RubyConf: Streamlined

Justin Gehtland of Relevance gave a RubyConf session titled Streamlined: A Framework for Data-centric Web Applications. Streamlined is a Ruby on Rails application that is meant to be used in the back-end to manage and administer application data. According to Justin, these back-end administrative views are repetitive and similar, usually with a login, tabular data, and CRUD support. Justin was tired of hacking these administration views for clients so his company developed Streamlined. Right out the box, Streamlined supports authorization, pagination, user preferences, and in a future release it will support role based authorization. Justin mentions that Streamlined goes beyond scaffolding and provides a feature rich ajax powered relationship management. As he stated, “To quote one of our preeminent thinkers of our time, Paris Hilton, ‘that’s HOT!'” Streamlined uses ajax views by default but this can be easily changed. In most situations all you need is to replace the CSS to get started with Streamlined as it provides the 80% of a clients’ requirements. For the remaining 20%, Streamlined allows custom views and has a great declarative DSL for modifying the default behavior.

Speaking of declarative Domain Specific Languages, Justin went on a rant about using Ruby for configuration files. He suggested that when converting libraries from other programming environments we Rubyist should not port their dependence on XML. If possible we should even avoid using yml files for configuration. Justin suggested we use Ruby code in a DSL-like fashion for configuring tools and applications. Justin reminded the audience that the benefit of XML is that it is human readable plain text with markups. Ruby based DSL configuration files are plain text and often read like English.

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