Rails has only been out for a month and a half, but that's proven to be more than enough time to rally a community with a sincere love for the platform.
As a programmer that chose to convince his sponsor to bet the next big thing on a relatively unknown language called Ruby and an unexisting framework named Rails, it's with intense satisfactory to see this rally come together so quickly.
I'm especially pleased to hear how it's affecting the position of like-minded developers towards web applications. They're actually excited again. It's replacing drudgery with fun. As Moody says, "Rails has set me free". And he continues:
I have felt trapped. Instead of creating easy to use and easy to maintain web applications I created huge messes. I’ve tried Perl, PHP, and Python each with the same result.
That was until I found Rails. Now instead of cringing when it comes to time put code behind a UI, I jump right in. Now instead of wasting time trying to determine where an error lives, I know exactly which controller I’ve made a mistake in. I can now spend my time designing the best backend and UI and less time worrying how I’m going to tie the two together.
The mental agony of creating "a mess" lies deep with most developers. The elegance with which we've solved the challenge is closely correlated with feelings of accomplishment and even happiness. It can very easily be straight on depressing to work without these positive feelings. And that's when a single broken window becomes a ghetto and you can see no way out by to tear it all down and try again.
So to be able to drag yourself out of that spot and into at least the perception of elegance can have a very positive effect on your self-esteem and -image. Jorgen Hahn (aka Hari Seldon) reports:
I squealed with delight when I stumbled upon RubyOnRails. Prior to the ‘enlightenment’, I was but a lowly PHP programmer, slogging through thousands of lines of less-than-maintainable code. I was coercing Smarty, an innocent templating engine, to my evil whims. The innards of my latest PHP project looked like a multi-car accident.
Cue RubyOnRails. The sheer elegance of the thing has freed my mind from the mires of PHP. No longer is my vision limited by the tedium of PHP. Writing web-applications has become a pure joy.
So that's one side of the influx of developers coming to Rails. People who've always worked in the dynamic languages, but been unable to wrestle them into managable and maintainable applications.
The other side is at least as interesting. The #rubyonrails channel is filled with disillusioned Java developers that are forced to work with J2EE for pay while they attempt to seize every spare moment to work with Rails:
[13:08] radsaq goes back to enjoying his headache and his java
[14:43] radsaq smacks his head against java and struts
[19:57] we have this web app here at work that is a massive pain in the ass to maintain
[19:57] its written in java with hibernate, tiles, struts, etc.
[03:29] I want to work at a place that actively is looking to use the best tools for the job, not just pointy-haired boss mandated technologies like PHP and Java
[04:16] jbeimler (~firstname.lastname@example.org) left #rubyonrails (""sorry, stuck in javaland"").
Consider the credibility restored and the seriousness upped, then. Hari Sheldon is the nick name for Jorgen Hahn. I updated the post and linked to his web site, which btw is done in all Ruby on Rails.
Challenge by A Former Fan on September 08, 8:31
David - I've been a reader of your blog for a long time. I've been anxious for Ruby to be released since before you let anyone see it. I'm a fan of your work.
But I'm having to unsubscribe from your blog now, because you've become like the guy that just can't stop talking about himself. Every time you open your mouth, you're promoting yourself. All you can talk about is Rails, ActiveRecord, Instiki.
I'm not even saying this from the Danish law of "don't stand out". I'm saying it as someone who cares about you and thinks you are brilliant.
Please - stop gloating. For your own sake. It's repulsive.
I'm sorry that you feel that way and even more so that you need to say it behind a handle. That makes it all the easier for me to shrug and think whatever, which I can't think was your intension, if you really do care.
If you're tired of reading about Rails, Active Record, Instiki, Basecamp, and TextMate, I think you made a wise choice to unsubscribe, though. These are the projects that consume my professional life, so for me it's only natural to blog their becoming, development, and successes.
In my opinion, A Former Fan is close to truth. There is a difference between "talking about projects" and "praising personal projects on every corner". Self-promotion is good, and I like your ability to do it well - sure, you've managed to become quite famous in the community, but try not to overdo it.
Collecting every word said on the Internet about Rails/Instiki/etc. and republishing it here IS overdoing, in my opinion. People can find it in Google without this republishing. You, in turn, could start writing more about other stuff.
I'm glad to you chose to share your opinion, Leonya. And I do recognize that Loud Thinking has been going through a go-happy phase lately.
But that just reflects what I'm seeing, feeling, and following. I am feeling happy, excited, challenged, entertained, and overwhelmed by the development and reception to the projects I've been releasing. So that's exactly the kind of vibes I am returning to the world. Unfiltered, uncensored.
To me, that's the idea of a weblog. If that's not yours or if you think that the merry go-happy sing-along joyride has been either too intense, too long, or too boring, I welcome your choice of separation.
Perhaps when the euphoria wanes, disaster strikes, or the 15 minutes are up, you'll be more interested to reading again.
I would have to agree, that the tone I get from all of David's posts are just a reflection of what he feels, enthusiasm for Rails acceptance and praise, and a little bit about TextMate's popularity sparked solely from its brief cameo in the "This is how easy Rails is to setup and use" video. If I had something that I thought up/started being praised like Rails is I would be on cloud nine too.
I read David's weblog to get the more personal story of Rails, if you want just the cold facts hit up the official site. If you want David sans Rails, well Rails looks to be pretty ingrained, especially at this point.
I've been in the Ruby community for some time now, and Rails is one of the most exciting events to come our way. I'm glad that is promoting Rails as much as he is, since Rails is at least as cool as he thinks it is.
I've met David, and seen him speak, and I agree there is a an element of self-promotion, but I don't see this as any sort of problem. David is very adept at presenting what can be quite complex material so as to engage the audience. Part of that, I suspect, is getting people enthused as early as possible so they stick with you when things get complicated or tedious before the payoff.
And it seems that a person's own Web site would be a reasonable place to find endless comments about what preoccupies that person.
At the end of the day, if all the hype (justified or not) gets more people trying out Ruby, that's a win. Is there a risk that too much self-love will set up false expectations? Maybe. But, so far, many folks have drunk the Rails Kool-Aid with no regrets.