The Agile Web Development with Rails book is reaching beyond the tens of thousands of English speaking programmers who picked it up. So its been wonderful to see 2006 kicked off with translations of the book into French, German, and Japanese.
The French version has been translated and extended by Laurent Julliard and Richard Piacentini and the book was published by Eyrolles. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard at the Web 2.0 Summit in London recently and received a copy of the book. It looks great! Naturally, I don't understand much of what it's actually saying, but I trust that Laurent and Richard did a smashing job. For more French Railing, do checkout RailsFrance.org.
The German version is published by Hanser, who has earlier also released Rapid Web Development mit Ruby on Rails by Ralf Wirdemann and Thomas Baustert. I don't know too much about this version and it doesn't list the name of its translators, so perhaps it's "just" a straight translation from the English original. But this is actually the only of the translations I'd have a chance of understanding, if I can summon some recollection of my school-days German.
The Japanese version was translated with help from none other than Shugo Maeda. Shugo is an institution in the Ruby universe and responsible for lots of libraries including mod_ruby and eRuby. I've been honored by him taking an interest in Rails and even helping to bring the book out in a Japanese version. It's published by Ohmsha and there's an official support site for the book too.
These three books goes a long way to show what a global phenomenon Ruby on Rails has become. I'm very grateful to all the translators for making Rails even more accessible in countries where English is not the primary language for programming. Hopefully these are just the first translations out of many.
Thanks to a bug in Apple's ordering system, Jason and I took delivery of our duo 2.16ghz/7200 rpm MacBooks yesterday — just five days after placing the order. There's never a bug so bad that it doesn't benefit someone, so yay for computer fallacies. And yes, it's all that. Possibly more.
The first test I conducted was running the test suite for Active Record against the MySQL adapter. I did not even have to wait until the last case to know it was good. The dots were racing across the screen and in just 11 seconds, it was done, telling me that 705 tests and 2307 assertions exhibited 0 failures and 0 errors. Compared to roughly 36 seconds on my Powerbook 1.67Ghz. That's ~3.3 times faster!
And if that sounded good, it's about to get better. The most impressive part of the MacBook Pro is not its peak performance against a G4 when both machines just run a single application. No, the dazzle hits when you actually use your machine for real work. Running multiple applications at the same time. Say, have two Campfires burning, Mail.app delivering, iTunes playing, and GMail sucking the life out of Camino.
While such a scenario might bump my MacBook to take all of 14 or 15 seconds to run the Active Record suite, the G4 absolutely croaks. Marcel was doing a run on his machine while having a ton of stuff running and it came in at a paltry 120 seconds. You do the math on that one.
That's the kind of stuff lab-coat benchmarks rarely pin down and something that takes more of a feel than a stopwatch. The MacBook just feels freaking fast.
I woke up to the pleasant surprise this morning to see Campfire mentioned all over the blogosphere. Part of that coverage came from Russell Beattie:
Personally, I think it’s insane. If you’re a startup right now and you’ve got limited resources to get apps developed, creating Yet Another Web Service is just moronic. It’s like developing client/server Visual Basic apps in 1996. The *real* revolution is taking off already and they’re messing around with last decade’s technology.
Stages of reaction: 1) WTF?, 2) Is he serious?, 3) What is he talking about?
And this is coming from someone with an unhealthy interest in mobiles already. Someone who usually buy the latest phones, appeared on TV hyping 3G, and convinced Dave Thomas to go ebooks so I could read them on my phone. In other words, I'm a huge mobile fan, and even I have to question what kind of universe Russell is inhabiting.
Making Campfire primarily for phones would have been a horrible idea. Campfire is aimed for having long-running, text-based chatting for business in order to make ad-hoc decisions about stuff you then do. We use Campfire to decide on which features to do next, what bugs to fix now. So the context is usually not one that is as interesting if you're away from your primary work environment.
And secondly, discussing at length over most phones simply sucks. Despite having T9'ned for years and years, it's still painfully slow compared to a full-size keyboard. I have both AIM and IRC applications on my phone, but they've rarely served as anything but party favors. As in "look what you can do with a mobile these days!". For practical use, it's very rare that I can't hold whether I'm interested in saying until I get in front of a real keyboard. Or that I think it beats just calling or sending a one-off SMS.
So I caution anyone to take Beattie's hyper excitement for the mobile as platform as sound business advice. Yes, there are indeed a handful of apps that has a perfect fit for when you're away from the computer or targets a demographic that use the mobile more than computers, but its certainly not the bulk of them. And definitely not in this space.
I also hope Yahoo is not listening too much to this. I'd hate to see them follow this advice and treat the computer as a second-rank device after the mobile. Although I'm sure Google would love to see them make that kind of priorities.
We launched Campfire today: Group chat for businesses in the browser. It's by far the most advanced Ajax application we've done, but also the most resource intensive. We're currently polling every three seconds for every user active in a chat and while we'll soon be able to regulate that between three and thirty seconds (depending on how active the chat is), it has certainly presented us with "special needs".
But the resources and the Ajax work has definitely paid off. Campfire feels as natural as a web-page and IRC at the same time. File sharing actually works and we do inline image previews to really spice it up. And most importantly, it's something that we really, really need ourselves. I've found that's been the best way for us to do something interesting: Just need it!
This is also the 37signals graduation project for Sam Stephenson and Marcel Molina, who both joined the company in December. So I'm naturally very proud of both of them and happy to share a "ship it!" moment with them.
So check out our 5th launch and Ruby on Rails-based product. We hope you'll find it as useful as we have.
MeasureMap just got bought out by Google. I believe that's the first Ruby on Rails application to be picked up in a Web 2.0'ish buyout. And it didn't even have to launch, take that Yahoo! Speaking of, I'm now having a sale of futures in ideas for apps that I haven't even thought of. Who's bidding?
No seriously, congratulations to the MeasureMap team, which includes Rails core member Nicholas Seckar and always interesting Jeffrey Veen. I've been in on the beta for a while and there's definitely some interesting ideas and thoughts going on there. Statistics that goes beyond the numbersTM. Mighty nice.
Now let's see some Getting Real and a launch!
Chad just announced the premiere event of RailsConf: Why the Lucky Stiff is going to be there! Forget all about the keynotes from Martin Fowler, Paul Graham, Dave Thomas, and myself. This is the killer feature.
I had the great fortune to see a _why show at OSCON not once, but twice. Him and his band, the thirsty cups, delivered an absolutely fantastic show. Especially in the first performance at FOSCON, which included a song about install.rb that was so freaking funny we were all at the brink of tears in laughter.
But for RailsConf, he's putting together an all new show entitled The Professor's Pudding: Hotel War 1945 ...and other carefully guarded hacks. I have no idea what this entails exactly, but I'm positive it's going to be hilarious.
If you haven't had the pleasure of venturing into _why's weird world, then I recommend to wheat your appetite with his why's (poignant) guide to ruby. Unquestionably one of the funniest (and weirdest) introductions to a programming language ever.
RailsConf is shaping up to be a very special event indeed.
UPDATE: 150 new seats for RailsConf has been made available. So if the appearance of _why made you curse not having a ticket, here's a final chance to rectify.
UPDATE 2: The additional 150 seats have been sold in less than 24 hours. So we're all full and ready to rock with 550 Railers in the house.
The first official Rails conference has opened its doors to registrations and is tempting with a wide variety of auxiliary announcements. While all the sessions haven't been announced yet, the keynotes are final. We got Martin Fowler, Paul Graham, Dave Thomas, and yours truly all lined up to deliver anchors of blast.
There's a limited number of seats, so just like RubyConf this year, we expect RailsConf to sell out well in advance. That's one great reason to register now, another is the $400 super early-bird price that only lasts until the end of the month. After that it's $475 for a while and finally $550 once we get past April 18th. I doubt we'll have any seats left to sell at $550, though.
As if you needed additional reason, the first 100 lucky people who sign up and donate at least $40 to charity will get free access to a pre-conference day called The Rails Guidebook where Dave Thomas and Mike Clark will teach you Ruby on Rails. So if you're really quick, that's a fantastic opportunity to get even more value out of your trip to Chicago in June.
Yes, in case you forgot, RailsConf 2006 is going down in Chicago from June 22nd through 26th at the Wyndham O’Hare hotel. Three days of happy programming for people who love beautiful code. I expect to see you there!
UPDATE: It took just about a week and all 400 tickets to RailsConf has been sold out! That was quick. Congratulations to all who made it. June in Chicago is going to be a special time. Nothing like that first-conference atmosphere.