Skip to main content

San Francisco Ruby Group Meetup - June 2006

Listened with interest to the July presentations at Ruby meetup in San Francisco. This is my fourth meetup and the group has more than doubled.

Here is a review of actual presentations...

The Danger of the Hype

The hype is not receeding, in fact it is only increasing. People are reluctant to discuss shortcomings, and are all about hyping each other up. This is a dangerous ground to be on. I am surprised that at all meetups I've been to, and at the Canada on Rails conference there were exceedingly few mentions of issues, problems, pains. Sure Ruby solves some, but nothing's for free. What's the cost then?

As I am coding through my third month in Ruby, I am starting to appreciate both the power and the weaknesses of the language, as well as the framework. It must be the non-conformist in me: I just can't follow the herd without questioning. The J2EE herd is all too fresh in my mind from only a few years ago, so a healthy doze of scepticism is what it is - healthy.

Ruby

So I finally came across the first bug due to languge flexibility in Ruby. My model in our Rails project is a Book. Part of the book meta data is binding. Believe it or not, you really can't use attribute called "binding", because under some conditions it silently overrides method Proc.binding(). The symptoms were really obscure errors upon saving the model, something about type mismatch of block parameters.

Sometimes it's nice to know explicitly what you are overriding, just in case it may bite you in the ass later. This was 3+ hours spent debugging the issue (between myself and several others)... Of course have to counter it to the productivity gains achieved with Rails development, which everyone is talking about. Well, I am not quite sure I am ready to make this judgement, I think more time will tell.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Car or Auto Make-Model-Year Database : For Breakfast

Make Model What?If you like me were tasked with loading a database of recent car makes/models/years, you would start by looking on the web and seeing if someone else just has it out there, readily available, hopefully for free, but perhaps for a tiny nominal fee.?If only it was that simple... I looked and looked, and couldn't find anything that would fit the above requirements. So I thought, who would know about US car models better than Kelly Blue Book? So I went on their site, and sure enough they have a javascript file that lists all known to them makes and models of used cars. Since the file is public, I figured it's not really "evil" if I scrape and parse it for my own benefit. Disagree? Have a better source? Then leave a comment.Anyway, to cut the long story short, I'm hoping to save a day or so to someone else who may, like me, be looking for this information. The ruby module shown below retrieves and parses the javascript from KBB site into a Ruby da…

Rails3 and The Inevitable Fragmentation

I remember one of the early talks at the Canada On Rails in 2006 had a slide showing how many books one needs to read to be able to write web applications in Rails, versus Java.Of course Java side had about 10 books: Java SE, Java EE, Hibernate, Struts/Tiles/JSF, WebServices, Ant, Maven, Eclipse, JUnit, etc, etc.The Rails slide proudly showed the now hopelessly outdated "Agile Web Development With Ruby on Rails", 1st edition. Those were the times. Back then, during my work for Blurb.com myself and three other engineers managed to learn ruby, rails and build a fully functional e-commerce site in about 3 months. I was blown away by the productivity gains compared to Java, where months could be spent laying out the project, and creating all necessary infrastructure for builds, deployment, automated testing with or without the database, etc.Fast-forward to 2010. We are on a brink of Rails3 release, and oh boy, has the landscape changed since back then. I would argue that in s…

Why I Like PostgreSQL

Today I gave a short presentation at work about PostgreSQL, and why I much prefer it to MySQL.

PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Eternal Battle
I may be misreading this, but it seems that there is a recent trend within startups to move away from MySQL, probably thanks to folks like Heroku on one side (who use PostgreSQL to the extreme, and help and contribute to it's development), vs folks like Oracle on the other side, tainting the "open source pureness" of MySQL :)

At my work we currently use a mid-sized MySQL 5.1 Percona instance, which is holding up quite well I must admit. Both PostgreSQL and MySQL have definitely converged to cover most features that people want, but my leaning is still towards PostgreSQL. I just agree with it's focus on data integrity, recovery, constraints, extensibility, while some of the early decisions in MySQL's design do not agree with me at all (like truncating long strings, 1/0 instead of booleans, ambiguous group by, etc). I think that data …