Celebrating six months anniversary!

On July 24th of last year, Rails 0.5 was released through RubyForge. It mustered 357 downloads in just five days. Today, fifteen releases later, we’ve pushed more than ten thousand gems and five thousand tgz/zip versions over the virtual counter. At the time of writing, the IRC channel holds 153 handles. We recently got Slashdotted and a ton of cool applications are coming out using Rails.

We’ve certainly come quite a long way in six months.

But its only going to get better. A lot better. Dave Thomas is writing the first book on Rails, the mystical 1.0 release is just 1-2 months away, and there’s a number of cool speaking engagements coming up at future conferences that’s going to push awareness even higher.

If you’re reading this, I salute you for being one of the early adopters (or at least interested) that has helped bring Rails this far. Happy half-birthday, Rails!

CD Baby leaves PHP behind for Ruby on Rails

Derek Sivers have just announced that CDBaby.com is about to embark on an application rewrite that’ll replace the 90,000 lines of PHP code with an alternative built using Ruby on Rails.

CD Baby is a very successful etailer of independent music. They list 82,443 artists that together have sold 1.2 million CDs! And unlike the cartels, CD Baby is all paying back to artists — $12 million has made it back into artists’ pockets.

Derek describe the reasoning behind his departure from PHP to Ruby on Rails as follows:

Now, with Rails, there are a team of passionate geniuses contributing to this web-making framework daily. It’s small enough that you can stay on top of it, and watch this framework get more and more powerful by the week. Improvements that are pragmatic not political. People using it to make effective websites, contributing to the shared framework around it as they go. Why not take advantage of all this brilliant work?

Congratulations, Derek! And congratulations to the star team of core Rails contributors that he has chosen to assist him in the transition: Jeremy Kemper (bitsweat) and Tobias Luekte (xal). Without a doubt two of the very finest Rails developers out there. Great choice!

Also, I love how Derek prefaces his comment section:

Please no flames about Python, PHP, Java, or MySQL. My choice to use Ruby + Postgres was due to my love of them, not hate of something else

Loving Ruby, loving Rails is not about hating something else. It’s not a zero-sum game where love must be balanced with equal amounts of hate.

Speeding up CGI access to Gem Rails

Jamis has a nice article demonstrating how he decreased the reload time from 2.4 seconds to just 1.1 seconds on CGI access to his Gem Rails application:

Rails’ preferred installation method is RubyGems, a convenient, powerful utility for installing Ruby libraries and applications. Unfortunately, that convenience comes at a price—loading a library via RubyGems adds some overhead. Recent releases of RubyGems have made some good progress in reducing that overhead, but it still exists.

If you’re running WEBrick or FastCGI for development, this is not an issue, though.

Beyond the 10,000th gem install of Rails

All the latest attention have spurred downloads of Rails to new heights and we just surpassed the 10,000th gem installation of Rails (not counting all the beta gem installs or svn:external setups)! On top of that, we have some five thousand downloads of the zip/tgz version for a total of around 15K in combined downloads. This encompasses all versions, so naturally there’s plenty of overlap and this doesn’t translate into 15K people working with the Rails (yet!).

So on this occassion, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank instead of berate other projects that have proven influential to the development of Rails.

Thanks to PHP for getting me into programming and teaching me how much immediacy matters. Thanks to Smalltalk for being an inspiration so far ahead in many areas where we’re still scrambling to catch up. Thanks to Java for being the birth place of many great ideas in frameworks such as Struts, Tiles, WebWork, Hibernate, and more.

Most importantly, of course, thanks to Matz and the Ruby community for proving such fertile grounds for creativity and achievement.

And now, let’s all hold hands and sing songs about spreading love, not hate.

'That application is so stupid'

Just as Patrick Lightbody recants his ill-guided charge, Geert Bevin — also involved with a Java web-framework, this time RIFE — picks up the torch and tries his best to scorch the earth anew:

About tadalist, that application is so stupid that I’m wondering how the hell it could have taken him 600 lines to write it. Also, the hugely hiped ‘killer application’ of RoR, Basecamp, is a total fraud imho. The screenshots look nice, and are nicely presented. So I did make an account and started using it. And honestly, everything they say is true, it sets itself apart in simplicity. Not difficult to write that in a few weeks.

It’s incredible how much vile bile that lies within the Java community. I’m beginning to understand why many of the defectors I’ve talked to are so happy about the Ruby and Rails communities. Oh well, back to the stupid, fraud applications.

Programmer needed for JSP to Rails conversion

Gately’s would like to dump their JSP-powered shop and upgrade to Rails. They’re looking for Rails talent to help them do just that:

We need a developer who is proficient in (and hates) JSP for a contract-to-hire position which would involve replacing a JSP app with a Rails app for a growing e-tailer in the Denver, CO area. Would prefer local talent, but would consider teleworkers from anywhere with the right skills. Please contact me (Solomon White, solo [at] gatelys [dotcom]) if you feel you might be a fit.

"I think Ruby on Rails is way over hyped"

Patrick Lightbody is on the steering committee of the Java web-framework WebWork and not at all happy about all the attention Ruby on Rails is gaining. Apparently, it’s all terribly undeserving as Rails surely “doesn’t scale” to applications with “thousands of concurrent users and/or hundreds of thousands of gigabytes”, right?

Of course, Patrick doesn’t bother to back up his charge besides asserting that “anyone… knows that a CRUD framework just doesn’t cut it”. Interesting. Rails follows a similar approach to scaling as do Yahoo and LiveJournal. Share Nothing. Push concurrency into the database and the memcache. I hear that approach is working rather well on LJ’s 100 machine park handling 5+ million dynamic requests per day.

But why bother addressing the specifics when you can just assert the somewhat cryptic “Mapping web UI directly to the DB never scales”. What does this mean exactly? Does Patrick think that the only UI you can do in Rails is a scaffolded one? Oy, talk about forming ill-informed opinions.

If any of these vague, hand-waving assertions should have failed to convince you, then of course, we can always rely on our good friend complexity!

Form processing, payroll, etc probably work very well with RoR. But trying to implement Spoke using RoR would be impossible — the schema is just too complex.

I’m sure it’s too complex, Patrick. Can’t beat an expert at his own game. But since you’re interested in learning more about marketing your open source wares, you might start by dropping the FUD tactics. They leave such nasty stains of ignorance and bitterness.

Brian McCallister offers a similar rejection of Patrick’s fear mongering:

It is scary (FEAR FEAR) to see opinions formed, and backed with vitriol, by fear that something different than what they are doing works better. Something you don’t know that approaches the same problems as something you do know does not make the first thing bad. It does not justify lashing out at it saying “it is just [foo] and sucks so bad compared to [bar] and can never [scale|perform|manage|eat] enough to be used for [serious|difficult|real] things.” Possibly this is true, but reacting that way out of fear certainly does not make it so.

Now back to our mega-scala-enterprisy-serious-real-complex-important work. Nothing to see here, move along.

Welcome Slashdotters!

We’ve been part of a Slashdot posting once before, but this is the first time that Rails is actually the primary topic of one. So a proper welcome to all the Slashdotters flowing in from the article about Curt Hibbs’ great new Rails tutorial on O’Reilly’s ONLamp.

Hopefully we’ll survive the onslaught and a few will stick around!

Matz takes note of Ta-da and Rails

Matz — the creator of Ruby — noted the launch of Ta-da List and the fact that it’s 579 lines of Ruby on Rails code today. What a great honor, but unfortunately, I can’t read Kanji (which I’m ignorantly guessing this is). Perhaps someone could translate?

Rails tutorial on O'Reilly's ONLamp

Curt Hibbs has written a great tutorial called Rolling with Ruby on Rails. It takes the reader through setting up Ruby on Rails, scaffolding an application into immediate use, and tailoring the results. It’s focus is especially on setting everything up and using it with a Windows machine. It has been published by O’Reilly with their ONLamp.com site. A small note from the introduction:

What would you think if I told you that you could develop a web application at least ten times faster with Rails than you could with a typical Java framework? You can—without making any sacrifices in the quality of your application! How is this possible?

I’m always hesitant to provide any exact measures of productivity increases, but the 10x number has been echoed by more than a few of the Java programmers I’ve known coming over. Of course, most projects involve lots more than just programming, so this would hardly mean a project completed 10x — or whatever multiplier you fancy — but the difference is indeed startling.

In any case, awesome work, Curt! Let this serve as an encouragement for other Railers to spread the good work by getting their knowledge published by outfits like O’Reilly.