Backpack brings Ajax into Rails

Backpack is the third application from 37signals that’s now available online. Just like Basecamp came birth to Rails itself, Ta-da drove great features like caching, Backpack has been the main driver for a lot of interesting developments in Rails. Most visibly is the incredibly strong support for Ajax interfaces that Rails now sports.

The innerHTML approach with server-side fragment rendering was developed specifically for Backpack and has now been extracted for general use in Rails. It’s joyful to see that the Ajax integration in Rails has caught the interest of so many developers and 37signals is especially thankful for the work of people like Sam Stephenson, Thomas Fuchs, Sean Treadway, and others.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be taking advantage of even more of the Ajax innovation happening in Rails, such as the upload progress indicator and the Google Suggest-style searching. In the meanwhile, do checkout Backpack as the currently best example of the wonders of Ajax in Rails.

Hiring a Rails developer for Brisbane, Australia

Dan Sketcher from Tangelix is looking for a Rails developer to help them build a book engine down under:

We’re looking for someone in Brisbane, Australia who’s keen on Rails and has a bit of experience with it, along with PostgreSQL, XML, and general web programming. We’ve got a booking engine to build – which we’ve had experience with before. It’s not simple, but it’s a known domain with a solid user requirements spec and sitemap that will be agreed upon before commencement. No graphical skills are needed, we just need the business logic to drive it. An onsite coder is preferred, but the right person would be alright to work remotely. It’s anticipated that there will be a team of two developers, one of which is me :) If it all sounds good, send your resume to jobs at tangelix dot com.

habtm.com: It\'s all about code

Courtenay is blogging about Rails at habtm.com (awesome domain name, geek points for spotting the connection). Lots of people are blogging about Rails, though, and I welcome them all. What’s somewhat special about Courtenay’s blog is that it focuses especially on posting useful snippets. When he figures out how to do something neat in Rails, there’s a snippet. Great work, keep it up!

Typo 2.0 is out in force

It took me a week, but dammit, I’ll trout the horn of fanfare none the less: Typo 2.0 is out! Typo is that little weblogging engine that Tobias started while he was waiting for a client in a coffee shop, but which has now attracted an entire team around it. And boy, is it ever looking great!

It seems that I’m out of excuses for still running this blog on WordPress. I can’t wait to port it over to Typo within the foreseeable future.

"Two hours later my .NET career was over"

Tim Case was playing the .NET game when one destined Saturday afternoon sent him a wakeup call:

Last November one Saturday afternoon I was pissed off and frustrated trying to get NHibernate to work with my middle-tier C# layer, and in the midst of my difficulties I did what all great people do when faced with tough problems and hardship… I procrastinated by surfing the net. From Prag Dave’s site I made it the the rails site and in attempt to further prove that techology lies I ran the 10 minute intro video…

10 minutes later, I couldn’t believe what I had just saw, so I started doing the Rails academy tutorials…

One hour later, my jaw was on the ground as I stared at my todo application running from MySQL so I started investigating rails further…

Two hours later my .NET career was over. It literally happened that afternoon. I no longer had any interest in NHibernate or even seeing Visual Studio ever again.

Tim Case also wrote an interesting article called “Where the Rails came from…” that traces the influences of Kent Beck (TDD), Eric Evans (DDD), Martin Fowler (PoEAA), Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt (Pragmatic Programmer), and a lot more. We’ll see if we can get that online shortly.

Seeing is believing, part 342

Tobias Luekte gave Medsphere where Todd Berman works a visit and quickly turned doubt into believing:

Tobias, in one day, with rails was able to put together a webapp for us that would normally take a week at least to write. For even more coolness points, it used ajax where it made sense, and did a full postback where that made sense. It was absolutely amazing to see someone use this. Up until then, I was kinda doubtful about rails, but now I am totally sold. As far as a web application platform, I can’t think of a single thing better.

This was just one of a few stops Tobias made on his trip down to Orange County. A trip that was as much about personal believing as convincing others:

Its great to talk about rails with people face to face and Its even greater to see the adoption rate increase so radical and even make it into new industries daily. Its exciting times and It will only get better. Rails is where its at.

Fixing Ruby on OS X Tiger

Apple has done a great thing by including Ruby 1.8.2 in OS X 10.4, but unfortunately they stumbled just as they were to cross the finish line. Tiger has some deficiency that prevents it from installing native extensions properly. But there is quick room for remedy.

You can either grab the cool new Ruby on Rails installer for Tiger that fixes Ruby itselfs and installs RubyGems, FCGI, and Rails in one fell swoop. Or if you already have stuff like RubyGems and the Rails installed, you can just grab this correction gem:

sudo gem install fixrbconfig
sudo fixrbconfig

Curtsey of the RubyGems team.

"This era' true revolution in web development"

Phu Ly is a software developer working out of London that seems to quite fancy the Rails:

Ruby on Rails has to be the one of the real breakthroughs in Web Development and indeed, development itself…

This is no hyperbole. Far more so than Ajax, this is this era’s true revolution in web development. The majesty of the framework is sufficient for me to make a long term commitment to Ruby; In fact, calling RoR a Ruby framework understates things; it’s probably the killer app for Ruby itself.

Thanks, Phu.

Kwartz 2.0 brings more templating choice to Rails

Kwartz is a templating system for Ruby built on the concept of Independence of Presentation Logic, which bans loops, conditions, and similar constructs from the template files themselves. Instead that logic is added in a second pass based on ids in the original template.

With the latest 2.0 release, Kwartz is now available as a templating option for Rails. Makoto Kuwata used the hooks created by Jamis Buck to follow the conventions of instance-to-template variables and even allowed the use of helpers.

Another familiar template language for Ruby, Amrita, is also on the way with Rails integration. Rails will still only ship with ERb and Builder for the default options, but Kwartz and soon Amrita are getting very easy to inject as an alternative. Great work, guys!

Got design chops? lighttpd needs them!

A star is rising as an alternative, lighter-weight web server that doesn’t start with an A and ends with ‘pache. It’s called lighttpd and they actually maintain their FastCGI bindings, which makes them a promising future heir to the crown of Rails Favorite Application Server. But while Jan and friends work on the code, they need your design chops to make them look good doing so.

In short, they need a logo. And who better to ask than the design-savvy Rails community? Our thoughts exactly. So here comes the plea: If you got the skills, please make an entry in the logo competition for lighttpd.