Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


November 29, 22:19 | Comments (9)

Building of Basecamp reborn as Getting Real

The 37signals workshop hiatus has ended and emerged has The Getting Real Workshop. It's the same theme of ideas as Building of Basecamp, but drawing from a broader base of examples across all our applications and thoughts on development. Refreshed and remixed.

It'll all be going down in Chicago on January 27th. We've got a great venue lined up and we're eager to share our ideas, opinions, and visions once again. The 50-person cap creates a intimate atmosphere with lots of great questions and interactions. I really like that format.

But it of course also means that we close the door on registrations pretty early. The last workshop sold out in just a week. And we haven't been doing any in a good long while, so if you are consider going, you should probably make the decision sooner rather than later.

We'd love to see you there.

UPDATE: Sold out. All 50 seats where gone in 12 hours. That's about 14 times as fast as last time.

November 27, 21:00 | Comments (14)

Kid brother launches

November 27, 19:08 | Comments (5)

RailsConf 2006: Making the ecosystem tangible

We've just announced RailsConf. It'll be going down on June 22nd through 25th — just a month ahead of the two-year anniversary for Rails. We're envisioning a turn-out of about 400, which might seem pretty bullish now, but I'm confident we'll still be turning people away who wanted to come.

It's certainly a wonderful feeling to be part of this. Announcing RailsConf makes the ecosystem seem so real. That this whole Rails thing is bigger than anyone person, bigger than me, bigger than the core team, bigger than the circle of people that I know doing it. That's a great feeling. It's the feeling of creation.

It'll also be a proof of concept. If we can actually get some 400 people together who are willing to shell out around $350-400, that's a strong signal to potential vendors that there is a market here.

I've been overhearing a lot of very interesting conversations from different corners of the industry about this. There is interest from a wide range of companies, but with a successful RailsConf, we could turn interest into action.

So its exciting. It'll be awesome to have so many Rails developers together for some serious in-depth conversations and presentations. I can't wait to assemble the speaking agenda. Going beyond the bland introduction of "how to make a weblog" should provide for a welcome change of scenery.

Anyway, sign up for the RSS feed and be alerted as soon as we have more to tell. And, of course, reserve June 22nd through 25th in your calendar.

November 17, 0:17 | Comments (32)

Arrived in the US of A

After a wonderful goodbye gathering, I'm now really here in the US of A. It's cool and odd at the same time. You should think that after all these trips that my body would have grown comfortable with the 7-hour time changes. Not so. Hurting.

Anyway, just a note to say that I made it.

November 12, 14:32 | Comments (11)

Mac Mini til salg for DKK 3.500 [DK]

Hvis du overvejer at switche, eller i det mindste bare snuse til det grønne græs på den anden side, så har jeg lige tilbudet. Min Mac Mini er til salg for DKK 3.500 (nypris ~5K). Det er en maskine med 1.25Ghz / 40GB / 512 DDR Ram / Airport Extreme / Bluetooth / Combo Drive / 32MB ATI Radeon 9200. Den er købt d. 27 januar, så der er stadigvæk et par måneders Apple garanti på den.

Skriv på david [at] loudthinking [dot] com, hvis det har interesse. Det skal selvsagt ske inden tirsdag morgen, hvor jeg rejser til US.

November 11, 18:32 | Comments (25)

Why Java (presumably) won't go anywhere soon

Michael Yuan is telling the world that Ruby on Rails won't replace Java for web-applications. And he's right. No, really. It's not. And here's the prime reason why:

In software engineering speak, the actual implementation of a system using a specific programming language has the lowest value in the value chain, and can be easily outsourced.

This statement contains two assumptions:

  1. First you complete the specification, then you do the implementation
  2. Implementation is the mechanical and trivial part

If you agree to those assumptions, Michael is absolutely right. And lots of software shops, managers, and apparently some programmers do. Not Rails, not any other innovation, evolution, or revolution in software is going to change that any time soon. This is ingrained baggage.

If you don't agree to those assumptions, however, you probably already know just how deep the rabbit hole goes. Needless to say, I'm one of those people. I don't believe that you can meaningfully separate specification and implementation and I most certainly don't believe that implementation is either trivial or mechanical.

Of course the rejection of those assumptions is closely tied to culture. 37signals is a small 7-man shop, so implementation and execution is the bulk of what we do. It's the bottleneck. If you work at Mega Corp Inc. under five layers of management and need to play the corporate politics game, then implementation is very unlikely to be your prime concern.

Again, Michael is spot on when he says that the superior solutions doesn't always win. In many environments, I'd wager that they rarely win. Technical excellence seem to have a inverse correlation to the size and age of most corporations. "Nobody ever got fired for...". Right now that sentence ends in Java.

As I've mused on before, I actually hope it stays that way. I'd really hate to become the end of that sentence. Because with it comes a world of distractions (and hurt and suffering) that just isn't a place that I want to be.

Oh, and just so you don't think I'm all happy nilly with Michael, let me just say that I think that the stuff about new languages needing a brand new area is bullocks. But I'll be a good sport and trade that remark for a book recommendation that I think would be beneficial (not just for Michael, though, you should read it too).

November 07, 14:46 | Comments (8)

My friends, I bid you farewell

My compadres from the Danish internet and startup scene have been so gracious as to throw me a farewell party the night before SK0943 takes me to Chicago for period unknown.

So Monday the 14th at 20.00, I'll be debriefed on Rails, 37signals, how to make an impact, create a stir, and see it all through with a smile.

I'm told we can fit around 50 people at Admiral Gjeddes Gaard. If you intend to show please jot a comment on Pind's blog and sharpen your Danish tongue. It'll be free and there will be beer.

Thanks so much to Madsen-Mygdal, Pind, von Haller, Nyholm, and Yang for putting this show together. I am very honored.

November 05, 14:43 | Comments (29)

A better model for the future?

Paul Graham is right on the money with The Venture Capital Squeeze. Not so much because he labels me "a better model for the future" (though flatter always helps), but because he once again highlights that the future of software is not to accept that status quo and just throw more resources at it — neither labor from India or capital from the VCs:

During the Bubble, a lot of people predicted that startups would outsource their development to India. I think a better model for the future is David Heinemeier Hansson, who outsourced his development to a more powerful language instead. A lot of well-known applications are now, like BaseCamp, written by just one programmer. And one guy is more than 10x cheaper than ten, because (a) he won't waste any time in meetings, and (b) since he's probably a founder, he can pay himself nothing.

You can gain even more productivity by simply routing around the mainstream technology choices and go for something simpler. And that can give you a real edge. I love the fact that Rails is contributing to that edge for companies willing to partake. But at the same time it makes me a little bit ambivalent about the future growth of Ruby on Rails.

Some part of me actually enjoys the vision that Rails would never become mainstream. That it would remain available only to the smaller, agile teams, and thus give them a sustainable advantage to compete against the big guys with.

Which in terms would lead to a celebration of the big honking ships continued use of heavy-weight frameworks and environments as well as their liberal use of outsourcing. The further your competitors go down that route, the easier it will be to use your edge to win big.

November 02, 14:39 | Comments (11)

Interviews with eWEEK and Jarkko Laine

As part of the research for the Ruby on Rails Dev Framework on Track for Growth story, eWEEK interviewed me about programmer happiness and the secrets of Ruby on Rails. At EuroOSCON, I was interview by Jarkko Laine for his Master's thesis on open source and small businesses.

I apologies in advance if you're tired of hearing me recycle the same old subjects. I definitely need to come up with a new pony soon.

November 01, 12:55 | Comments (46)

12 reasons MS doesn't cut it for web development

Robert Scoble has an honest and poignant analysis of why the Microsoft suite of tools just doesn't cut it for web-application development at the moment.

One example of how we feel this with Rails is by how hard it is to retain a maintainer for the SQL Server database adapter. None of the developers that have been or are working on it are in it for the long term. It's just that they need it while they either migrate their shop over to open-source alternatives or find a new job that doesn't force them to use Microsoft tools.

Naturally, that's a pretty self-selected pool of talent. And its very easy to adopt the view that nobody interesting are using Microsoft for the web anyway. That Microsoft is for medium-sized businesses full of sales people and techies past the expiration date. Surely, that isn't so.

But the reason that this is even a viable caricature comes from that fact that Microsoft is now entirely optional. No part of the stack needs Microsoft. Not on the client, not on the server. And I think that's a pretty tough challenge for a company that used to be a necessity. You have to compete very differently when you're just one choice out of many instead of the only show in town.

To be frank, I don't ever see the good times coming back for them. Microsoft will have to move to higher grounds. Get out of the infrastructure race. Like Apple did. There is no dominant future for the Microsoft tool chain for web development in sight. But I doubt the company will acknowledge that before it's game over.