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.

'Broke down, saw the light, whatever you want to call it'

Rails is certainly going through rapid improvement. Marcel Molina used to joke on #rubyonrails that he was so busy refactoring his application to take advantage of all the new goodies coming out that he didn’t have time to do any real work.

The rapid improvement is increasing the number of people for whom Rails hits the sweet spot, though. Kellan Elliot-McCrea from LaughingMeme writes:

Broke down, saw the light, whatever you want to call it, but I finally whipped up my first Rails app last night.

When I first looked at Rails a few months ago, I liked what I saw but was frustrated by the extreme magicalness of the framework which baked a number of assumptions into your app I wasn’t willing to concede. Turns out Rails hit the sweet spot of being good enough, the sweet spot where people pile on and the framework has improved rapidly.

Did you look at Rails a few months ago and decided it wasn’t you yet? Perhaps it is now. is getting redesigned!

I’m exceedingly happy to see the rapid progress of the team appointed to redesign The old website served us well, but this redesign is going to make it even easier to declare 2005 The Year of Ruby.

While both designs are great, I’ve already fallen in love with John’s “Ruby Red” 3.0. The gem is beautiful, the composition is great, and hey, it features Rails on the front page ;). Nix the scoped search into just a single search box and add the participation stuff from clean and we’re definitely rolling.

Congrats to _why and the rest of the team behind this!

The story behind Rails at O'Reilly

Jason Fried from 37signals talks about the origins of Rails with Marc Hedlund from O’Reilly:

Ruby on Rails is the open source web application framework we extracted from Basecamp. When we built Basecamp we didn’t know we were building Rails at the same time, but that’s exactly how it happened. Basecamp came first; Rails was born from Basecamp. Basecamp was the divine chicken, Rails was the egg.

I had some natural hesitation about using Ruby at first (“What the #@!* is Ruby?”“Why don’t we just use PHP—it served us well before?”), but David cogently made the case and I bought it. I’m thrilled with the results.

I’m sure a few of the readers here are thankful that Jason decided to trust yours truly and bet on Ruby :)