcomed Kim Burgestrand to our team. Kim had been freelancing with us while he was on a break from his studies, and we're very happy that he decided to join us full-time. We'll be hiring more developers next year, so if you're interested in joining a fantastic team, let us know!

In 2011, we really ramped up our public speaking. We spoke at a whole bunch of different conferences all over the world. Here's a list, with links to videos of most of them:

Phew! Quite intense! In between working on client projects and speaking at conferences, our developers still found time to release some great open source projects. Nicklas released his Rails account management engine bento, and Anders released the model factory jay_z and the restful HTTP library resto. Kim did a bunch of work on Hallon, his delicious Ruby bindings to the official Spotify API. Jonas released capybara 1.0, an integration testing library used by most Ruby developers. Later in the year, he also released the brand new library turnip, an alternative to Cucumber.

In recognition for his outstanding open source efforts, Jonas received a Ruby Hero Award at RailsConf in May. We're so proud of him!

Jonas Nicklas, one of the Ruby Heroes 2011

During the year we've had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people. We've worked with some great companies in the US (such as Engine Yard, Stackmob, and LivingSocial), as well as some cool Swedish startups (like Naturkartan and Saltside), and some big established companies like TV4 and Bonnier. A big thank you to all of our clients! We're looking forward to more great projects next year.

Yesterday, our last day of work this year, we said goodbye to Antony. Antony's been working with us for almost two years, and he's been a fantastic part of the team. Now he's striking out on his own with a project related to his other big passion, photography, and we wish him the best of luck. Thank you Antony for all your great work, and for keeping our spirits high at the office. We'll miss you!

Now were taking a break over the holidays, and we'll be back on January 2nd, ready for another exciting year.

Happy holidays!

/ CJ & the Elabs team

Merry Christmas from Elabs

PS. If you want to keep up with what we're doing, follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook page. Thanks!


New Office - Renovations Needed

We recently announced that we'll be moving to a new office later this year. There's lots to do before we can move though, and in this post we'll talk about the current state of the office building, and some of our plans for it.

Pairing room from hallway

What really made us fall in love with the office space, in addition to its history, was all the old details. The building was constructed mid-19th century, and a lot of the original interior is still there.

We feel that the classical elegance and attention to detail really reflects our craftsmanship ideals that we strive to uphold when we develop software. It's a very inspiring environment. The old wooden paneling is classified as historically significant and must be preserved. It really makes the office something out of the ordinary.

Conference room and hallway

The office hasn't been used in quite some time, and needs to be renovated. New flooring and carpeting will be put in, windows will get noise insulation, walls and ceilings will be repainted and some glass partitions will be installed.

The fun part about the renovation is that we really get to tailor the office space to our needs and our style. We're working with a friend of ours, Jesper Larsson, to make this a great environment that we will enjoy working in.

Check out the "before" photos, and come back soon for more info here on our blog.


Our New Office

Back at the office and looking forward to the year of 2011. One exciting thing happening this year is that we're moving to a new office in Gothenburg.

We have been looking for something new for a year. Since Elabs started two years ago we’ve been renting space at Edithouse, which has been great. But we need more room and we want something of our own. Something that reflects the kind of company we are. An office out of the ordinary.

We need a spacious place with room for the developers to pair program undisturbed. A creative environment for our designers. Room for our customers when they come and work with us and for the developers in our Stockholm office when they are visiting Gothenburg. We also need a space to hang out and finally have a real ping pong table.

Now we've found it.

The building is called The Hasselblad House and was built by Victor Hasselblad's grandfather in 1875. Victor Hasselblad is famous for his camera inventions. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used a camera from Hasselblad to shoot photos from their landing on the moon and Lennart Nilsson used Hasselblad's cameras to take his amazing photos inside the human body.

Hasselblad had their headquarters in this building for over 100 years. It was also used as a residence for the Hasselblad family. In 2003 Hasselblad moved to a new building. Now most of the house has been carefully renovated and converted into apartments. There are two office spaces in the ground floor, and one of them will be ours.

Right now we're working with our architects and designers, planning the renovations. We'll have more to share about that shortly. Then it's a long wait until June, when we move across the street to this building:

The Hasselblad House


The Year 2010 - A Summary

Today is the last day before the Christmas holiday. We’ll be back January the 3rd and share some exciting news with you, but for now; a quick retrospective of a fantastic year!

One of our favourite events of the year was the inaugural Nordic Ruby. We had a great time and it was fantastic to have so many people here. Hopefully we’ll se you all again at Nordic Ruby 2011.

Another big happening was the startup of our Stockholm office where Ingemar and Dennis are located. Hopefully they will get some company next year. Our team in Gothenburg grew as well, with the addition of Johannes and Nicklas at the beginning of 2010 and then Antony as well. This means we have doubled our team from 5 to 10!

In March we had a company trip to Scotland where we focused on our coming products. Serenity will be the first out, a simple scheduling app for project planning. It's currently being beta tested and we're aiming for a launch in the beginning of next year. We’ve also developed our first iPhone app, for one of Sweden biggest banks, SEB. Great fun, and we hope we’ll do more of that during 2011.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes from

CJ, Lilly, Jonas, Jimmy, Johannes, Antony, Anders and Nicklas in Gothenburg

Ingemar and Dennis in Stockholm



Build, RubyConf and Dave Hoover

Today we are 4 people at the office, half of the crew. Jimmy and Johannes, our designers, left on Monday for Build which is a design conference in Belfast. And yesterday CJ and Jonas flew to RubyConf in New Orleans were they will be giving the talk: The Front End Testing Frontier. CJ will also give a talk about Socialist Software Development.

On Tuesday we had a short but very appreciated visit by Dave Hoover, who flew by Gothenburg to see us and join Got.rb in the evening. Early on Wednesday he continued his journey by train to Malmö and Øredev Developer Conference.

A quiet day at the office.