Rails and Wired magazine
Posted on Feb 23, 2008
Apparently I am in the March Wired magazine. I am not sure exactly what the title of the article or the exact content - but I was interview about my views on the rails community as someone who left the community and moved on to other things. (I think - I haven’t seen it - just heard that i was in it.)
My history with rails is a tumultuous one. I first played with rails pre 1.0 while working with my buddy Andy Carlson. In a flurry of excited and hilarious programming, I learned ruby and started building web applications in rails. It was a brilliant time. I enjoyed the layout and structure of the applications. I enjoyed the beauty of the Ruby language. Probably most of all, I enjoyed the excitement of learning a new framework and language. One of the things I did - was recreate a couple apps I had written in php. The development time was LOADs faster than the time the same app took to write in PHP. Blew my mind.
Suddenly I was a rails advocate. I advocated Seth Godin use rails for his Squidoo project (he used PHP - I guess I wasn’t convincing enough, but he employs a great PHP guy, so no worries). I ended up teaching Rails to Greg Narain (who now has a rails consultant firm) and I eventually even brought up using rails at skinnyCorp. Right about the time I got turned down to use rails at skinnyCorp (right when I started. hah), I started to notice that any time my rails sites got traffic, they would crash. Then, the upgrade to post 1.0 rails code killed all my rails apps. So I made the sad decision to move a lot of them back to PHP. My servers stopped groaning, I didn’t have problems with an upgrade path - but I was bummed because I didn’t have a good rake.
Since I was doing PHP full time around this time period, I started trying to move what I learned from rails into our PHP work. I was probably 100% a better coder because of ruby and rails. I was a staunch MVC layout supporter. I was very against procedural PHP in our apps and I fought to the death to try and get all my apps (including skinnyCorps) to have a layout and framework that created a rapid development environment and made sense. (luckily I had the help of Kanno to work this out. He totally helped). For inspiration and education I continued to read various rails blogs and started paying attention to other framework projects - django, cakephp to name my favorites. While dabbling in these other communities i started to notice how negative the rails community was.
This is what I talked to the wired writer about.
I hate how hard it is to get around in the rails community. From sitting on IRC and mentioning that I use php and then having a flame war erupt, to having to defend various non rails design patterns to every n00b out there who doesn’t know who Martin Fowler is. It was draining. And to tell you the truth, that is the primary reason that when I left rails - I never came back. In my experience learning other languages, and other frameworks - I never once heard “omg. you are totally doing it WRONG.” Only while working with the rails community did I ever hear that. and I heard it often. and from the rails leaders.
I think that the rails leaders are killing the rails community. I don’t think zed was entirely correct - but I do think he had some great points. But I have been out of it for a minute, so I can’t really speak for recent events. But I see what the intraweb sees. And I see a community who is lead by people who are negative, rather mean and not willing to accept criticism at all. But then again, who is able to easily accept criticism and when they are criticized, how should they respond?
I have no idea. But for me, I would have liked any reaction that wasn’t snarky, soapboxy and that solved the problem - because there are problems and telling people they are wrong is not going to solve them. I think the rails community should probably watch this video. They should think before they post. They should abandon their emotions when talking about programming and technology. They should get girlfriends. Just kidding - all the rails coders I know have hot girlsfriends/wives (which probably exacerbates the annoyance when they are dicks online).
Anyway. Since I live in a glass house and all, I am going to go outside and see if I can’t find the new wired. Hopefully I don’t look like a dick in it.