Allowing developers to use the tools they love

Hank Roar is the customer on a project being developed by ThoughtWorker Obie. He’s quite pleased with the progress:

Never under estimate the importance of allowing developers to use the tools they love. I don’t personally know Obie well, but I think he feels passionate about Ruby and Rails. This, coupled with the fact that the simulators will not go to my ultimate users, has resulted in the simulators being fun to use, not just simple data entry forms. The executive sponsor was very impressed with the simulator. I think the sponsor really enjoyed how much fun it was to use.

Snippets meets tagging

Peter Cooper has just launched Snippets. It’s a paste site that injects the wonderful idea of tagging into the mix. Peter announced it with:

Less than two days ago I had an idea. I come across lots of useful snippets of code for the command line, Perl, Ruby, HTML, CSS, whatever, and store them in a big text file. This was hard to organize, so I figured it’d make sense to store them in a del.icio.us style tagged system.

So off I set, and some 28 hours later (including sleep), the system is launched! Welcome to Snippets. Enjoy. More proof of the power of Rails!

Another Rails consultant breaks out on his own

Congratulations to Scott Barron for pursuing the life of the independent consultant. Especially so, of course, because he’ll be doing it as a Ruby on Rails specialist. We already have a good handful of people following that round with great success. People like Tobias Luekte and Jeremy Kemper are overloaded with requests for work.

So basically, we need more warm bodies to follow up on all the leads we’re seeing. Now is definitely a good time to build a name for yourself in the Rails world and start staking your claim to the many opportunities bubbling up.

The best way to demonstrate your skills as a Ruby on Rails consultant worth his salt is to get intimate with the source, start contributing patches (we have lots of faults to hunt down if you need an easy way in), and create a fully functional showcase application.

Scott is doing Elite Journal, Scratch, Recipe Box, and Elite Album. Tobias is cooking with Hieraki and Typo. Sam is behind the Javascript-engine Prototype for the new Ajax stuff.

In other words, it’s a brave new world of opportunities. The streets a covered with gold and honey is raining from the sky. Fortune and fame awaits. If we had the tech for it, there would be a flying billboard saying:

A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure

The time is now!

(How’s that for an enthusiastic rally cry)

Typo gets prettier URLs, Ajax, AWS, cheap hosting

Tobias Lütke’s blogging engine Typo is storming ahead with good stuff lately. He recently implemented even-prettier URLs and Ajaxed the comments section. Now Patrick Lenz has brought the web service integration into the world of Action Web Service.

The metaWeblog, MT, and the Blogger APIs have all been implemented. And Patrick has been so nice as to walk us through the entire procedure.

If any of this has made you hot for Typo, Planet Argon is offering Typo hosting for as low as $3/month. And Patrick also did a migration script for moving from MT 3.x to Typo.

It appears that my excuses for still running Loud Thinking on Movable Type and this blog on WordPress are growing even thinner. Expect a transition in the not-too-distant future.

Jon Udell discovers Ruby on Rails

Jon Udell discovers Ruby on Rails and shows special affection for Active Record in Separating code from its environment:

I’ve only scratched the surface of Ruby, but when I recently started a project that required a Web-based interface to a SQL database, I reached for Ruby on Rails, because I’d heard it’s a great way to automate the tedious chores of Web development. If there is another object-relational mapper that is as powerful and yet as lightweight as Ruby on Rails, I haven’t seen it.

Addressing "bogus statements" about Rails

Xavier Defrang has been following the heated arguments about Rails for some time and got fed up with a bunch of “…bogus statements (FUD?) and issues raised in the TSS discussion”. So he went ahead with a summary of the claims and why he believed them to be without merit.

I particularly like the code snippet for putting the “code embedded in HTML is evil” nonsense to rest:

Of course, you could even write that snippet as a single readable line:

<%= @collection.collect { |item| content_tag "li", item.some.nested.property } %>

Code embedded in HTML is only evil when you’re not using a programming language suitable for the purpose and when you don’t apply sound principles of abstractions.

Rails mentioned in Reuters story on open source

The rise of small outfits building big things on constrained budgets is the theme of a Reuters story carried by Yahoo! News. It includes a quote by Tim O’Reilly and talks among others about Odeo. And of particular interest on these parts about their use of Ruby on Rails:

Evan Williams, who helped create Blogger software and later sold it to Google, is working with a small group of developers in San Francisco, to build Odeo, a highly anticipated new application due out in the next few weeks. Odeo relies on a freely available set of simple yet powerful database programing tools known as Ruby on Rails.