Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


August 31, 11:34 | Comments (21)

BBEdit 8 released, bloggers long for TextMate

UPDATE: TextMate has been released!

Bare Bones have released the 8th edition of BBEdit, but the reception has certainly not been the all fuzzy, warm, and welcome that the company might have wished for. Chris Carline writes:

BBEdit's popularity continues to remain a mystery to me. Apparently, a "new version" has been released, but the "new features" seem so... weak...

So why do people continue to pay through the nose for BBEdit? It makes no sense! Sure, it's quite a nice editor, but it's worth ~$30 tops! How can the $180 price tag possibly be justified?

And of course, it doesn't get easier to continue to charge 4-6 times the prize of a regular shareware package, when strong competition is mounting in the horizon. idoChron writes:

I like it, but Iím not sure if I $50 upgrade like it. Especially with TextMate around the corner.

...and Carline has even less flattery to spare:

For me, I'm sticking with Vim for now. But on the horizon is TextMate, which actually looks like it might be a bit good. Actually, really, really good.

...and Justin French chimes in with his disappointment that the 8th release wasn't an overhaul:

Itís a predictable and welcome evolution. On the other hand, I was looking for a revolution.... If ever there was an application that was begging for a complete overhaul, BBEdit is it. It feels bloated and cluttered.

With TextMate still aiming for a beta release in September, it certainly looks like the beginning of a new era for Mac editors. BBEdit unchallenged reign of high prices and debatable feature set is coming to an end. I can't wait until MacroMates decides its time for release, so everyone can partake in the goodness that is TextMate.

Have you signed up for the one-time notification yet? You should. It's likely that a smaller crop of testers will be picked from this pool before the official beta unveiling, so there's a bone for you.

August 30, 0:56 | Comments (6)

Using Instiki as your personal notebook

Matt, the creator of MetaFilter, is finding out just how powerful a wiki can be as your personal notebook. I was very pleased to read that he picked Instiki, which he calls "an actually useful wiki":

Last week I got into the habit of launching [Instiki] and using it instead of having a BBEdit todo.txt file on my desktop. As a private scratchpad, it's absolutely fantastic. Over the past few days I've built out my ToDos into a pile of organized, hyperlinked pages that are useful to have around.

He's not alone, either. More four hundred out of the three thousand downloads of Instiki has been for the instant-on OS X version. Are you collecting your thoughts in Instiki yet?

August 29, 12:21 | Comments (14)

Following a Rails developer from day 1

James Prudente has been blogging his learning curve with Rails. Despite his initial problems with full-fledged debugging screens and the pluralization rules, he's now completely sold after ten days of development:

(18 Aug) Now that the installation is over, I can get down to the business of evaulating if Rails is going to be my new web appiclation framework...

(19 Aug) The more I look the more I appreciate all the thought and design that has gone into Rails...

(21 Aug) It's official, Rails owns. Bye Bye PHP. Sayonara J2EE. Arrivederci ASP.NET. Hello future. I've reimplemented a bunch of my latest project in Rails, and all I can say is that it's so tight, clean, and beautiful that I must use it for all my web development...

(28 Aug) I've been working with Rails for 10 days now, and there is no looking back. I've completely converted my newest project to Rails and am nearing a beta version...

It's so nice to read accounts like this. James started out on Rails without knowing Ruby (like many others) and has been completely taken by the combination of Ruby on Rails in such a short period of time. Thanks for sharing, James!

August 28, 17:52 | Comments (13)

Building of Basecamp II sold out

Just like the first workshop, Building of Basecamp II has sold out weeks in advance. It's very pleasing to see that there's still a lot of interest in hearing about the lessons we learned and are learning from Basecamp. The entire team is certainly psyched to provide another full day of informative, fun, and challenging discussions on how to build successful web applications based on our experience with Basecamp.

Since Rails is now out in time for the workshop, I'm sure we'll also touch on that a bit deeper than we did last time. And it's certainly ripe for discussion during the many breaks.

Also, we're contemplating doing the third run of Building of Basecamp in San Francisco in November. Interested in attending? Please do send an email to workshop at, so we can gauge the interest.

See you all in Chicago on September 17th!

August 27, 23:59 | Comments (3)

Pragmatic Programmers sponsor Rails identity!

I'm stunned. Dave Thomas from the Pragmatic Programmers just informed me that him and Andy are getting behind the community fund raiser for the visual identity for Rails. On behalf of the Pragmatic Bookshelf, they'll be doubling any contribution made by the community!

Since the bar is already at $495, it means that we just have $5 to go to reach the target of $1,000. What an incredibly feat and testimony to the power of open source communities.

I'm really moved that Dave and Andy are taken notice of Ruby on Rails in such a significant way as to pledge $500 in its support. I can't thank you guys enough. But I'll try to return the favor by urging anyone doing Rails development to immediately pickup the Pragmatic Starter Kit. A three-volume series on version control, unit testing, and project automation. Topics that any Rails project would do well to master.

And did you know that the last touches are being put on the 2nd edition of Programming Ruby? It was the first edition that got me into Ruby in the first place and its still the book I use most in my daily work. You need this book if you're thinking about or already doing Ruby. Whether or not it's on Rails.

*UPDATE:* The last $10 was donated. The goal of $1,000 has been reached. It took 7 hours.

August 27, 23:48 | Comments (10)

Raising funds for a Rails identity

With more than 1,800 downloads and an incredible amount of positive feedback, Rails has had an unbelievably successful first month in the wild. So I am thinking that Ruby on Rails might be on to some thing. If this is the first month, how will things look in three? In six? At the release of 1.0?

I'm betting on "pretty darn good", so I am wondering on what additional steps I could take to spread the gospel. The first will be the formation of a visual identity for Rails. It needs to look as good as it feels. And for that to happen, it needs to be done by a pro.

Enter the fund raiser: Rails Visual Identity. I'm thinking that $1,000 will hopefully suffice to get a really cool logo done. And what better way to unite the Rails community than doing a shared payment.

Just hours after the page was announced, it's already at $495!

August 27, 15:04 | Comments (14)

Away goes the sling

While one-hand typing isn't as slow as you could expect (I did 25-30 words per minute), it is extremely tiring when you're not used to it. So it's with great pleasure that I'm typing this entry using both hands. The sling came off today and even if I still can't turn my arm all the way around, can't lift anything, and still feel a slight pain from time to time, I'm thrilled.

This also ends the arrangement I had with another programmer that I paired with for the week. He did the typing, I did the talking. Much slower than working directly with the keyboard, but we made progress were otherwise none would have been had. So it was good. Thanks, Lau.

And thanks to all the well wishers.

August 22, 12:43 | Comments (22)

Arm broken, typing slow, soccer sucks

In my 15 years of rollerblading, I've never broken, twisted, or otherwise seriously injured myself. Soccer, though, is an inherently dangerous sport. I've remember reading a study concluding that it's one of the most hazardous sports in Denmark. Fractures, broken arms and legs, twists, and what not.

I can testify to that. Yesterday, I broke my arm playing against a whole bunch of other computer professionals. "Nerd ball", we called it. And does it ever suck to break your arm as a computer programmer. Typing is sooo slow. It's not even close to being half speed. More like one fourth or fifth. It's painful.

So for the next 14 days, in which I have to wear a sling, I probably won't be doing much programming. Or writings here on LT.

Oh my, I hate soccer right now...

August 20, 23:42 | Comments (7)

Java is 'too easy'

Let me underline one thing: There are surely many great Java programmers and there are surely many great ideas coming out of the Java community. It's just that when you read something like this from Sachin:

Java has considerably fewer surprises and prefers not to add complexity to the language for rarely used features thereby resulting in a language where you cannot really make your friends go ga-ga at amazingly brief programming constructs... This is probably the biggest reason Java is un-cool. It's too easy (although programming or software development remains as tough as ever).

It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

August 20, 20:59 | Comments (3)

Picking technology as a client pleaser

John Lim writes why his companies love using Oracle:

People say that open source software has great technical support - yes it is good, but what our business needs more is marketing help, which Oracle provides. Using Oracle makes our products more attractive, as customers like to feel that they are running large and powerful applications on their systems (and it's true, we aren't kidding them). MySQL and PostgreSQL don't feel sexy to our clients.

This reminds me of a question I got during the colloquium at RUC about whether I could ever see a bank using Rails. No, I can't. Neither could I see any other corporation where the signal value of their technology choices is more important than whether the software actually works.

"Nobody ever got fired for buying..." is the name of the game. Oracle, like J2EE, is a great word to end that sentence with. Who cares whether the software costs more, is never finished, or crumbles?

August 19, 11:59 | Comments (21)

The consequences of condemnation

In a response Stop being clever about it, Rasmus launches into a condemnation of shock and loss of respect:

I am bordering on being shocked that the "active/finished" status has been decided by a algorithm instead of user input... the fact that this feature has only been added post-launch has led to me losing some respect for 37 Signals. It's the kind of feature that I consider so blatantly obvious that I'd expect it from any given amateur software solution.

Rasmus, you're over-dramatizing what happens to be a natural evolution of understanding. Like Jason said, this design came from an intent to make Basecamp the simplest way to manage your projects.

When you're trying to archive such a goal, it's the same as placing a number of bets with varying odds. There's no way we can (or could afford to) asses or even contemplate how every single feature is going to play out in advance. So some of the bets are bound to turn out bad.

Does that mean we shouldn't bet? Does it mean we should be struck by analysis paralysis in order to archive complete information about every bet? What an extremely boring and slow company 37signals would be then.


August 18, 16:14 | Comments (10)

Going down as you go higher

The latest update to Basecamp doesn't talk about the technical developments that went into it. It's about features because customers rarely care about what you had to do to get there. But I'm going to assume you do.

While readying Rails for release, I uncoupled Basecamp from the main trunk a few months. I simply didn't have the time or nerve to keep Basecamp in synch while I was adding and restructuring the framework at a hectic pace.

That's both a sensible, but also dangerous thing to do. As Rails matured, I kept wanting to use the latest features to do Basecamp work, but couldn't. That lead to a nasty mental overhead of remembering how the API looked in the old version and which pitfalls I hadn't yet closed.

So hinging Basecamp back on track with the current version of Rails with the latest release brought great satisfaction. Not only because I would be able to use the new features in the coming releases, but also because I was able to refactor a ton of cruft out of the system on the same occurrence.

Hence the code base lost about 10% of it's weight while I was adding a bunch of new features. So were going higher in terms of functionality and going down in terms of KLOC. That's what's supposed to happen when you maintain your maintainability, but it's probably one of the first times I've really felt that to be true for a system that had been in production for almost six months.

It's a great feeling, though. With the control-flow and model logic hovering at just above 4 KLOC, it's going to feel even greater as I'm able to simplify further and push that number below the 4 KLOCs. There's still a bunch of new Rails features I haven't really implemented widely in Basecamp yet, so I'm pretty confident that's going to be a doable goal.

August 18, 15:53 | Comments (18)

Stop being clever about it

Basecamp started out with a somewhat elaborate scheme for deciding whether a given project was active or not. It looked at the activity in the project, such as whether any post had been made within the last 30 days or whether there was uncompleted milestones in the future.

The problems with this policy was plentiful:

  • What do you do when a project is done? With the old system, you had to carefully wait 30 days (and make sure not to make any additional posts as the counter would then be reset). A project ready for the archives would thus still show up on the dashboard and in the lists, cluttering the activity of the projects that actually were active.
  • What do you do with a project that's just on hold? It's not unreasonable for active projects to lay dormant for a month or more even though they're still important and you still need access to the information contained within them. With the old system, you had to poke to the system every once in a while to keep it active.

These problems were made worse by the fact that Basecamp is tiered on the number of active projects you have. So with a Basic subscription capable of 10 active projects, you would have to wait around for a done project to go inactive when bordering the limit before you could start the next active project. While that might have triggered a few premature upgrades, I don't believe that customers would be happy in the long term to pay for a tier that they don't really need (don't be evil and all that).

So our solution: Stop being clever about it. Just let the customers decide when a project is either active, on hold, or ready for the archives. This realization of course lead to even Less Software. I was able to do a bunch of what I enjoy most about programming — remove code rendered obsolete by simplifications by a deeper understanding of the domain. And I can tell you that I enjoyed yanking every single one of those methods and callbacks.

This of course goes back to the old Word joke Are you writing a letter? We had the simple answer all along, but refused to realize that we were doing harm in an attempt to do good. Lesson learned. Stop assuming on behalf of a human what cannot be assumed without inconvenience.

August 18, 2:31 | Comments (13)

'Arghh, Rails on Ruby is better than Java'

Chris Nelson was recommended by Jim Weirich (the Rake star) to have a look at Ruby on Rails at a Cincinati Java Users Group meeting. When he did, this was what he saw:

[I]t's called Ruby On Rails.† And gosh darn it, it's just too darn good.† Makes me sick.† I'm no Ruby guy, believe me you.† I don't go in for that alternative language kind of thing one bit.† Unamerican if ya ask me.† But confound it, I was blown away.† Just watch the video ok.

Naturally, Chris has some concerns after watching the video. He's holding them dear as they're the only thing keeping him from "...spend[ing] every minute of my time at work crying while I code". I'd advise a big box of Kleenex for work tomorrow, Chris.

(UPDATE: Avik, another Java guy, discovers Ruby on Rails)


August 17, 13:23 | Comments (0)

RubyGem of the Month - Rails

Chad Fowler is one of the masterminds behind the RubyGems packaging scheme and library repository for Ruby. He's also the founder of RubyCentral, alongside David A. Black, which is the organization behind RubyConf. Oh, and he's pretty found of Rails, too:

Writing database code is even worse. For the basics, you donít have to do any coding. What kind of sick mind was behind ActiveRecord anyway? How are we programmers supposed to stay employed if thereís no work for us to do?

The most frustratingly boring part of all of this is the documentation. Davidís got videos, wikis, tutorials and demo apps (all on, which means I didnít get the fun of having to wade through Railsí source code every time I wanted to implement a new feature for my web application.

That's just a few of the flattering words Chad chose to accompany his declaration of Rails as the RubyGem of the Month. Thanks, Chad!

August 16, 19:49 | Comments (8)

The Python (aka Ruby) Paradox

Paul Graham follows up on his original missive towards the Java drones and companies of the world with a further explanation of The Python Paradox:

I'll call the Python paradox: if a company chooses to write its software in a comparatively esoteric language, they'll be able to hire better programmers, because they'll attract only those who cared enough to learn it...

Only a few companies have been smart enough to realize this so far. But there is a kind of selection going on here too: they're exactly the companies programmers would most like to work for.

Developing successful software is much cheaper and easier if you're able to attract the best of brains. Programming projects scales rather poorly, so if you're able to do the same with less people, you'll experience non-linear benefits.

So what are you waiting for? Pick a dynamic language like Ruby, Python, or Smalltalk, hire from the grade-A talent pools, and get a shot a competitive advantage.

August 16, 12:44 | Comments (13)

Derek's award for beautiful coding

Derek Sivers seems to really like the projects I've been involved with for the past nine months:

My award for beautiful coding goes to David Heinemeier Hansson... [Talks about Instiki, Rails, and Basecamp]... Absolutely brilliant. All of it. Did the beautiful language of Ruby inspire his style, or was it just a match meant-to-be?

I can't believe the stuff that David's done, and this is all just in the last 9 months or so!I think he's my new favorite author.

How intensely flattering. Thank you, Derek! And yes, I owe much of it to Ruby. It has indeed unleashed an amazing amount of creative energy. I never, ever thought programming could be this fun, challenging, and capable of teaching me new things daily.

Programming in Ruby inspires you to craft beautiful code. Then mold it further to become more elegant still. I recommend anyone who has the faintest interest in programming to give it a try: Getting started with Ruby (and if you're into web-app programming, you'll want to continue to put Ruby on Rails.

August 16, 0:53 | Comments (14)

Rails.NET dropped in favor of the real thing

Marten Veldthuis was already well underway with a .NET version of Rails before he stopped to give the real thing a second try. Here's his conclusion after giving it a proper look:

So my experience has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can only recommend everybody with doubts to just try it (and try it seriouslyÖ start work on a real project, instead of doing only two steps beyond the basic weblog demo like I did initially).

I'm thrilled to see that Martin is coming over to the existing Rails community instead of making a language fork. Glad to have you on board! No doubt, the speed of development helped Martin make the switch:

From the moment I started, Iíve been doing the cycle ďlook up stuff, program stuff". However, this cycle does not seem to slow me down, Iíve been working at nearly the same speed I used to be at on ASP.NET/C#.

Consider how fast you'll be able to go when you got a week or two of experience under your belt. Then consider how fast you'll be able to go in a month. Then in three months. Rails makes you go fast really quickly and then keeps on accelerating.

Oh, his adventures with Ruby on Rails have even inspired Martin to think thoughts of FreeBSD, Apache, and MySQL as a replacement for his Windows 2003 with IIS/MSSQL. Add to that, he's getting an Apple laptop as well. I couldn't think of a nicer ride out of Redmond.

August 14, 22:44 | Comments (11)

The skies and monsters of Bornholm

August 12, 23:36 | Comments (11)

Transparent internals in web-applications

Dmitry V. Sabanin recently announced his PrettyException project on ruby-talk. It's an attempt to turn web-app box from black to white by making the internals more transparent. About his own usage, he said:

I find it very useful when you develop something for Web and you don't have access to apache logs. For myself, I'm using PrettyException when I develop a web site, and when it's time to release it, i turn PrettyException off.

This is indeed a critical component of any web-application framework. How easy is it to spot an error, how much information are you supplied to locate it, and how much time does the fix-test cycle take.


August 08, 10:16 | Comments (4)

Celebrating 1,000 downloads of Rails!

I'm really on vacation, but through my 2kb/sec GPRS connection from the mobile phone, I spotted that an amazing milestone has been reached for Rails. In the first two weeks since release, Rails has been downloaded more than 1,000 times (the RubyForge DL count + 35 due to a reset).

I'm extremely pleased with its sweeping uptake and with all the lavish praise it has gathered already. Just this morning, I received the following email from Gleb Arshinov:

I write systems code (C++, database kernels, app servers, http proxies, etc.) for a living, so web development is not usually my cup of tea... I've been helping a friend to get a custom CRM system for their office. I wrote up an MRD and was looking to offshore the development.

Then Rails came along, and now I am writing it myself :-) It's too much fun, and I think I can get it going in less time that it would take me to manage somebody else's work. That's considering that I don't know Ruby. I mean, I have a pilot running and I still don't know Ruby — I barely had to write any code :-)

So, cudos!

That certainly made my morning!


August 06, 23:08 | Comments (15)

A packaged set of Rails

Mauricio FernŠndez has been working on Ruby Production Archive as an alternative packaging scheme to RubyGems. I'm still more of a GEM-guy myself, but Mauricio does deserve recognition for packaging both Instiki and Rails for RPA. Especially the latter is quite a task (which is why I haven't done a GEM for it myself, yet).

On top of that, Mauricio has taken a cue from the success of the 10 minute video for Rails and done a RPA video for installing Rails. It's pretty cool. He taped the whole thing through his prompt using Links to access the web-server. Very retro.

Cheers, Mauricio! And thanks for hanging out in #rubyonrails helping people who wants to use RPA. You'll have a lead on a packaged Rails until I get my own GEM done.

August 06, 21:44 | Comments (30)

Has Sony improved customer service?

I case you were wondering about whether Sony had improved their record on customer service since I left the company in disgust over my Vaio issues a few years ago:

I purchased a Cybershot DSC-P92 in February. Then all of sudden it stopped working. I was amazed at how such an expensive product coul;d just stop functioning with no apparent reason. Anyway Sony Customer support sucks!!!!!!! I have the proof of pruchase and the gurantee. But what's the point if you can't get through for 5 hours straight. Also the Automated Cumpter Sytem is horrible, and makes you want to smash the phone against the wall after 3-4 calls. Hekp Me Please!!!!!!

This was posted as a comment to my posting Sony still dodgy on warranty obligations. I'll reiterate my warning: Don't buy Sony.

August 06, 18:27 | Comments (48)

TextMate: The missing editor for OS X

UPDATE: TextMate has been released!

When I first arrived on the Mac with Jaguar two years ago, I was somewhat stumped by the lack of a decent editor. On Windows, I had been a big fan of UltraEdit and knew of TextPad a decent alternative. But on the Mac there was pretty much nothing of the kind.


August 06, 15:47 | Comments (11)

Rails 0.6.0: It has never been easier!

Rails is closing in on the first thousand downloads, which means I've been getting a ton of good feedback on how Rails could be even easier to use and setup. I've taken all that to heart and improve the framework in a number of significant ways.

So if you've been holding back on having a look at the Ruby on Rails phenomenon, now is the time to get on board. As Chad Fowler noted yesterday after getting his first Rails application running: "This is the police — drop the J2EE and back away slowly". And as former CTO of GE Appliances in Bangalore and co-author of Professional Apache Tomcat, he should know.

Come on, then. Have a look. You'll be up and running in a few minutes, producing real results within hours, and hanging out with the, at times, 40+ crowd on #rubyonrails in no time at all.

August 04, 23:52 | Comments (25)

I'm willing to code Ruby... because of Rails

Jogin is turning out to be a guy of my liking. First he picks my platform of love, then he picks my language of love:

Ruby has two things going for it which makes me (want to) choose it over Python for web development. The first thing is that it's really and truly object oriented. Python's OO feels kind of like an afterthought, most likely because it is one. And even though the OO aspect is glued onto Python rather neatly, it doesn't permeat the language like with Ruby.

But, even still, that doesn't level Ruby with Python. What settles the matter is Rails. I'm willing to code Ruby, even though I prefer Python, because of Rails. If everything falls into place, I'll be doing a respectable amount of development using Rails in the future. Assuming that I'm not hit with a violent jolt of aspiration resulting in something similar in Python.

UPDATE: Ben Stiglitz also had a similar note saying "...a lot of people are moving over to Ruby because they want to play with Rails".

August 04, 0:51 | Comments (10)

AR in Tcl, Python on Rails, Rails.NET

Even before the complete Ruby on Rails experience was unveiled, the OpenACS guys were longing to get Active Record running in Tcl. Shortly after the experience went public, Pythonists were considering the making of Python on Rails.

Now, not much more than a week after the first release, M. Veldthuis wants to have Rails.NET, or Track as he has chosen to label it. It's certainly flattering if only a little befuddling: Why not try the real thing out for size first? Ruby on Rails is here, today, offering the rapid development experience free of charge.

If it's the language, Ruby, that you have doubts about taking on, I promise you it'll be a lot less work to Getting Started with Ruby and running on Rails than it will be to recreate the sensation in another language on another platform.

Heck, I was just writing the other day about Apple's Ben Stiglitz who picked up Ruby in a week and wrote the solid beginnings of a bug tracker in Rails within three hours.

August 04, 0:26 | Comments (22)

Ruby on Rails with Panel 4 on RubyConf

My proposal for a Ruby on Rails presentation at RubyConf has been accepted! I'm going to be sharing panel 4 early on October 2nd with Patrick May and Bill Atkins.


August 02, 17:41 | Comments (12)

Known as the combined view

Dave Winer is spot on with his charge against Yahoo and Google (Bloglines was misrepresented, the do have combined view):

I can't speak for anyone else, but the user interface I want is the one in the Convention Bloggers site. It's derived from Radio's aggregator, which was derived from My.UserLand. It's designed to let the reader skim over hundreds of articles in just a few minutes. It works. Why mess around emulating three-paned email interfaces. In my humble opinion, if you just emulated this interface you'd clean up.

This is called Combined View in NetNewsWire and it's the reason I initially bought a license for NNW. It's also the reason that I can stand being subscribed to 120 feeds and still skim through it in no time at all. It's the reason I'm still subscribed to hyper-active bloggers like Scoble that can blog 50 things in a day and hit 2 I care about.

Combined view, every thing in one long list, is the way to go for presenting aggregated content. Fooling around with a three-paned view is like early 80'ties software that attempted to make your feel comfortable in the "virtual office" by having actual furniture, drawers, and other obstacles in your way. It's known as an "overly literal translation" and it's a bad idea for making RSS "feel like email".

August 02, 16:03 | Comments (16)

Switching to a platform of love

Jogin tells the story on how he decided it was time to part ways with Windows and upgrade to a Mac. What should be most disturbing for Scoble and his companions, however, is that Jogin is not switching for what is, but what's to come:

However, it seems like, — it feels like — Windows is heading back down into the dark abyss of sucking, deeper than they've ventured before. It seems like every week I read or otherwise learn something about the future of Windows, often DMCA related I suppose, and I sigh in relief that by the time it becomes a reality I won't be using a Windows PC anymore.

I'd find that a pretty scary thought if I were running Microsoft. Here's a guy that's able to cope with the virus/worm plagues and all the hurt with the current Windows, but he's going away because he doesn't like the future of Microsoft offerings dawning on the horizon. Yikes.

I guess that's the trouble of being a company that few to none feels passionate about. Now that a viable alternative is available, people are able to act as the political consumer and vote with their valet.

Like LISP, Smalltalk, Python, and Ruby are languages of love for many, OS X and Linux/FreeBSD are the platforms of love. And finally, now that the iron grip is going rubber, people are able to switch to peace, love, and harmony.

I hear people talk all the time about how much they love their Mac. For the past two years, I've not meet a single person in real life that has had even remotely similar affections for their Windows box.

August 01, 14:22 | Comments (10)

Tracking bugs on Rails in Rails

While wikis are great, they're perhaps not always the best for bug tracking larger projects with lots of testers. So the constituency in #rubyonrails have been petitioning for a switch to a real bug tracker.

While I was thinking about how to go about that, Ben Stiglitz already had an early skeleton running. Within three hours. With no prior Rails training. After having played around with Ruby for one week.

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed that he was able to pick up Ruby on Rails in such a short time. Additional respect for being a PHP refugee like myself.

If I can do it, he can do it, then you certainly can too! Sign up for amnesty at Getting started with Ruby and then revel in your liberation with Ruby on Rails.

August 01, 0:26 | Comments (18)

Seeing is believing — even for programmers!

I've received an incredible amount of positive feedback on the 10 minute video of Rails. It's a reasonably comprehensive first impression (despite showing just 5-10% of Rails) delivered to you for no work at all. Forming a similar impression on a framework that just does text documentation and the odd example is a much more time consuming effort. Straight to the "I'll look at this later" pile.

That's why I've started Rails Academy as a place to hold future, more in-depth, video tutorials on Rails. I even got my Sony microphone hooked up to the stereo now, so that should end my brief career in silent movies.

But more importantly, I hope to ignite a general trend within the programming community at large and Ruby in particular: More showing, less telling! Capable programmers do most frameworks, projects, and languages much more justice than a dry piece of text can. I recognize that some frameworks and languages might be better suited for this than others, which is why I'm focusing mostly on Ruby where it's actually possible to show-off really cool stuff in no time at all.

On that note, I'm thrilled to see Mauricio Fernandez pick up the ball and show off his packaging system for Ruby in a series of gif anims. The fact that he chooses to display his wares using Instiki and Active Record made no difference in my appreciation (okay, just a little, then).

P.S.: I've been doing my own recordings with Snapz Pro X. While it's a great tool (albeit with a slightly weird interface), it does produce .mov files, which have proved somewhat hard to digest for the OS X-challenged people out there. Anyone who wants to donate me a copy of Camtasia will hence be much cheered by all since that'll allow me to convert those mov files to Flash, which everyone should be able to see (check out this old, old sample I did while still developing Rails).