Creator of Blinksale and IconBuffet interviewed

GodBit has an interview with Scott Raymond about his use of Ruby on Rails in Blinksale and IconBuffet. I particularly enjoyed this bit about the opinionated software:

If you pay attention when you’re using Rails, you can hear its authorial voice. The Rails community calls the notion “opinionated software,” and people either love it or hate it. I love it. For me, working on Rails is sort of like having really smart, like-minded coworkers. It is inspiring, motivating and energizing.

ThoughtWorks wins big contract on Rails

Obie Fernandez has a great story on how ThoughtWorks recently won a $800,000 bid for a critical application against another consultancy. They probably do that all the time, but the interesting part about this particular bid is that they made it powered by Ruby on Rails. The other consultancy bid a million dollars for a Java-based system, but the CIO picked the Rails solution from ThoughtWorks.

So saving $200,000 was obviously a big advantage of the Rails bid, but more interesting is the second-level concerns. Obie writes:

Analysts from Gartner and Forrester and even members of his personal grapevine are all abuzz about Ruby… Ruby may not be a corporate standard (yet), but don’t even get him started on his organization’s dismal track record building J2EE applications… The risk of late delivery is much, much scarier to him than proceeding with a relatively unproven technology that the whole world seems to be talking about as the successor to Java.

This story comes hot on the heels of Stuart Halloway’s exposure of how Rails makes it possible for his consultancy to win accounts over Java solutions due to higher productivity. As he put it:

Developers have more fun, make more money, and customers get better products cheaper and faster.


UPDATE: The story is indeed “fictional”, but with the very deep underlining of “inspired by real events”. Obie has no permission to speak on specific deals of ThoughtWorks, so names have been withheld to protect the real involved parties and the exact figures, estimates, and so on.

.NET'ers tell Scoble why they left for Rails

Microsoft’s Robert Scoble is concerned about the exodus of developers like Phil Ripperger that are leaving .NET for Ruby on Rails. Phil put it like this:

Scoble, as a web developer who is now doing freelance work for a living, my framework of choice is Ruby on Rails. Mostly for the reasons listed here. And also because Microsoft’s web development technologies have lost their appeal. I can remember being blown away by ASP.NET when I first saw it. I now feel even more strongly about Rails. And when I talk to businesses and friends who are developers, I make sure they know about Rails.

Sure, I know about the new Visual Studio, ASP.NET 2.0, the new SharePoint, and the new SQL Server. And I just don’t care. Microsoft needs to capture some of the 360 magic and use it on their web development technology or they will continue to lose developers like me.

Scoble is inviting people to tell him and Microsoft why .NET and family just isn’t doing it for them any more. If you have a good story to share, do let them know.

How picking Rails over Java affects bidding

Stuart Halloway explains in numbers how picking Rails over Java affects the bids he puts in for consulting jobs. Since the actual programming is only one part of the bid, Rails naturally only has a chance to affect that part. But still, the approach that Stuart takes in differentiating between the two is quite interesting.

For applications that Justin consider “within the sweet spot of Rails”, the bid will usually be 30-50% lower. For stuff outside that sweet spot, the bid will still be about 10% lower than the equivalent Java one.

New book: Rails Recipes by Chad Fowler

Chad Fowler threw off his Enterprise shackles a while back and ventured into a new and better life doing Ruby on Rails full time. As the co-founder of RubyCentral, co-creator of RubyGems, and co-organizer of RubyConf and RailsConf, Chad is seriously well positioned to teach you a thing or two about Ruby and Rails.

And that’s exactly what Rails Recipes is all about. Small, concrete guides to doing specific things with Ruby on Rails. And at projected 350 pages, it’s going to be packed with goodies for sure. I’ll be working together with Chad to ensure that the recipes include a good number of 37signals favorites, so you can benefit from all the tips and tricks that make Basecamp, Backpack, and the rest of the suite sing.

Chad is aiming to have Rails Recipes out as a beta book on February 1st.

Rails training in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle

Marcel Molina’s Ruby on Rails Bootcamp was a sell-out smash hit at the Big Nerd Ranch a while back, so they’ve reeled him back in for another show going March 6th through 10th. Last time, Marcel even showed off lots of fancy new 1.1 features even before the official 1.0 release was dry. So you know its bound to be good next time as well.

But if Atlanta or a whole week isn’t your game, Geoffrey Grosenbach is doing a 3-day Rails training course in Seattle on January 23rd and Los Angeles on January 30th. Geoffrey is the man behind the Rails Podcast, Nuby on Rails, and the wonderful sparklines package.

Ruby for Rails: Ruby techniques for Rails developers

David A. Black is a pillar in the Ruby community, a co-founder of RubyCentral, toastmaster at RubyConf, and an all-round awesome Ruby programmer and friend. I’m very pleased to see that Manning went ahead with his “Ruby for Rails” proposal and now advertises the book for release in April.

This is an important book for the growth of Ruby on Rails as a platform. Lots of people are learning Rails first and then diving into Ruby as they need to. This book will target exactly that kind of people. Someone who’s getting into Ruby because of Rails and then wants to know more about the language as they progress.

Manning puts the pitch like this:

A new level of programming power and versatility awaits Ruby on Rails developers who master not only the conventions of Rails but the workings of the Ruby language itself. Because Rails itself and all Rails applications are written in Ruby, the knowledge of Ruby this book gives you will dramatically improve your Rails programming. You’ll gain an intimate understanding of how familiar Rails idioms actually work. And you’ll find expanded possibilities for your applications using custom-written Ruby.

The other great thing about this book is that it’ll most likely be available as a PDF. Like the Pragmatic Bookshelf, Manning has long been pushing ebooks, which means its one of the only publishers I’ll actually pick up titles from on a regular basis. Hopefully “Ruby for Rails” marks just the beginning of a broader selection that goes beyond the almost Java-exclusive focus they’ve had in the past.

So if this sounds intriguing, please do sign up to be alerted of the books release. I’m sure Manning is using interest like that to determine how to proceed with further projects in the Ruby world.