Cartographer: Effortless Google Maps in Rails

Courtenay and bousquet are behind Cartographer that allows you to integrate Google Maps in your Ruby on Rails application with no effort. A few API tastes:

<%= gmap(:mapname=>"my_map", :width=>"50", :height=>"120") %>

<%= gmap(:width=>"500", :height=>"500", :type=>:satellite, :point=>[-122.14944, 37.441944]) %>

<%= gmap(:mapname=>"foo", :white_div=>{:background_color=>'black', :height=>'40'}) %>

Pretty nifty stuff! See also bousquet’s announcement.

Why Ryan Tomayko switched to Ruby on Rails

Ryan Tomayko is a long-term Python guy in search of a web-development platform for his small tech company. His evaluation first went along the lines of safety vs freedom languages where he rejected the previous .NET course and chose to focus on the LAMP stack. Not too surprising for a Python guy, but his next choice was:

I knew that Rails had the Basically Good, Basically Complete Web Framework with a Huge Community – Python will have one too. But I lost it when I found that Ruby has a standard build tool in Rake, a standard documentation tool that meets my needs in RDoc, and that Gems were everywhere. I had assumed that these would be no further developed than their analogs in the Python world.

The long and short of it is that my evaluation turned into what looks to be a long term relationship. I’m committed to my responsibilities on the Python projects I have going right now and I have a ton of existing applications and utilities written in Python that aren’t going anywhere but Rails ganked 80% of my future code somehow.

Back in the day when I came over from PHP, I had many of the same reservations regarding tools and libraries. That surely, Ruby would have less and worse than the reigning web champion. Surprise, surprise: I didn’t. And the rest is history.

Get taggable like all the cool kids

Demetrius Nunes has a very cool acts-as mixin ready for you in a single line. It allows you to do stuff like:

class Photo < ActiveRecord::Base
elephant = Photo.find(4437)
elephant.tag 'zoo animals nature'
elephant.tagged_by?('urban') # => false
elephant.tags.size # => 3
elephant.tag_names => [ 'zoo', 'animals', 'nature' ]

Without any real effort at all. Neato. It’s pending as a patch too, so it’ll most likely make it into the next version.

How Ruby on Rails can ease the life of managers

Justin Gehtland examines five benefits of Ruby on Rails to managers. He believes that not only does Rails change the game for developers, it also holds a significant impact on their managers. It includes a good argument for why Rails isn’t pursuing high-level components:

I just mean to say that not everything needs to be reusable. And it has been my experience that teams can actually move faster on most web projects starting from scratch with Rails than trying to cobble together existing components of some other platform.

Lots of managers have already taken the shift that Rails brings to heart. Gehtland’s article help explain why that’s happening and why more of it will.

Sam Ruby takes Rails to Sri Lanka FOSSSL

We suspected a pattern was emerging as IBM’s Sam Ruby first at OSCON reenacted the original joke from etech, then posted about the Rails Confidence Builder, and finally combined that work with Atom using acts_as_tree. Yes, something was in the cards.

And Sam has now played another power-hand in favor of Ruby on Rails:

Next month, I will be presenting at FOSSSL ’05 in Colombo, Sri Lanka; first a keynote on Friday entitled The Case for Dynamic Languages, then a tutorial on Saturday entitled Riding Ruby-On-Rails.

That’s awesome! If I didn’t say it earlier, let me repeat: Welcome to the party, Sam. It’s great to have you here. We’re honored. Now just one tiny nitpick: “Ruby on Rails”, not “Ruby-On-Rails” :)

Don't look at Rails if you have to do .NET

Sam gives a word of caution to fellow .NET developers regarding Ruby on Rails:

Once you write an application in MonoRail you’ll never want to go back to regular ASP.NET. Just don’t look at Ruby On Rails. As I read on another blog: If you haven’t by this point, then don’t. It may lead to depression, despair, etc when you realize you’ve been writing two or three times as much code as you needed to get the job done, and Rails makes anything else look like spaghetti code no matter how clean it is. :D

A guide for changing programming languages

So what’s Duane Gran to do? He clearly has the hots for Ruby on Rails:

If your group develops web-based applications, you need to know about Ruby on Rails. It isn’t magic, but spend a day with it and you will probably agree that it is the closest thing to magic you’ve seen in IT in the last few years. If this sounds like a lot of bravado, it is, but mine is just one of many voices in the crowd praising Ruby on Rails. Elegant and robust systems are built with Rails in a fraction of the time spent on previous platforms.

But how can you translate that into changing the programming language and platform for your company? That’s what his post A guide for changing programming languages is all about. The arguments and approach that he and Erik Hatcher used to their shop around from using Java to going with Ruby on Rails.

RailsAppHosting partners with TextDrive

RailsAppHosting is an incredibly promising turn-key hosting environment that makes it a snap to setup a new application complete with database and subversion repository through a web interface. What won me over to its lure was the video of using the system. Man, that looks easy!

And now the team is hooking up with Rails-hoster extraordinaire TextDrive, so you get the easy of their interface with the backing of the TextDrive team. Can’t wait to see it go on the air.

10 Reasons Rails Does Pluralization

In the interest of world peace, here follows 10 explanations to why Rails does pluralization. Pick the one that’ll make you the most calm:

  • A point of argument: Pluralization is really meant as a long-running practical joke instituted to cause a good flame-thread every once in a while. There’s nothing like the fresh smell of napalm in the morning and all communities need a cleansing now and then. It makes it possible for us to be so ultra-nice the rest of the time without going suicidal.
  • Gives a sense of accomplishment: Since the rest of Rails is so easy, we needed to put in at least one piece that would feel like an accomplishment when you finally learned the ins and outs of it.
  • Love it or leave it: Pluralization is a posterchild for the entire philosophy of Rails. If you can’t deal with it either by acceptance or by turning it off, it saves you a lot of trouble walking away today rather than three months down the road when you learn that Rails is soaked in opinions like this.
  • A rite of passage: Similar to the point of entry, but more profound. Once you accept the true wisdom of pluralization, you will have completed your cultural transformation and become a true Railer. I can count on you know to do any bidding and your path to rails-core as been made.
  • Them against us: In order for communities to yield, they need controversial arguments where they can clearly take side and talk about “the others”. It makes the group tighter and happier.
  • A tough problem: Since Rails is so bent on solving all the easy problems and with the least amount of energy, we needed a hard problem, like the English language, to tickle us as we work on the otherwise mundane details of creating a web-application framework.
  • The learning curve: Since David is not a native English speaker, he needed some way to practice those irregular inflections. What better way than to embed the challenge in every day software.
  • It’s the color of the bike-shed: When you enter Rails, it can seem like an overwhelming experience that almost sucks you in. A good way to reaffirm your identity, and that you don’t just accept anything, is to complain about the color of the bikeshed. You now did your part of scepticism and can partake in the lovefest without feeling like a fanboy.
  • Beautiful code leads to happy programmers: One of my prime inspirations for still doing programming is the possibility of creating beautiful code. I consider the singular/plural splits as employeed in Rails to constitute beauty. Removing it would make Rails appear less beautiful and that would make me sad.
  • David is insane: This is the summary category. If you found none of the others to fit, just ascribe pluralization to insanity. If you like the rest of Rails, you can even put the positive spin that “all genuises are a little crazy”, and if you don’t, you can use this point to prove that Rails really is evil.