Ask your questions to the Rails Weenie

Rick Olson has a great service running for people with questions about Rails development. The site is called Rails Weenie and allows you to ask questions to the community in a weblog-style fashion and then receive responses as comments. There’s already a lot of good content on there.

Creator of Blinksale and IconBuffet interviewed

GodBit has an interview with Scott Raymond about his use of Ruby on Rails in Blinksale and IconBuffet. I particularly enjoyed this bit about the opinionated software:

If you pay attention when you’re using Rails, you can hear its authorial voice. The Rails community calls the notion “opinionated software,” and people either love it or hate it. I love it. For me, working on Rails is sort of like having really smart, like-minded coworkers. It is inspiring, motivating and energizing.

ThoughtWorks wins big contract on Rails

Obie Fernandez has a great story on how ThoughtWorks recently won a $800,000 bid for a critical application against another consultancy. They probably do that all the time, but the interesting part about this particular bid is that they made it powered by Ruby on Rails. The other consultancy bid a million dollars for a Java-based system, but the CIO picked the Rails solution from ThoughtWorks.

So saving $200,000 was obviously a big advantage of the Rails bid, but more interesting is the second-level concerns. Obie writes:

Analysts from Gartner and Forrester and even members of his personal grapevine are all abuzz about Ruby… Ruby may not be a corporate standard (yet), but don’t even get him started on his organization’s dismal track record building J2EE applications… The risk of late delivery is much, much scarier to him than proceeding with a relatively unproven technology that the whole world seems to be talking about as the successor to Java.

This story comes hot on the heels of Stuart Halloway’s exposure of how Rails makes it possible for his consultancy to win accounts over Java solutions due to higher productivity. As he put it:

Developers have more fun, make more money, and customers get better products cheaper and faster.

Indeed.

UPDATE: The story is indeed “fictional”, but with the very deep underlining of “inspired by real events”. Obie has no permission to speak on specific deals of ThoughtWorks, so names have been withheld to protect the real involved parties and the exact figures, estimates, and so on.

.NET'ers tell Scoble why they left for Rails

Microsoft’s Robert Scoble is concerned about the exodus of developers like Phil Ripperger that are leaving .NET for Ruby on Rails. Phil put it like this:

Scoble, as a web developer who is now doing freelance work for a living, my framework of choice is Ruby on Rails. Mostly for the reasons listed here. And also because Microsoft’s web development technologies have lost their appeal. I can remember being blown away by ASP.NET when I first saw it. I now feel even more strongly about Rails. And when I talk to businesses and friends who are developers, I make sure they know about Rails.

Sure, I know about the new Visual Studio, ASP.NET 2.0, the new SharePoint, and the new SQL Server. And I just don’t care. Microsoft needs to capture some of the 360 magic and use it on their web development technology or they will continue to lose developers like me.

Scoble is inviting people to tell him and Microsoft why .NET and family just isn’t doing it for them any more. If you have a good story to share, do let them know.

How picking Rails over Java affects bidding

Stuart Halloway explains in numbers how picking Rails over Java affects the bids he puts in for consulting jobs. Since the actual programming is only one part of the bid, Rails naturally only has a chance to affect that part. But still, the approach that Stuart takes in differentiating between the two is quite interesting.

For applications that Justin consider “within the sweet spot of Rails”, the bid will usually be 30-50% lower. For stuff outside that sweet spot, the bid will still be about 10% lower than the equivalent Java one.

New book: Rails Recipes by Chad Fowler

Chad Fowler threw off his Enterprise shackles a while back and ventured into a new and better life doing Ruby on Rails full time. As the co-founder of RubyCentral, co-creator of RubyGems, and co-organizer of RubyConf and RailsConf, Chad is seriously well positioned to teach you a thing or two about Ruby and Rails.

And that’s exactly what Rails Recipes is all about. Small, concrete guides to doing specific things with Ruby on Rails. And at projected 350 pages, it’s going to be packed with goodies for sure. I’ll be working together with Chad to ensure that the recipes include a good number of 37signals favorites, so you can benefit from all the tips and tricks that make Basecamp, Backpack, and the rest of the suite sing.

Chad is aiming to have Rails Recipes out as a beta book on February 1st.