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Archive for July, 2009

it’s not the framework, it’s you

Posted by javier ramirez on July 21, 2009

I’m getting tired already of the hype about Ruby on Rails and how it is better than any other framework past, present or future.

Sure Rails is a cute piece of software, and Ruby is a gorgeous language (supposing you are into programming languages, that is), but if you take a critical look at Rails, you could just say it’s another MVC framework.. Big deal.. And with some coupling issues between the layers too, which are fortunately being targeted on Rails 3.

Moreover, if you take a look at some of its components they could frankly be better. ActiveRecord, for example, is a wrapper ORM, which is implicitly tying you to the physical database layer, with one class per table, as opposed to a mapper ORM such as DataMapper or Hibernate. And the principle of least surprise is kind of a joke when it comes to some of the ActionView helpers and the parameters you have to pass along.

Still, as we like to say around here “Ruby on Rails mola infinito”, and it’s right now my favourite framework for non trivial web applications.

So.. what makes this framework so special? Is it only the absence of configuration and the sensible defaults? Would we sell ourselves for a couple of parlor tricks like those? Surely not.. specially with so many frameworks providing already sensible defaults. Come on, even in Java you can kind of forget about writing so much XML code if you make proper use of annotations and the like. No, it has to be something else.

Ruby on Rails has something that transcends the framework itself. It has you. The Mighty Developer. The Early Adopter. The Status Quo Challenger. The so-called Community —whatever that means.

Bottom line is, when I get together with people working with Rails, they are always in search of the holy grail of web development —or the nearest tavern, whatever comes first.. you have to love that kind of pragmatism. We like to break our assumptions, to learn new things and forget about the ones we already know.

We embrace Rails *today* but we are willing to embrace any other tool as long as we like it better. Do you remember the months before the Merb-Rails love affair? Half the Rails developers I know were already making eyes at Merb without the slightest hint of shame.

And by challenging the system, we are obliged to keep learning… and to find new ways to build the web. And instead of trying to make a carbon copy of what we did before, we like to start anew, because that’s where the fun is.

Sure you can argue this attitude is not the exclusive property of the Rails community. And I would second you on that based on theory.. but in practice, I have seen other some other communities lack this need of challenging. Maybe it’s because they have maturity models and certifications and black belts and whatnot…. And maybe having so many constraints is killing creativity; but fact is in some environments trying to take a step forward is seen as something odd, not desirable.

Rails will pass —or not— but as long as we keep alive the spirit of embracing change, we are entitled to be on the fun side of web development.

So, if you ask me, that’s the secret ingredient of Rails. Sure the language and the framework are cool, but the real power of Ruby on Rails is you.. and me.

update: please read the comments, since I was a bit ambiguous in the post and some points needed further explanation :)

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Posted in internet, javier ramirez, madrid, ruby, ruby on rails | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

it’s the end of the e-world as we know it

Posted by javier ramirez on July 7, 2009

Five years

I’ve been working for companies that didn’t last for so long. I’ve never been working in a company for so long come to think of it ;). I had best friends that didn’t last for so long either and I’ve seen plenty of marriages finishing much earlier than that.

Living on the world we live, it’s hard to remember exactly how it was five years ago. I’d say I was still using a landline for internet access. And I was sharing the 54K connection using a proxy.. how uncool is that? ;)

A bit over five years ago, gmail was launched.. More than five years later, gmail is finally removing the “beta” tag.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/google-apps-is-out-of-beta-yes-really.html

And I feel fine

Posted in internet, javier ramirez | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

sudo: rake: command not found

Posted by javier ramirez on July 6, 2009

I hate it when it happens, don’t you?

And it’s not only rake, but some other utilities too.

Bottom line is, in Ubuntu sudo is by default set to use a secure path. You can change the secure path if you are compiling from source, but we are talking Ubuntu here, the windows for the rest of us, so you get what your package says you get and that’s fine.

There are a couple of good solutions (other than switching to gentoo or slackware ;) )

If you want to use always the same PATH as you are using in your environment, you can just set an alias to sudo and make it set the PATH every time you are invoking it.

alias sudo=”sudo env PATH=$PATH”

It’s safe enough, but notice every time you are using sudo, you will be setting the environment to that of the calling user. Do your maths and reckon whether you are comfortable with that or not.

The option I chose is a bit pickier, making a link to the rake executable from /usr/local/bin, which is one of the secure paths.

sudo ln -s `which rake` /usr/local/bin/

Either way, your problem is solved. Now go save the world! You’re welcome ;)

Posted in javier ramirez, ruby, ubuntu | 3 Comments »