Developers Evaluate Ruby on Rails Updates

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-02-02 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

And some of the development team at Intridea, a consultancy and software development and support shop that focuses on Ruby, Rails and agile development, weighed in with thoughts on the new Rails version.

"I'm looking forward to the addition of Application Templates," said Adam Bair, part of the Intridea team. "At Intridea, we regularly create brand-new applications for our clients; this feature will give us the ability to bootstrap new projects quickly and easily so we can deliver the initial iteration of an application that much faster."

Pradeep Elankumaran, another Intridea team member, said, "Moving to Rack finally changes Rails into a project that efficiently utilizes most of the newer Ruby libraries and practices."

Intridea developer Brent Collier said, "I'm a fan of the new default scope. Also, the nested attributes will definitely make multimodel forms easier out of the box."

And Brendan Lim, yet another developer at Intridea, said, "I'm excited to hear that engines are coming back into Rails in 2.3. This will allow us to have modular, reusable applications that will work within other applications-like we have created with our SocialSpring platform in the form of coils."

Matt Jankowski, chief operating officer at Thoughtbot, a Web development consulting company that has been building Web applications with Ruby on Rails since late 2005 and says now 100 percent of its new project work is Ruby or Rails, said, "It's encouraging to see stable releases with interesting if not earth-shattering new features continuing to be released. Obviously the 'big news' for Rails over the next six months is the merge with the Merb project, but we're glad they got this feature-plus-stability release out the door before that came."

As for specifics of the new release, Jankowski said the Rack support "is a great change, and I think adds to the momentum we're seeing for Rails being part of rather than the entirety of the 'Ruby Web framework ecosystem.' The way Rack works it's trivial to swap in and out different Ruby apps to be part of one larger Web project, and we're glad Rails embraced this standard."

Regarding Engines, Jankowski said the promise of this feature is appealing to Thoughtbot developers, as Thoughtbot often builds applications with similar functionality.

"We've seen other frameworks and languages try this concept to varying degrees of success, so I think the jury is still out on whether this will succeed-but we give the core team credit for at least creating an official way by which people can succeed in this area, and really exposing as much of the framework as needed to do this right," Jankowski said.

Moreover, he said a quick survey of Thoughtbot developers shows that other Rails 2.3 upgrades such as nested form support, backtrace silencer integration, dynamic scopes and routing efficiencies are very popular "supporting cast" features in the new release. And, "We have a passionate split on the inclusion of Object#try into Rails core," he said. "Half of us are disgusted by it, the other half think it's great."

Overall, said Jankowski, "We've been really impressed with the core team's ability to respond to feedback that the community felt like it couldn't get things into Rails or understand the process. I think this release is very community-invested, and it looks like Rails 3.0 will be more of the same."

Besides, Jankowski said, "Ruby 1.9+ plus Rails 2.3+ plus the still growing library of gems and plug-ins being created by everyone make the Ruby Web community a fun place to be productive."

Ian McFarland, vice president of technology at Ruby on Rails consultancy Pivotal Labs, said, "2.3 just came up in our morning stand-up today. You can tell the guys are enthusiastic about it from the title of this blog post: Standup 2/2/2009: Rails 2.3 is gonna be sweet. ... In general, this feels like a nice set of improvements and clean-up. There wasn't anything in this release that felt speculative or off-target, which is great."

Hansson did not say when he expects Rails 2.3 to be generally available. However, it is likely to be available by RailsConf, the annual conference for Ruby on Rails developers, which will take place in early May in Las Vegas. Hansson and others have said a preview version of Rails 3.0, which will include integration with Merb, is slated to be available at RailsConf.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comments by Pivotal Labs' Ian McFarland.



 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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