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This is Extreme Startup. This software supports a workshop where teams can compete to build a software product that satisfies market demand.

NB don't show the players the code for this project until after the workshop as otherwise they can cheat.

Getting started

The simplest way to get Extreme Startup running is to run in Docker.

```shell script

The first time

docker build -t extremestartup . # ./ docker run -d -p 80:3000 extremestartup # ./

and for warmup round
shell script docker run -d -p 80:3000 -e WARMUP=1 extreme_startup # ./ ```

You can even run the tests in Docker if you are making changes to the code

shell script
docker run --rm -it --entrypoint=rake extreme_startup   # ./

For more information on How to manage docker read Docker docs

See bottom for how to run this native (the hard way/the Rubyist way).

Notes for facilitators

  • Run the server on your machine. It's a Sinatra app that by default runs on port 3000 (the docker scripts typically map to port 80).
  • Everyone needs a computer connected to the same network, so that they can communicate. Check that everyone can see the leaderboard page served by the webapp running on your machine. Depending on the situation, we have used a local/ad-hoc network and that is ok for the game.
  • We have had trouble with things like firewalls, especially on some Windows laptops, so if there are problems, make sure you can ping clients from the server and vice versa.

  • Warmup round: run the web server with the

    environment variable set (note that the result of running with
    is undefined):

shell script
WARMUP=1 ruby web_server.rb  # or ./
  • In the warmup round, just make sure that everyone has something technologically working, you just get the same request repeatedly. @bodil has provided some nice sample players in different languages.

  • Real game: revert to using the full QuizMaster, and restart the server. This will clear any registered players, but that's ok.

  • As the game progresses, you can introduce new question types by moving to the next round. Visit /controlpanel and press the "Advance round" button. Do this when you feel like some of the teams are making good progress in the current round. Typically we've found this to be about every 10 mins. But you can go faster/slower as you like. There are 6 rounds available.

  • In case you want to 'stop the world' and reflect with the players during the game, you can use the "Pause Game" button in /controlpanel.

  • Set a time limit so you know when to stop the game, declare the winner, and retrospect.

-- Robert Chatley and Matt Wynne 2011.

People Who've Run Extreme Startup Sessions


If you run this workshop, please write it up on the internet and send us a link to add to this list.

Running "natively" (without Docker)

If you want to run the workshop without Docker you need to get this running (not tested in a few years):

  • Install Ruby 1.9.3 and rubygems
  • (For Windows)
    • Install Ruby DevKit
    • Extract to (e.g.) c:\devkit
    • cd c:\devkit
    • ruby dk.rb init
    • Edit the file config.yml (Add the locations where ruby is installed e.g. c:\Ruby193)
    • ruby dk.rb install
  • (For Ubuntu 12.04 onwards)
    • Remove existing installation of Ruby and ruby related packages (do not use sudo or Ubuntu Software centre or any other Ubuntu package manager to install Ruby or any of its components)
    • Remove rvm and related package from Ubuntu
    • Install RVM using the instructions on
    • In case RVM is broken it can be fixed by going to
    • Install Ruby and Rubygems using RVM only (for Rubygems use: 'rvm rubygems current' or 'rvm rubygems latest')
    • See Installing Nokogiri for installing requirement
    • sudo apt-get install libxslt-dev libxml2-dev
  • (For Mac (Xcode 5.1 onwards))

    • In the install instructions below you may need to supply an additional argument to ensure that Xcode does not treat an incorrect command line argument as a fatal error when installing Nokogiri.
    • The argument is:
      and can be prepended to the install commands.
    • Read more here:
  • Install dependencies:

cd ../
gem install bundler
bundle install
  • Start the game server
bundle exec ruby web_server.rb

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