Aug 3 2009

The Rubyist: July 2009 Edition

Here is a recap of the top Ruby-related links for the month of July 2009. Links for The Rubyist are provided by A Rubyist Railstastic Adventure, a tumblelog.




Jun 1 2009

The Rubyist: May 2009 Edition

Ruby – I was really excited to play with _Why’s latest project, Bloopsaphone. Bloopsaphone allows you to program 8-bit sounds…

JRuby – There are still a lot of news and tutorials regarding deploying JRuby on Rails in Google App Engine for Java.

Ruby on Rails – This month saw a lot of good articles regarding Ruby on Rails… I particularly enjoyed reading ‘A Django Developer’s Views on Rails.’

RailsConf 2009 -There can’t be a Rails conference without some sort of argument or debate spilling over to the blogosphere. This year is no different but fortunately the biggest issue was the mass walk out of the Keynote speech.

May 29 2009

Being a Better Rails Developer

If you search for ways to become a better developer you will find nearly 70 million results. After reading as many of those results as possible and still learn something, I boiled down all the advice to the following general axioms.

  • Read Everything
  • Learn Fast, Learn Everything
  • Practice What You Know
  • Try New Things
  • Strive for Simplicity
  • Write and Teach
  • Assume Nothing
  • Question Everything
  • It is Not Personal
  • Know Your Tools
  • Rinse and Repeat

The advice above can be used in just about any industry by anyone trying to advance in their career. This advice holds true whether your are a Ruby programmer or investment banker. The truth is that being a better students makes us better at whatever we do. If we learn how to learn, to see the patterns blindfolded, to navigate up and down the different layers of abstractions, to troubleshoot and debug code you never seen before, to ask the right questions at the right time… all these things help us write better programs no matter what language or technology stack you use.

That said, I wanted to illustrate these rules with more concrete examples specific to programming. Given a particular job title, say Ruby on Rails Developer, we can break down the above axioms to the following advice for being a better Rails developer…

  • Read Everything
    • Download sample/Open Source apps
    • Dig into Rails source code
    • Read tutorials
    • Read books
  • Learn Fast, Learn Everything
    • Master Ruby
    • Know SQL
    • Understand CSS
    • Use JavaScript
    • Learn HTML
    • Pickup HTTP
    • Use FTP
  • Practice What You Know
    • Write code, scripts, and libraries
    • Start Open Source projects
    • Submit patches
  • Try New Things
    • Tryout latest release
    • Find new plugins
    • Find new gems
    • Use different frameworks
    • Integrate with new services
    • Catch up on a new languages
  • Write and Teach
    • Write prototypes
    • Write a gem
    • Write plugins
    • Write tutorials
    • Give presentations, brown bags, tech talks
  • Assume Nothing
    • Don’t believe the hype, dogma, marketing
    • Test everything
    • Quantify assumptions
  • Know Your Tools
    • Know editor shortcuts
    • Know editor code templates
    • Use editor plugins
    • Use version control
    • Use FireBug

Again, these are just a few words of advice that we can exercise to help us write better software. No one rule or axiom is enough. Other Rails developer would add additional advice, this is especially true with each new release of Rails. With each new release of Rails or Rails specific tools, we add and remove some of the advice given for a Rails developer. If I had written a list like this for a Java EE developer in 2001, that list would be out of date for a Java EE developer today. The key is that no one process, tool, framework, library, or language will make us better programmers but our daily developer routine, our behavior, and discipline…

May 15 2009

RailsConf 2009 Presentations

If you missed RailsConf 2009 earlier in the month, Blip.TV has a few of the RailsConf presentations online so that you can catch up. Here are some of the highlights from RailsConf 2009.

May 3 2009

The Rubyist: April 2009 Edition

Here is a recap of the top Ruby-related links for the month of April 2009. Links for The Rubyist are provided by A Rubyist Railstastic Adventure, a tumblelog.

Ruby – Earlier in the month the hot topic in the Ruby community involved Twitter and their use of Scala for some back-end processes. Just suggesting that Ruby, and in particular Rails does not scale starts the debate all over again. This time Dave Thomas chipped in with a defense for Twitter’s right to choose the right tool for the right job. Other highlights are the NetBeans’ support of Ruby 1.9 and MountainWest RubyConf 2009 videos.

Rails – A favorite post this month regarding Rails was an article from Chad Fowler and a list he compiled of 20 Ruby on Rails development no-no’s. Chad gather much of the material for the article from fellow Rubyists via Twitter. Also of interest was the Ruby on Rails template for creating Twitter applications.

JRuby – Google recently released Java support for Google App Engine, this means that there has been a lot of activity around JRuby on Rails on App Engine.

GoGaRuCouchDeBate – Scalability is not the only stigma in the Ruby community. The other hot button has been the brash attitude and behavior of certain key members in the community. This all came to boiling point, yet again, at Golden Gate RubyConf when Matt Aimonetti gave a presentation entitled CouchDB: Perform Like a Pornstar. The subject matter of the presentation was overshadows by the images of scantily clad women, then the allegations of male chauvinism amongst the rank and file in the Ruby and Rails community. The way recent Ruby conference have been shaping up, I think RailsConf 2009 in Las Vegas will have strippers giving presentations on cache girth and performance.

Apr 8 2009

Google App Engine for Java

Google App Engine was originally released, in Google beta, a year ago. Google App Engine originally had programming support for the Python programming language, but today, on the one year anniversary of its beta release Google has added Java support. Building Java support into Google App Engine means that they have built it for JRuby, Groovy, JavaScript, and all those languages that run on the JVM.

You can request access to Google App Engine for Java via this sign up. I am sure there will be a more news, documentation, and tutorials at Google I/O Developer Conference in May. In the mean time here are plenty of resources to get you started.

Google App Engine for Java