It\'s all about the applications

While videos and talk are all nice and good, it’s the applications built that has the power to propel frameworks into stardom. Basecamp has served as a flag bearer for a long time, but with the launch of 43 Things, it’s finally getting some assistance from another high profile public site. Alexander Payne takes note:

43 Things was built on Rails. Rails delights me in portions of my being that I never knew existed, much less were capable of being delighted by a web application framework. My infatuation with Ruby, dormant two long years, has been mightily rekindled by Rails. I really quite genuinely want to drink a beer or 12 with David Heinemeier Hansson.

Sure thing, Alexander. I’ll be in Seattle from the 26th until the 30th. Maybe we can figure out a night out for Rails developers and interested.

But what does "proven" really mean?

Michael J. discusses the obligation of the consultant to pick proven technology for custom jobs, but comes to the conclusion that the question is out of sync. It should focus on potential, not risk. When it does, you start questioning terms like proven:

But what does “proven” really mean? It is important to consider the case where something new takes off fast. At lunch we were specifically discussing Ruby on Rails. Two of us thought it looked pretty good, and one person was thinking about a small test project to check it out. Ruby on Rails has the opportunity to take off quickly because Basecamp was built on it, and everyone who’s used it knows that Basecamp is an awesome product. When they find out it was developed in two months by one guy they cannot believe it. Why only two months? Ruby on Rails, supposedly. Sometimes “new” becomes “mainstream” very quickly. It appears that this could happen to Ruby on Rails this year. That brings with it a host of potential problems, but obsolescence isn’t one of them.

Rails runs through XP Cincinnati

Jim Weirich is a member of the Extreme Programming Cincinnati user group that up until their last meeting was largely a Java gathering. Then something happened as Jim started to show the rest of the group what Rails could do. Mark Windholtz summarized it on their mailing list:

We watched a 10 min Rails video… It blew us away how easy it was to build a minimal web app in 10 minutes. After the video Bill announced that he had a Rails server installed and running. Gerard commented that it took us 2-3 meetings to get Tomcat configured for peoples PCs, while it took Bill about 20 minutes to get a page showing in an unfamiliar technology.

And we realized that XP is not just java (for goodness sake!). We can pair, iterate, and test with Rails just fine. In fact it is probably more XP in that we may be able to talk more about OO design issues that if we were stuck in java land. So it turned out unanimous that we would load-up on Rails and next month start developing something.

I think this is going to be huge amounts of fun.

Welcome to the fun, Mark and the rest of the XP-cincinnati group! You guys should come hang out in #rubyonrails at your next meeting and report on the progress. We’d love to hear how it’s going.

UPDATE: Jim just wrote me with the correction that he wasn’t even at that meeting. The group has upon their own volition found their way to the video and gotten interested off that. That’s even more impressive!

Rails go web services with XML-RPC prototype

Lars Hoss wanted an XML-RPC interface to his Rails-based weblog, so he hacked up a quick prototype:

Pretty neat! We’re currently investigating a number of different schemes for how to officially support Web Services (SOAP/XML-RPC) “The Rails Way”. Where getting good support from two of the commercial entities using Rails for their work. Announcements will follow.

Oh yeah, and Lars is a Tapestry convert, by the way. On the experience with switching from Java/Tapestry to Ruby on Rails, he writes:

Though I still like Tapestry very much, I prefer Rails for my private projects. Private free time is spare and Rails helps me to use it more efficient.

Rails on Lighttpd with FastCGI

Although Apache is the default choice of web server for Rails, it is by now means tied to it. Any web server that’s capable of doing a wee bit of rewriting in front and handling FastCGI applications can run Rails. Lighttpd is just one such web server.

If you’re interested in trying that out, TJ Vanderpoel has written an extensive tutorial on how to get Rails running with Lighttpd using FastCGI on Debian.

Have a codefest and collect cash from RubyCentral

Chad Fowler just reminded the Ruby community that free money is up for grabs if you have a cool idea for a codefest. There’s a total of $1,500 in the pot and $500 max on a per-project basis. Chad suggests a couple of ideas that could get a grant:

  • Ruby Subversion bindings
  • A nice bug tracker in Rails
  • Something that simplifies the open source ruby library release process, integrating RAA, RubyForge, ruby-talk, Freshmeat, and RubyGems

So what are you waiting for? Get the band together and apply for the Ruby Codefest Grant Program.

S5 Presents competes with SoapBX

This is funny. With SoapBX barely out the gates, Lucas Carlson has already launched a competitor with S5 Presents that does themes and is open source. He even claims to have done it in half the time of Pelle:

S5 Presents was written in under 10 hours and 500 lines of code using the fantastic Ruby on Rails framework.

So now you have two options for your online presentation needs. Cool stuff!

3,000 people are doing 10,804 things... has just been in the air for a week and already do they have 3,000 people are doing 10,804 things! That’s an incredible achievement in such a short period of time and bodes well for the future success of the application. will undoubtedly soon become a reference point for discussing performance with Rails.

Speaking of performance, Bob Cottrell is their main man on MemCached integration and also the contributor of MemCacheStore in Rails 0.9.3. He has promised to start writing about how best to use MemCached with Rails and were eagerly awaiting his guides.

Jamis Buck is working on Basecamp

Along with the announcement of the latest major upgrade to Basecamp, I’ve unveiled who the mysterious programmer we’ve brought on at 37signals is. So I thought I’d also wish him a warm welcome on landing a Rails-based job from the Rails weblog.

Congratulations on landing a contract working with Rails, Jamis Buck :)

You may recognize the name from his many contributions to the Ruby community. Most recently, the SQLite3 bindings that’s taking the dream of self-contained Rails applications a big step closer to reality.

UPDATE: Jamis shares a few more details.