Congratulations to my fellow Dane and good friend Allan Odgaard. TextMate snapped up the Apple Design Award for Best Mac OS X Developer Tool. What a fantastic honor for him.
I can't fathom that it's already two years ago that I spent a couple of months over the summer working with Allan to get TextMate released. While it was a fun time helping Allan, I must admit that I was acting on entirely selfish reasons. I was dreading the choices for a programming editor on the Mac and saw TextMate as the chance to escape the under-whelming offerings.
TextMate is today without a doubt the most important OS X application on my machine. Most everything else has worthy alternatives, but TextMate is in a class of its own. It's a big part of the reason that Ruby on Rails programmers are picking up Macs in droves. Props to Apple for recognizing its importance.
One of my guilty pleasures is proving people wrong. Few things get me more fired up to achieve than hearing how inappropriate or idealistic or unrealistic the idea that I'm pushing is.
The last three years has been flush with pleasures of this kind. Rails has gone from a glimpse in my eye to a phenomenon of fantastical momentum. From a handful of early beta testers to tens of thousands of programmers world wide.
Tim O’Reilly recently shared book sales showing Ruby jump another ~700% (on top of the 1500% last year) to become bigger than Perl in addition to being bigger than Python.
That’s not a reflection on either of these two other fine languages, but rather a testament to the rise of the freedom languages. While we may not appreciate the same sense of aesthetics, we still share an allegiance of overarching priorities.
There are many others, though, who do not share that allegiance of priorities. The kind of people who’ve labeled Ruby and Rails merely buzzwords of a transient hype, soon to be forgotten, soon to be extinct.
When I started pitching the idea of a new framework that would ship a picture rather than a puzzle and used a niche language to boot, these people gave it anywhere from next week to six months. Then the starry-eyed teenagers would discover the next thing shiny and move on. Such is fashion, fickle at its core. Easy come, easy go.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, Rails did its part to bridge the worlds of quick and clean. Bridge dazzle and sensibility. Attracting smart people from the mainstream camps and giving them a story to believe in: “It doesn’t have to suck”.
And that continues to be our story. One of beauty, happiness, and motivation. Taking pride and pleasure in your work and in your tools. That story simply isn’t a fad, it’s a trend. A story that allows for words like passion and enthusiasm to be part of the sanctioned vocabulary of developers without the need to make excuses for yourself. Or feel embarrassed about really liking what you do.
So for my (delayed) celebration of Rails turning two years old, I salute all early adopters who dared stick their neck out and be the subject of ridicule from their suspicious peers.
Let’s share a brief moment of guilty pleasure for proving them wrong, then move on to the longer lasting pleasure of simply sticking to it for our own sake. And have understanding for those conditioned by past disappointments to classify all that is new and ripe with passion to be uninteresting, to be all hype, no calories.
We’re past the point of infatuation, this is love, and love is inclusive. Happy birthday Rails, happy birthday Railers.