Calming Anil Dash's concerns of shiny technology

Anil Dash from Six Apart is worried that Blinksale is getting attention for all the wrong reasons. That just because it’s using Ruby on Rails, features snappy Ajax, and is built by a small team it should be inherently deserving of attention. Christian from xml-blog tries his hand at explaining to Anil why it is indeed exciting, at least in regards to Rails:

What I will say is that I understand why Rails/Ajax enthusiasts get so excited about every new product built on Rails that sees the light of day. First, it’s well documented that few IT projects ever make it to production. Second, once you’ve actually worked with Rails, you tend to fall in love with it. This is not some sort of new-kid-on-the-block infatuation; it’s a kind of thankful love born of the countless hours Rails shaves off your development time letting you concentrate on the very thing Anil is concerned about: building apps that meet a need or solve a real-world problem. Lastly, it’s a bit of cheerful exuberance at seeing that mere mortals are indeed able to complete a plan-build-deploy cycle for a real-world Rails application in short time and have it withstand all the traffic that invariably will be thrown at it.

To add my own two cents, I think it’s very exciting to see Blinksale go live using the technology and approach to software development that we’re championing at 37signals. It shows that others are more than able to use our tools and thoughts to achieve good things, which again encourages the belief that Rails and Getting Real are indeed not specific to a single crew — but that you can use them too to similar effect.

Oh, and Blinksale does work very nicely for sending out invoices, too ;). 37signals already sent our first real invoice through the system.

Reusing parts of database.yml with YAML trick

The RedHanded _why features a neat YAML trick today that lets you reuse parts of the database.yml configuration file. So instead of specifying the same login over in all three environments, you just do it once and merge. Nifty!

Blinksale: Do your Rails invoices in a Rails app

Now that you’ve made it out of the ghetto and joined the hundreds of professional Rails programmers making a living enjoying your work life, you’ll need an invoice system to match. Blinksale might just be what you need. It’s a snazzy Ruby on Rails application by Firewheel Design that follows the 37signals school of design with less software and developed under strong inspiration from the Get Real process.

Recho looking for help in San Diego, CA

Recho “…is a new way to discover and recommend music, movies, and other media” and the team behind are looking for Ruby on Rails developers to help them build it. It’s still largely a volunteer operation, but the two guys behind it hopes to soon make it much more than that. Have a look at the join our team notice if you’re interested.

Deliver better and enjoy more for the same amount

Spin Technologies traded in their ASP.NET/C# tools for a fresh set of Ruby on Rails to develop part of their Tasting Australia site. They liked the experience:

Well, in the ASP.Net, C# world, a lot of your time is spent writing code that tells your application how to talk to the database (Data Access Layers, XML Config files and all sorts of ugliness). Once you have that built (and tested), you need to created objects and controls to store that data. Then you need to write Stored Procedures to access the data in the SQL Server. And so on.

All of this is both time consuming and stultifyingly dull. Because you don’t have to do any of this in Rails (well, you do have to create your objects, but that’s easy peasy) you get to spend more time thinking about the application, how it works, and how to make it easier to use.

This means two things: Firstly, we can deliver a better website for the same amount of money, and secondly, we get to have more fun while we’re doing it, because we are continually astounded by Ruby and Rails.

Happy birthday, Rails!

Rails was released one year ago. Can you imagine than its been that long? Or that short, really, considering how far we’ve come. What do you think it’ll look like in a year?

Buy the language and framework, get practices for free!

John Nunemaker was already “happy” developing application in Cold Fusion and PHP, so why bother learning a new language like Ruby? Or so went his thinking, until he saw the new 15 minute intro movie:

Within three to four minutes of viewing the intro, my jaw had dropped and I was beginning to giggle and snort as only a geek can. My mind began to race and when I say race, I mean I almost had a melt down. It looked so easy. I cleared my already empty Friday night schedule (Steph was shopping with her mom) and decided to go through a tutorial and give RoR a shot.

John went on to create his first simple Rails application in just an hour. It’s not only serving as an experience to get to know Ruby on Rails, but also a gentle way to be introduced to great practices for web development. Like using Model-View-Control.

I really like the idea of Ruby on Rails being a way of introducing great practices and patterns to a larger pool of developers who might not be working with them already. By lowering the learning curve of the infrastructure, the good development manners are much easier to sell.

Less infrastructure, more business logic

David from Canada is working on “…a web application to support restaurant/pub/bar managers in their efforts to schedule staff efficiently” using Ruby on Rails. He recounts his experience:

Rails, and the Ruby language, gets completely out of my way. It lets me devote nearly all of my brain power to the business problem that I am trying to solve, rather than how to solve it in the language/framework/tool that I’m using. Instead of worrying about how to implement user logins and access control, database access, and other problems that, frankly, add nearly no value to the customer, I am able to focus on solving their problems. This is where Rails has really shone for me.

This is exactly what the Agile Web Development with Rails book tries to get across too. Ruby on Rails brings you closer to the customer and her business concerns because there’s just so much less boring infrastructure to busy your mind with.

Moving from Cold Fusion to Ruby on Rails

Greg from Social Twister wants to hire Ruby on Rails developers to help the company move various Cold Fusion applications to their new platform. Greg writes about CF vs RoR:

For my fellow CFers out there, I’ll simply say that I still love CF, but Rails Rocks. My CF code was written very similar to the way Rails works now so it made a lot of sense. We’re planning to open source at least one major part of our system and that’s going to require something that’s freely available unfortunately.