Developers Warm to Ruby on Rails 2.3 Update

The Ruby on Rails community delivers Rails 2.3 Release Candidate 1, asking developers to help test the latest release of the popular open-source Web application development framework before it goes final. Many developers approve the features of the new release, including Templates, Engines and Rack support.

The Ruby on Rails community has delivered a Release Candidate version of the next major release of the popular Web development framework Ruby on Rails, Ruby on Rails 2.3 RC 1.

In a blog post from Feb. 1, David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of the open-source Ruby on Rails technology, said: "Rails 2.3 is almost ready for release, but this package is so stock[ed] full of amazing new stuff that we're making dutifully sure that everything works right before we call it official."

Hansson then called on Rails developers to help test the latest release, as, "Lots of the underpinnings changed. Especially the move to Rack. So we need solid testing and will probably have a slightly longer than average release candidate phase to account for that."

Indeed, "This is one of the most substantial upgrades to Rails in a very long time," Hansson said.

Hansson listed among the top features in Rails 2.3 RC1:

"Templates: Allows your new skeleton Rails application to be built your way with your default stack of gems, configs, and more.Engines: Share reusable application pieces complete with routes that Just Work, models, view paths, and the works.Rack: Rails now runs on Rack which gives you access to all the middleware goodness.Metal: Write super fast pieces of optimized logic that routes around Action Controller.Nested forms: Deal with complex forms so much easier."

Dana Jones, lead developer for Sterling Rose Design, which specializes in Ruby on Rails development, said, "I think the most visible change is the nested attributes handling. It was the most-requested feature for quite awhile, and now the core team has delivered it. It will make it a lot easier for developers to build complex, nested forms without having to write a lot of 'kludgy' code by hand to slot the incoming parameters. Another big change-that won't even be apparent to most developers-is the move to Rack and away from CGI. This should hopefully result in improved load times for Web pages. There are a lot of new features that will make developing Ruby on Rails applications faster and more convenient-smarter partials, dynamic and default scopes, among others-but I think the nested attributes and Rack changes are really the biggies."

Justin Kay, a Rails developer at Northwest Real Estate Capital, said, "The thing that stands out to me is the huge scope of this release. There are a lot of fundamental changes going on in the codebase that are tied into the merging of Rails with Merb. The move to Rack being one of the key pieces."

Bob Martens, another developer who specializes in Rails, said of Rails 2.3 RC1, "For me, personally, the most convenient thing is the addition [of] Templates to the core of Rails. Even though I really am just starting out with Rails, in the grand scheme of things, being able to have some templates to work from in order to speed up initial development is going to be great. I can set up one to use PostgreSQL for the database for larger applications and one with SQLite for simple ones. I can set up which gems I will use for all applications, which will save me some time there as well. It is a convenience thing for me, and another great reason for me to use Rails."