IBM developerWorks introduces Rails with high praise

The top story on IBM developerWorks is none other than Fast-track your Web apps with Ruby on Rails. It’s a very nice, quick overview by example of why “Ruby on Rails is taking Web development by storm”, as David Mertz writes. He also has a particularly pleasing conclusion:

The best thing about Rails is that it fosters a whole “Rails way of thinking,” since it comes complete with all the supporting code you need. This is a big plus over other toolkits and frameworks that just give raw materials to work with. Rails development offers you a clear path from a half-formed idea to a fully functioning Web application.

Those conventions are more than just a better solution to configuration, it’s also a path through the jungle. Or a highway. Ah, no. A rail road. Yes, a rail road.

Ajax on Rails from O'Reilly (and high five from Slashdot!)

Curt Hibbs just have keeps delivering the good stuff and O’Reilly wisely keeps serving it up. The new article is called Ajax on Rails. It builds upon his two earlier articles about getting rolling and puts the focus on introducing the sugar-coated sweetness that is the Ajax support of Rails. There’s even a good rundown of what Ajax is and where it came from.

As has become the norm, Hibbs also secured Rails its fifth Slashdotting. Keep ‘em coming, Curt (and O’Reilly editors!).

Happy thoughts on IRC

Some times you just need an evening smile and IRC can deliver just that. Glancing over at #rubyonrails, I caught this one from matram:

Rails is the best! I was just on the phone with a client and made some changes while we were talking without telling her and she freaked and was so excited she raved about it for like ten minutes.

Rails Day ends in triumph with 55 apps!

Rails Day had a great turnout with 55(!) projects crossing the finish line. That’s a lot of interesting code generated in no time at all. It’s so interesting in fact that the developer section on Slashdot just picked it up — hi guys!

Now for the judging. We’ll be announcing a week’s worth of slip on that considering the massive amount of projects to look through, but you’ll have plenty of projects to keep you entertained in the mean time.

Congratulations to all who finished.

FCGI-powered Rails on Windows 2003

Just because you’re forced to run Windows at work shouldn’t preclude you from getting jiggy with Ruby on Rails. The Windows crowd on the Rails mailing list have been working over time putting the pieces of the puzzle together and Boris have made a very nice write-up of how to repeat it.

Nice work indeed! Now. Can we get Rails running on my Sony PSP :)?

Jamis and Jeremy bestowed with commit rights

While we’ve had restricted parts of the Rails repository available for committing by others than yours truly (Leon on AWS, Sam on prototype), the trunk has been closely guarded until this point. But it’s time to share the load, if only a little. So I hereby announce that Jamis Buck (minam) and Jeremy Kemper (bitsweat) has been bestowed with commit rights.

Jamis is already the main driver of Action Mailer, my follow programmer at 37signals, and the creator of lots of Ruby open source software. He was also one of the very first people to ever submit a patch to Rails as he did the first implementation of has_and_belongs_to_many. He is indeed one of the best programmers I know.

Jeremy has proved his invaluable worth for Rails time and again. Next to myself, he has by far the most patches accepted in the trunk. Which often has included extensive improvements to the health of the framework in form of refactorings and expanded test coverage. Jeremy has also just accepted a full-time position with CD Baby, so he’ll continue to be working all Rails, all the time.

Much congratulations to both of them. It’s a little tough relinquishing the keys to treasury, but it’s time, and I don’t think I could have picked a better pair to inaugurate the expansion of the commit group.

James Duncan Davidson embraces Rails

James Duncan Davidson and Mike Clark have been working together on a commercial Rails project for a few weeks now. And while Mike has long been singing the praises of Rails (much appreciated!), I’ve been quite curious to hear James’ thoughts. I’m very flattered on behalf of the Rails team to quote the following:

Rails is the most well thought-out web development framework I’ve ever used. And that’s in a decade of doing web applications for a living. I’ve built my own frameworks, helped develop the Servlet API, and have created more than a few web servers from scratch. Nobody has done it like this before.

He goes on to talk about how Rails is of course not perfect, but that he really likes the Convention over Configuration and says “…if I never see another damn XML configuration file in my life, I’d be happy as a pig in mud”.

I can’t wait to see how all these great Java minds are going to unleash their ideas on the platform. There’s a melting pot brewing with the influx of programmers coming from PHP, Java, .NET, and other environments as well as all the designers picking it. Great things in the making.

Appreciating the functional testing in Rails

Jonathan Nolen and his buddy David has been having a lot of fun practicing eXtreme Programming with Rails over the weekend. He’s most impressed by the support for functional testing:

With Rails, however, you can easily functional testing — where they go, how they’re routed to get there, and whether or not they have the data you expect when they finally render. And it’s done in a dead-simple way. No Cactus, no mock container, no extra framework to install. It’s all built right in. Now, it won’t cover everything — browser differences, javascript, etc. But it covers so much more than we’ve been able to manage in our Java project.

Thanks, Jonathan. We’ve tried really hard to make testing so easy that it feels like fun, not a chore. Now that you’ve checked out functional tests, do dig deeper into the great mock support in Rails.

Beta book: Agile Web Development with Rails

The first Rails book is out — in beta. Agile Web Development with Rails is not scheduled to hit hardcopy before early August, but people need the information now. What to do? Let people have a peak into the kitchen and get a taste of the messy reality of pre-editing. So if you can live with spelling mistakes, bad page numbering, and possibly technical errors, you can have a taste at the master tome of the first wave of Rails books.

It’s more than 500 pages of tutorial and reference on the Rails framework. We build a complete e-commerce application and go through all the sub-frameworks of Rails. There’s even a good 30-paged chapter on how to take your application online. Which web server to pick, how to install FastCGI, and all that jazz.

Buy the beta book now and you get the final polished copy “for free”. We’d be double happy if you bought the combo-pack, which also includes the final hardcopy book — but doesn’t hand all the cash to distributors and Amazon.

The Pragmatic Bookshelf has a lot more Rails books lurking under the surface. The success of this first title will be a good indicator for how many gets the “go”. I’m sure other publishers are watching this thing closely too in order to determine their involvement. So let’s make this the home run title that grows the market above and beyond.