RailsConf '08: Call for participation

RailsConf 2008 is set to return to Portland on May 29th through June 1st. It takes a lot of time and coordination to get a conference of that magnitude put together, so we’re starting early by asking for presentation proposals from the community. The submission deadline is December 13th.

We’re really hoping to get some more advanced stuff this year. More nitty gritty details. More code on the wall. What did you learn from your last project that others could benefit from too? What techniques have you been experimenting with? What awesome plugins do you find invaluable? This is the place to share all that learning with the rest of the community.

A good reason to take that bold step into submitting a conference proposal is to raise your visibility in the community. I’ve met with lots of speakers who say that they got great business leads after presenting at a Rails conference. Your next client, boss, co-worker, or open-source collaborator may well be in the audience when you’re presenting.

Most of all, though, it’s a lot of fun to share and you tend to learn as least as much as your audience when giving a presentation at a major conference like this. I strongly recommend that you think about which areas of Ruby on Rails you’re especially passionate about and submit a proposal to share that passion.

The Summer of Hack, 2007

The hackfest is back! In sleek new form, the ’fest runs monthly, starting now.

Without further ado: it’s on. Two weeks to go. Sprint!

Thanks to Working With Rails for making this an integral part of their site; thanks to O’Reilly for signing on as the first sponsor (first prize is a free pass to RailsConf Europe); and thanks to you for contributing the patches and bugfixes that keep Rails at the top of its game.

Go, go!

Shiny new Subversion and Trac cluster

You’ve all noticed the excruciating Rails svn updates and Trac molasses in the last couple of weeks. Following the release of Rails 1.2 we thoroughly overwhelmed our development server, no small feat for a hefty dual Xeon. Congratulations, all, for your hearty Rails appetite! Your sustained Mbps say more than words possibly could.

Our friends at TextDrive have stepped up once again to keep Rails development running smoothly and your production apps deploying predictably. Please give a warm welcome to our new development cluster, a load-balanced crew of SunFires and Thumpers hosting Trac at dev.rubyonrails.org and Subversion at svn.rubyonrails.org.

Subversion will remain available at the old dev URL so you needn’t touch your live apps. Feel free to migrate to the new URL at your own speed.

Hackfest 2007 and CD Baby sprint

Ah, Portland. The open-source motherland. Pacific springtime beauty. RailsConf ’07 nirvana.rb # => true and home of CD Baby, a little record store that digs Ruby and Rails.

We’re gearing up for a RailsConf hackfest at the Jupiter hotel just down the street and figured, heck, let’s start now! The top twenty Rails contributors between the new year and conference registration opening day will have a free conf pass and a room at the Jupiter specially reserved, CD Baby’s treat.

No kidding. Registration opens in a matter of weeks. Sprint!

Rails contribution is measured by real Trac activity weighted in favor of well-tested, committed patches but also accounts for new tickets and even comments. We’re joining forces with Working With Rails to track Rails contributions from the new year onward. To be included, mark yourself as a core contributor and give your Trac username in your account profile.

Have a Rails itch you’ve longed to scratch? Now’s the time! Happy hacking, and see you at RailsConf.

Update: Derek @ CD Baby’s announcement with more details.

Update: I announced contest close on the opening day of registration but Derek announced an earlier deadline on January 22nd. Sorry for the confusion! To draw a reasonable compromise, the contest closes tonight, January 24th, at midnight PST. (That’s 2007-01-25 08:00:00 UTC.) After the contest closes, we’ll continue scoring the backlog of patches submitted before the deadline then announce the winners this weekend.

So far, 258 participants have opened 443 tickets, submitted 501 patches, and made 2976 changes. Congratulations! And the leaderboard’s still tight with 17 hours to go..

Update: the contest has closed. The winners are..

New dedicated Trac server on the way

Our current web and mail server has been buckling under the load of the recent frenzy. Especially Trac and mailman is taking it to its knees. So we’re going to add another server. Hopefully this can be completed within the next few days. It’s going to be dedicated to just running the repository and Trac. Thanks to TextDrive for their continued support of Ruby on Rails.

Ruby on Rails will ship with OS X 10.5 (Leopard)

It’s finally official: Ruby on Rails will ship with the next version of OS X (see “Internet and Web”). Both server and client (on the developer DVD). We’ve been working with Apple for quite a while to make this happen and its great to finally be able to share it with the world. The love for Ruby has definitely spread inside Apple and we’ve been thrilled to see the level of interest they’ve taken to get OS X to be a premiere development and deployment platform for Rails.

The developer seed that was distributed today at WWDC contains Ruby 1.8.4 and Rails 1.1.2, but we fully expect to have Rails 1.2.x along with Mongrel, SQLite bindings, and lots of other Ruby goodies on the final gold master when it goes out in spring.

It’s been no secret that Apple is held in very high regard by the Rails community. Every single Rails Core contributer is running on Apple and the vast majority of Rails developers are too. To see Apple acknowledge this and return the favor is very rewarding.

Thanks so much to Ernest Prabhakar, Jordan Hubbard, and Dave Morin for making this happen.

lighttpd makes a proxy comeback

As Mongrel continues to bubble to the top of the preferred production stack, we’ve started to evaluate web servers on their proxy rather than their FCGI support. The lighttpd crew has heard this change of priorities loud and clear and the coming version will feature a brand new mod_proxy_core module, which aims to rectify all the troubles of the old mod_proxy.

Jan Kneschke and crew are busy preparing this proxy module for release with lighttpd 1.5.0, but you can already now get your toes wet with the pre-release.

All hail the http pipe!

New Enterprise Ruby Studio

Right on the heels of Martin Fowler writing up Enterprise Rails, the Pragmatic Studio has announced the addition of their latest studio, Enterprise Ruby, the first of which will be taught by Relevance LLC’s Stu Halloway and Justin Gehtland in Boston, September 11-13.

Some of the material they’ll be covering includes metaprogramming, domain specific languages, LDAP, XML, and web services. These topics and more will help use learn how to use the power and expressiveness of Ruby, and how to use it as your enterprise “glue.”

Those who attended Stu Halloway and Justin Gehtland’s talk at RailsConf on Rails internals already know how engaging they are as speakers. They are also currently working on the upcoming Rails for Java Programmers book.

Though not Rails specific, they do incorporate Rails in parts of the course and learning such things as LDAP and web services in Ruby is directly applicable to your Rails work.

Sign up by July 31st for a $200 early registration discount. You can register at http://pragmaticstudio.com/ruby.

European RailsConf talk proposals

Talk proposals are now being accepted for the European Rails
Conference
, to be held September 14-15 in London. Accepted speakers
will get free admission to the conference. Join a line up that already includes the creator of Rails, David Heinemeier Hansson, Pragmatic Programmer Dave Thomas, best-selling author and passion maven Kathy Sierra, Rails core developers Jamis Buck, Marcel Molina, Jr., and Thomas Fuchs, Rails authors and trainers David Alan Black, and Chad Fowler, and Rake author Jim Weirich.

Proposal suggestions span a variety of Rails topics, including:

  • case-studies in interesting Rails applications
  • Rails add-ons and adapations (including experimental ones)
  • analyses and critiques of specific aspects of the framework
  • the use of Ruby in/for/with Rails development
  • comparative analysis of Rails and other frameworks
  • testing, coding, deployment, and all the rest!

The deadline for proposals is July 21. You are asked to submit a title, a short abstract, and a slightly longer
description (400 words or so). You don’t have to have the whole talk
written, just a reasonably detailed overview.

Send in your talk proposal.

You can write to David A. Black (dblack at wobblini.net) if you have questions about the proposal
process.

Keep an eye on the conference website feed for updates.

The Railways at Reboot 8

Finnish superstar Jarkko Laine, who’s been in the Rails community since day one, is going to be hosting a discussion this Thursday around 9PM at Reboot 8 in Copenhagen called The Railways.

The idea of
the discussion is to bring together people who have already dipped
their toes in the Rails koolaid with those who have contemplated doing so but have not yet made the jump. The conversation will be around
topics like:

  • What in the Rails way has struck people as most important?
    What has made the most difference?
  • Real-world war stories. How has Rails made something possible/
    easier/more productive?
  • Whatever people feel is important to tell Rails newbies.

All Rails people attending Reboot are kindly asked to participate in
the discussion and think beforehand of a few good stories they can
tell to spread the love.

Rails Day 2006

Last June was the first Rails Day, where teams of two or three competed to build the best all around Rails app in a 24 hour period.

Well they’re doing it again this year: Rails Day 2006 will be held on June 17th, just a few days before the first official Rails Conference.

Last year’s contest had dozens of dozens of teams and almost as many prizes, including some pretty sweet ones for the teams that won top honors.

This year’s organizers are looking for your help on fine tuning the rules. So weigh in with your opinions if you have any.

Registration isn’t quite open yet. So rally the troops and stay tuned.

EastMedia jumps into the Rails training arena

Matt Pelletier’s EastMedia, a Rails-centric firm out of New York City, has announced that they are offering two Rails classes in the near future.

The first is a one day course in New York City on April 29th taught by Matt Pelletier and Francis Hwang, the founder of the NYC Ruby user group, humanist and author of, among other things, Lafcadio and MockFS. Francis has been building websites in Ruby for over 4 years now. Up until recently he was the primary developer for http://rhizome.org/. You can sign up here for $395.

For those on the other side of the pond, they are also offering a three day course in London , May 5 – 7 taught also by Matt as well as Dr. David Black of Ruby for Rails fame. That one is £1200 GBP and you can sign up here.

UPDATE: Jeremy Voorhis of PLANET ARGON and Globalize fame will also be one of the instructors at the London gig.

Jobster looking for lots of Rails developers

Jobster is buying into Rails big time. Over the next few months they are looking to hire no fewer than 10 developers. Those over in the Getting Real camp may cringe at the idea of bulking up your team so quickly, but Jobster CEO Jason Goldberg aims to keep things small and nimble:


One of the cool things we have done at jobster
(we think) is to foster small teams which take on big projects in rapid
cycles. Rails makes that possible. With 12 more devs, for instance, we
would spin up 4 significant projects.

So far Rails has indeed proven to be a great fit.


A team of three engineers tasked with prototyping a compelling consumer
product in one month. They where given complete freedom to do what they
wanted, and to build on top of whatever technology they chose. They chose
ruby on rails, completed a successful prototype that will be pushed to our
live site shortly. It was so successful that rails will be the technology
that all our new consumer features will be built on.

Maybe being on one of these teams sounds like a good fit for you. Check out what they are looking for.

Bruce Tate on the Rails podcast

While down in Austin for SXSW, Geoffrey Grosenbach caught up with Bruce Tate for the Ruby on Rails podcast. Bruce talks about how Rails is the catalyst behind a sea change in the development world. Download as mp3 or mp4.

A long time Java developer, earlier this year Bruce put out a book called Beyond Java which caused quite a stir.

He also just wrote an article for IBM’s developer Works about Active Record aimed at Java developers called Crossing Borders: Exploring Active Record .

Keep an eye out for his upcoming Java to Ruby book. Your boss will thank you for alerting him/her to it one day.

Sneak peak at effortless deployment with Rails Machine

SwitchTower author Jamis Buck has provided an excellent manual documenting how to use it. Those who’ve taken the plunge are loving how easy it makes deployment, as well as myriad other tasks. But I’m still always hearing, “We haven’t setup SwitchTower yet but are really looking forward to”.

Enter Rails Machine. It sets out to lower the barrier to using SwitchTower by taking care of all the setup and maintenance. They are scheduling to open their doors in April. For now take a look at the short movie they’ve made showing how easy they’ve made it for you to get going with SwitchTower. They get you up and running in under 5 minutes. No more excuse to not realize how much you love SwitchTower.

RubyConf 2006 location announced

Hot on the heals of the fervor behind the upcoming RailsConf, the location of RubyConf 2006 has been announced. This fall it’s going to be in Denver, Colorado from October 20-22, 2006.

Two years ago we had about 70 people at RubyConf. This past year we stopped accepting signups months before the event when 200 tickets were sold. This year’s conference promises to have huge demand.

Venue, schedule and registration should be opening up in the Spring. Keep an eye on the RubyConf site as more details trickle out.

Big thanks to David Black and the others behind RubyCentral for their tireless work setting all this up.

Rails training opportunities in Europe

In the next few months, our friends over in Europe will be getting several opportunities to attend Rails training courses.

For those looking for longer, more intensive training, April brings two options.

  • Chad Fowler, author of the new Rails Recipes book, will be offering a comprehensive Rails course April 10th-14th in London through Skills Matter. Chad has deep knowledge and experience with Ruby as well as Rails. His workshop provides particular attention to how Rails uses the strengths of Ruby to its great advantage. Seats are going for £1,500. Register

How long before Dave Thomas and Mike Clark bring their Pragmatic studio over to Europe?

Rails training is spreading.

Secrets Behind Ruby on Rails: The Numbers

ITConversations has just made David’s OSCON 2005 keynote, Secrets Behind Ruby on Rails, available for download.

One of the big stories for Rails in August was the numbers behind its budding ecosystem. The conference fell right around Rails’ first anniversary and the numbers one year in were promising. Today, six months down the road, they keep going up.

In the year between when Rails was released and the OSCON 2005 keynote, it was downloaded 100,000 times. In the six months since then it’s up to 300,000.

Estimates on the Rails wiki in August indicated that there were no fewer than 250 programmers in 36 countries getting payed to work professionally with Rails. There are now over 550 Rails programmers in 50 countries, including Azerbaijan!

When Agile Web Development with Rails was released it sold 6 thousand books in its first run. Six months later, its sales are over 25 thousand. Rails publishing is busy, with even more titles upcoming, such as the Rails Recipes cookbook, which is scheduled to be available in beta sometime this February.

There are now around 400 people in the #rubyonrails IRC channel, about the same as #php. The Rails mailing list is as busy as ever.

Six months from now? The first annual Rails Conference. The next half year promises to be interesting. See you there.

New 37signals targets for Rails extraction

37signals has announced two upcoming products: Campfire and Sunrise. This is significant for Rails development because all 37signals applications has historically been the main source for new features in Rails.

Sunrise has already spawned a good number of features for 1.1. There are the polymorphic associations and join model support as well as form_for/fields_for. See the Pursuit of Beauty presentation for code examples on those. Campfire is pushing the envelope on RJS (more on that later).

I’ll try to make the connection between new features in Rails and their origin in 37signals applications to make their usage more clear. Stay tuned.

RailsConf 2006: Now accepting talk proposals

Crack your knuckles — Chad Fowler has announced that talk proposals are now being accepted for RailsConf 2006. Talks are around 50 minutes each, and speakers will receive free admission to the conference.

Don’t miss your chance to speak at what’s shaping up to be one of the most important gatherings of the year. Submit your proposal now (and subscribe to the RailsConf RSS if you haven’t already).

Taking Ajax higher with next Rails release

Thomas Fuchs has been doing awesome work building on top of Prototype (the Javascript engine driving Ajax in Rails) to bring us script.aculo.us: Better effects and drag’n’drop capabilities. Together with the upload progress enhancements from Sean Treadway, we’re going to have a big upgrade to the Ajax capabilities of Rails in the next, forthcoming release (0.13).

If you want to see what’s in store for you, checkout the addition of drag’n’drop to Backpack. Shows off very nicely just how cool drag’n’drop can be in a Web 2.0 application.

There’s more chatter about this on Loud Thinking, Signal vs Noise, and mir.aculo.us.

A peek at the additional Ajaxing coming in 0.11.2

The pursuit of Ajax nirvana with Rails is marching ahead with breath-taking haste. Thomas Fuchs has compiled a demonstration page of all the effects that we’ve added to the package. Web applications are soon going to be hot on the heels of the GUI goodness we’ve grown accustomed to with OS X.

But not content to show of the effects, Thomas has also recorded two impressive movies demoing the upcoming support for both auto-completion form fields and for an upload progress bar (which he has been working on together with Sean Treadway).

Thomas has been a driving force behind most of the new effects and the two fantastically cool abstractions of complete approaches. Are you looking to hire someone to inject the good mood of Ajax into your application? Then Thomas is at the forefront of that pack.

Read more from him on his weblog mir.aculo.us.

Web-Entwicklung mit Ruby on Rails

Following the announcement of Dave Thomas’ upcoming book Agile Web Development with Rails, comes word of the first German book on Rails. It’s going to be called “Web-Entwicklung mit Ruby on Rails” and is currently being written by Ralf Wirdemann and Thomas Baustert on a publishing deal with Hanser targeting a December/January release.

Ralf Wirdemann introduces the book with:

“Web-Entwicklung mit Ruby on Rails” adresses Web-Developers who are frustrated with the complexity of existing technologies like J2EE. We also hope to get some PHP-people on board who are interested in developing well designed and maintainable web applications.

The book should act as a guide to practical web development with Rails. The book will consist of some basic chapters which introduce the rails development fundamentals. Based on these chapters advanced topics will be covered in subsequent chapters (like domain-driven design or Rails best practices). Another emphasis of the book will be test-driven development with Rails.

And their motivations for writing a book on Rails:

We are Software Developers and Consultants in Hamburg / Germany. The emphasis ouf our work is the development of serverside enterprise software. After several years of J2EE development we’ve discoverd Rails eight months ago and we are enthusiastic on how enjoyable and productive the development of well designed web applications can be

Best of luck, gentlemen. Can’t wait to fill up my shelves with even more titles on Rails.

Let's Ajax, baby!

Just a heads-up. Honey, the next application from 37signals, is using a lot of Ajax techniques to get a spiffy and responsive interface. I’m already well underway in the process of refining the techniques and they’re just about ripe for extraction into Rails. Before Rails go 1.0, it’ll be the framework with the easiest support for Ajax on the block.

Agile Web Development with Rails in July

It has been made official. The title of the first Rails book is going to be Agile Web Development with Rails and its currently being written by Dave Thomas. A small group of reviewers, including yours truly, have been reviewing the first chapters as they come of Dave’s printing fingers already. And it’s looking mighty good!

A few choice bits from the introduction to the book:

You’ll see how easy it is to install Rails using your web server of choice (such as Apache or lighttpd) or using its own included web server. You’ll be writing applications that work with your favorite database (MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, and more) in no time at all.

You’ll create a complete online store application in the extended tutorial section, so you’ll see how a full Rails application is developed—-iteratively and rapidly.

Rails is the framework of choice for the new generation of Web 2.0 developers.

Rails book slated for late-summer release

Dave Thomas is busy writing the first Rails book and has been making great progress lately. In his blog post Quite a Week For Rails, he says:

I’ve actually finished enough of my new Rails book that I’ve released some chapters to a wonderful panel of reviewers (no more needed right now, thanks). I’m starting to get happy about the way this book is turning out—I’m looking forward to a late-summer release.

The book is naturally to be published by The Pragmatic Bookshelf and distributed by O’Reilly.

Components are coming to Rails

Despite my recent case against high-level components, I do find low-to-medium level components useful when restricted within a narrow context. I could easily foresee abstracting some of the stuff in our 37signals applications into components and then reuse them across our similar products.

But what ever you believe that components will herald the second coming or remain skeptical as I, the infrastructure to build and use components have now come to Rails! It’s incredibly easy to use and components can either render complete screens or parts of other screens.

To demonstrate I’ve made a little movie: Components in Rails.

Components will be part of the forth coming Rails 0.10.0 release (which is due any day now).

Routing now available in beta gems

Routing is the new name for what was previously known as Directions. The move of responsibility from mod_rewrite and into Rails. This project is now good enough to have moved off the branch it was growing on and into the trunk and beta gems. This also means, however, that the trunk and the beta gems are currently not directly backwards compatible with existing applications.

We’re going to make sure that the migrating documentation is superb for release, but if you’re too impatient, here are the few steps you need to take on applications that doesn’t use custom URLs (those will be a bit more cumbersome to port):

1. Create config/routes.rb with the following content:

ActionController::Routing::Routes.draw do |map|
  # Add your own custom routes here.
  # The priority is based upon order of creation: first created -> highest priority.
  
  # Here's a sample route:
  # map.connect 'products/:id', :controller => 'catalog', :action => 'view'
  # Keep in mind you can assign values other than :controller and :action
  
  # Install the default route as the lowest priority.
  map.connect ':controller/:action/:id'
end

2. Replace public/.htaccess with:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /dispatch.fcgi?$1 [QSA,L]

ErrorDocument 500 /500.html

3. Add the new independent Active Support library to the default loads. For gem installations, it means adding require_gem 'activesupport' right underneath require 'rubygems' in config/environment.rb. It’ll then look like:

# Require Rails gems.
require 'rubygems'
require_gem 'activesupport'
require_gem 'activerecord'
require_gem 'actionpack'
require_gem 'actionmailer'
require_gem 'rails'

For SVN/tgz installations, it means adding vendor/activesupport/lib to the ADDITIONAL_LOAD_PATHS and add require 'active_support' under # Require Rails libraries. also in config/environment.rb. It’ll then look like:

# Followed by the standard includes.
ADDITIONAL_LOAD_PATHS.concat %w(
  app
  app/models
  app/controllers
  app/helpers
  config
  lib
  vendor
  vendor/railties
  vendor/railties/lib
  vendor/activesupport/lib
  vendor/activerecord/lib
  vendor/actionpack/lib
  vendor/actionmailer/lib
).map { |dir| "#{RAILS_ROOT}/#{dir}" }

# Prepend to $LOAD_PATH
ADDITIONAL_LOAD_PATHS.reverse.each { |dir| $:.unshift(dir) if File.directory?(dir) }


# Require Rails libraries.
require 'active_support'
require 'active_record'
require 'action_controller'
require 'action_mailer'

4. Add ActionController::Routing::Routes.reload somewhere in your config/environment.rb file.

That should be it. More detailed information will follow shortly.

The rise of lighttpd as the alternative web server

Apache has long appeared to be the only viable show in town for your Rails’ web serving needs when it comes to running a production system. Of course, there has always been many others, but beside my brief fling with thttpd, I’ve never actually been terribly interested in an alternative. That was before discovering lighttpd.

Where Apache is the swiss army knife of web serving, and a great swiss army knife, lighttpd is much lighter and focused. It’s driven by a single lead developer that’s incredibly available (now where did I see that work before…) and has pretty much all the features you need to make a great web server for Rails applications.

What made me particularly interested is the strong FCGI support, which includes a built-in load balancer to have a single lighttpd process be the entry point to multiple FCGI application servers behind it. In other words, you can scale up without getting a hardware based load balancer, doing round-robin DNS, or running a web server on the application servers themselves.

Today I was playing around with a single lighttpd process playing gateway to FCGI processes on four different application servers. The flexibility that gives to plug in another server into your cluster and be running in no time at all is pretty impressive.

Conveniently enough, Routes is going to rid Rails of the mod_rewrite dependency and open up the caching framework to run without complicated rewriting rules, which in turn means that it’ll work on lighttpd (and other web servers). And I’m doing my best to make Rails friendly to lighttpd and lighttpd friendly to Rails in my experiments running Basecamp and Ta-da List on it. Jan Kneschke is doing a great job already to help push that integration tighter.

So if you’re looking at an easier way to scale your Rails application, then you might be interested in looking into lighttpd already. And you’ll certainly be interested once the early adopters have had the time to familiarize us fully with it, document the process, and adapt the software.

Jason Hoffman of TextDrive also has a great post about lighttpd in Should I consider lighttpd?

Rich clients with Rails and XUL

Zed Shaw put together a simple proof of concept application in a couple of hours to demonstrate the possibilities for rich clients in Rails and XUL. Being XUL, it naturally only works in Firefox and Mozilla, and being proof of concept, it still has plenty of stuff missing. But it does provide a window into the kind of applications Rails are capable of powering if you’re willing to limit the application to the Mozilla platform.

railsxul.png

UPDATE: Zed has explained how the prototype works and offers a few suggestions for Rails.

Celebrating six months anniversary!

On July 24th of last year, Rails 0.5 was released through RubyForge. It mustered 357 downloads in just five days. Today, fifteen releases later, we’ve pushed more than ten thousand gems and five thousand tgz/zip versions over the virtual counter. At the time of writing, the IRC channel holds 153 handles. We recently got Slashdotted and a ton of cool applications are coming out using Rails.

We’ve certainly come quite a long way in six months.

But its only going to get better. A lot better. Dave Thomas is writing the first book on Rails, the mystical 1.0 release is just 1-2 months away, and there’s a number of cool speaking engagements coming up at future conferences that’s going to push awareness even higher.

If you’re reading this, I salute you for being one of the early adopters (or at least interested) that has helped bring Rails this far. Happy half-birthday, Rails!

Rails go web services with XML-RPC prototype

Lars Hoss wanted an XML-RPC interface to his Rails-based weblog, so he hacked up a quick prototype:

Pretty neat! We’re currently investigating a number of different schemes for how to officially support Web Services (SOAP/XML-RPC) “The Rails Way”. Where getting good support from two of the commercial entities using Rails for their work. Announcements will follow.

Oh yeah, and Lars is a Tapestry convert, by the way. On the experience with switching from Java/Tapestry to Ruby on Rails, he writes:

Though I still like Tapestry very much, I prefer Rails for my private projects. Private free time is spare and Rails helps me to use it more efficient.

Nicholas presents the Directors

Nicholas Seckar is busy working away on the Directors — the next-generation URL mapping scheme for Rails — yet still took the time to explain how its going to work. Of course, he chose to use the newly launched SoapBX: Rails & Rewriting. Most excellent.

Road Map: The rails leading to 1.0

Rails is already an incredibly capable environment, but we’re still not quite ready to slap on the 1.0 sticker according to my own standards for that label. So what’s missing? Here’s a list of the major achievements that I want to see happen before we go to the big one-o:

  • Directions: While its fully possible to do intricate custom URL layouts, its not as easy as it could be. The combination of mod_rewrite going in and the hoops you need to jump going out ensures that most people just stick with the defaults. Directions is the path that’ll rectify that by pulling URL rewriting into Rails, so WEBrick and Apache will share the same format and it’ll be possible to handle both in and out in a coherent fashion. Nicholas Seckar is leading a development effort guided by a design from Dave Thomas.
  • Packaging: Instiki has had great success with the OS X native .app format. We want to enable all Rails applications to have push-button package outputs to .app, .exe, and one-file scripts for the rest of ‘nix. The rise of SQLite3 will make this even easier (thanks to Jeremy Kemper for the adapter and Jamis Buck for the bindings) to have self-contained applications. Marcel Molina is leading the development on the one-file scripts that’ll serve as the foundation for the native compilations.
  • Web Service Dispatcher: XML-RPC and SOAP could easily be supported by the same controllers and models as the rest of the application if the calls were translated into controller calls. That’s what the new WebServiceDispatchers will do.
  • Caching & Performance: One of the easiest ways to deal with performance is to start caching, so that’s what we’ll do. There’s a lot of different schemes to pursue and that’s exactly what we’ll do. From full-page caching that sidesteps Rails to per-request model caching to integration with MemCached. Lots of opportunities to take what’s already there and make it much faster with a bit of sprinkled caching. Getting a good benchmarking suite together is part of that. Florian Weber has promised us the later since 0.7, so he expect a delivery any day now :)
  • Documentation: I really do need to fulfill my obligation to renew the introduction video and accompany it with more. On top of that, we’ll need to start the long rumored Rails User Manual. We’re already off to a fantastic start, though, with great API documentation and quite a few guides and tutorials. The last push will round off the polished feel a lot, though.

Five major areas of improvement. I hope we’re able to reach all of these goals by mid February or early March. But there’s no inherent pressure. We’ll continue to release updates at the current staggering rate and when its ready to ring the bell of 1.0, we’ll ring the bell.

Marten opens Epilog for Trac'ing

Alongside EliteJournal, Epilog is the other major weblog application development going on with Rails. Marten is set to release a new version running off the 0.9.x series of Rails in “…a week, two at most”, but you can already Trac along as Marten just set up shop at dev-epilog.standardbehaviour.com.

For a small taste of what’s to come, Mark IJbema is blogging using the in-development version of Epilog. Note the small promising details like human times in the form of “just after midnight”. Promising stuff!

Playing Active Records on MS SQLServer and DB2

The work originally started by Joey Gibson on the MS SQLServer adapter around RubyConf is now finally nearing completion. The adapters have been charged with adding the LIMIT-condition and that made it possible to do the “SELECT TOP X” style that SQL Server needs without dirty hacks.

So the current sqlserver adapter in Subversion is actually quite functional and passing almost all of the unit tests. DeLynn Berry has accepted the responsibility for tying up the loose ends.

At the same time, Maik Schmidt has been busy finishing the DB2 adapter, which is already available as a patch on Trac. This baby is passing everything but the DB-specific OFFSET test, so you should happily be able to use that right away.

So it looks like Active Record will finally see the adoption of new adapters in the next release. On the horizon is a long-awaited Oracle adapter by Jim Weirich and a FrontBase adapter by Eric Ocean.

Oh, and I almost forgot, Jeremy Kemper has uploaded the first patch for the changes needed to make the SQLite adapter compatible with the new SQLite3 bindings by Jamis Buck.