Bla-bla List: Cloning a Rails app in RIFE

Geert Bevin gets an A+ for trying, no doubt about that. In an attempt to hold the fort for Java as the troops are deserting left and right, Geert went away for a few months to contemplate and implement Bla-bla List. A more or less functional clone of Ta-da List done in Laszlo and RIFE (a Java web framework).

With the introduction of Bla-bla, Geert was even so kind as to point out a few security and usability issues with Ta-da, which was promptly resolved. Even kinder, he has put up a Subversion repository with the full source.

I gave it a glance and decided to share a few snippets from Ta-da (which unlike Bla-bla is not open source) to show the difference in how the two implementations deal with the core action: checking off todo items.

While no comparison between two different implementations is going to be perfect, this is as close as it gets. What surprised me the most was the lack of a real domain model. Apparently, the model in Blabla is just a bunch of data containers while the logic is in a service/controller layer. Ouch. I sure don’t hope that procedural excuse for an object-oriented system is par for course with RIFE.

Regardless, this was surely good fun. Geert put a lot of effort into it and a pat on the back for that. Whether this implementation is going to lure any of the deserters back into the camp is more doubtful, though.

P.S.: Geert’s posting includes a doomsday warning that data will be lost on Ta-da if your session expires. That was true for about half an hour, but has since been resolved.

'Ruby on Rails hurts developer productivity'

I tried to warn him, but he wouldn’t listen. Jakob Skjerning, who helped redesign and whom I worked with on Daily Rush, has been sucked into the Rails vortex:

After having gotten used to RoR for a private project or 2, all the web development stuff I do at work feels ugly, clunky and unproductive, simply because I am not using Ruby on Rails for it.

So take my advice: If you are stuck doing legacy work on a legacy system, don’t think about learning RoR – you might never want to go back to work if you do.

So let that be a warning to all of the prospect Rails programmers out there. Be careful what you get started with.

We actually have a thread on feeling dirty about not doing Rails on the mailing list right now. Rick Olson writes:

Going back to ASP.Net development makes me feel dirty. What? I have
to update the stored procedure, the model, the DAL, the form, and
create a new server control just to add a property???

Ruby on Rails tops the Buzz Game

Yahoo! Research Labs has a pretty cool new app out making markets out of buzz called Buzz Game. It uses the Yahoo search engine to identify hot topics and assigns a dollar value based on that. When you sign up, you get $10,000 to trade for an can invest as you see please.

Now the reason this is terribly interesting is of course that they have a Web Application Frameworks market. And as I spotted this, I saw that Rails was already trading at twice the value of number two (Flex) and more than four times the value of Java. Wow!

Puzzled as to what all this would mean, I asked recognized internet entrepreneur Thomas Madsen-Mygdal. As the founder of internet conference Reboot, co-founder of wifi hotshot Organic, and a slew of other companies, I knew he would know. While Rails was trading at $22, he predicted:

I see the core fundamentals in the Rails market taking it to 80 dollars six months. A strong buy recommendation.

Holy moly! That’s a four-fold increase prediction right there. Not one to distrust Thomas, I immediately invested all my starting capital of $10,000. Are you in yet?

Ruby on Rael

You may be afraid, very afraid: Ruby on Rael

(That would be IBM’s Sam Ruby on O’Reilly’s Rael Dornfest)

Ruby Weekly News is alive

Keeping up with the flow of ruby-talk can easily become quite a job, so why not have someone do it for you and just bring you the highlights? That’s exactly what Ruby Weekly News is about. Thanks to Tim Sutherland for getting it going.

Tim O'Reilly mentions Rails at ETech

Tim O’Reilly opened the Emerging Technology conference today with a talk on pattern remixes. Much to our delight, Tim choose to highlight Ruby on Rails during the talk. I don’t have much specifics outside of what few notes the blogosphere has jotted down, but Jeff Clavier blogged the quote as: “Ruby on Rails: being able to develop real-world applications with simple design and almost no code.” Not a bad summary.

If you’re at ETech, don’t forget to check out Jason Fried’s presentation, which follows the form of the one he gave a few days ago with great success at SXSW.

Web-Entwicklung mit Ruby on Rails

Following the announcement of Dave Thomas’ upcoming book Agile Web Development with Rails, comes word of the first German book on Rails. It’s going to be called “Web-Entwicklung mit Ruby on Rails” and is currently being written by Ralf Wirdemann and Thomas Baustert on a publishing deal with Hanser targeting a December/January release.

Ralf Wirdemann introduces the book with:

“Web-Entwicklung mit Ruby on Rails” adresses Web-Developers who are frustrated with the complexity of existing technologies like J2EE. We also hope to get some PHP-people on board who are interested in developing well designed and maintainable web applications.

The book should act as a guide to practical web development with Rails. The book will consist of some basic chapters which introduce the rails development fundamentals. Based on these chapters advanced topics will be covered in subsequent chapters (like domain-driven design or Rails best practices). Another emphasis of the book will be test-driven development with Rails.

And their motivations for writing a book on Rails:

We are Software Developers and Consultants in Hamburg / Germany. The emphasis ouf our work is the development of serverside enterprise software. After several years of J2EE development we’ve discoverd Rails eight months ago and we are enthusiastic on how enjoyable and productive the development of well designed web applications can be

Best of luck, gentlemen. Can’t wait to fill up my shelves with even more titles on Rails.

\'It\'s like your programming back in Assembly\'

Shanti A. Braford is being forced back into PHP after getting jiggy with Ruby on Rails. He’s not liking it one bit:

Programming a web application in PHP feels a lot like reinventing the wheel, after having learned Ruby on Rails… Welcome to the world of a Rails developer who has drunk the Kool-Aid but has gone back to the world of PHP. You’re used to things just working so easily and intuitively, like magic almost, yet they don’t anymore… It’s like your programming back in Assembly after learning a high-level language like Java or something.

With this level of discontent, I sure hope he has deeper reasons for going back than not wanting to make a Ebay WS wrapper (should hardly take more than a few hours, tops) and a responder to a DHTML cropper (RMagick is wonderful).

Is the trade really worth it, Shanti?

'I set out to prove those Rails folks wrong'

Steven R. Baker was “…depressed by web development”, but he also pretty sure that “…sophisticated applications wouldn’t be any easier to build with Rails”. So what did he do? He gave it a try:

So I did what any self-respecting skeptic would do: I set out to prove those Rails folks wrong. I was asked to write a web application for customer and work order management. I decided that this would be a good chance to learn Rails, and prove those Rails folks wrong. Rolling with Ruby on Rails told me that I would write web applications ten times faster using Rails. I prepared a schedule as though I was writing the app with PHP, and quoted my client one quarter of the estimated time (three weeks). In the space of that three weeks I went from having not written a line of Ruby outside of text book examples, to developing a fully functioning (and mostly tested) Rails application for a client.

The borg is at work. Baker finishes off with:

In mid January, I set out to prove those rails folks wrong. Now I’m one of them. Prove me wrong.