Category Archives: rails

Live from Barcamp – Day 2 – Session 4 [for me] Ruby on Rails panel

Looks like just two panelists.  Didn’t get the names.

Starting discussion with scaling issues of mongrel server.  I was expecting more of a discussion of rails, pros and cons, this seems to be more of a discussion of memory use on the server and scalability.  Database load failed to scale for Twitter, sooner than the ability to run enoug instances of mongrel.  Logan, jumps in and interjects “F*ck scalability”  with the contention that when you have the problem of scalability you better have money coming in and can then deal with the issue.   Is Ruby creating a brain-drain on Java talent.  Still more jobs for java developers?   There is a rebutting point that sometimes an app can catch fire before monetization and can outpace the scalability of Rails.  PHP might be better.  But how do you anticipate rate of acceptance, and usage growth?  In one company, not named, prototyping is done in rails, but all that code is tossed for the production environment. The prototyping is useful for creating real requirements, but in the company referred to it is all java for the production.

Lookup: panelist mentioned a video on building a blog app in rails in 15 minutes – assume this can be found on youtube

Panelist expresses difficulty in his experience getting separate rails apps to communicate well.  Not well-suited task for rails.  Application growth tends to get unmanageable.  Not just a rails problem.  Michael chimes in with a plug for Ruby and reinforcing the point that Rails is not very ruby-like.  Learning and loving Ruby can enrich the experience and open new doors.  Very expressive.  Syntax for ruby is very expressive.  Ruby is fully object-oriented.

Rails vs. Symfony — Symfony is a framework for php that borrows much from rails — panelists likes rails much better — more nuance, better unit testing.  Other frameworks, like Zend, etc.  don’t provide the full simplicity, but they do help put you in a better paradigm for development.

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Live from Barcamp pt. 4 — Merb

Well before Merb, a good chat between sessions with Cooper about JavaFX, Silverlight, and other things – found out that he has a book coming out – Way to go Cooper!

Now on to the session –

Michael Ivey presents on merb — this is bound to be over my head [or rather, even more over my head than some of the other sessions]

The paraphrase;

Lightweight MVC Ruby app server — for high performance dynamic pages — some people call it Rails light
Rails performance is getting slower
Merb is an answer to that – make the developer take care of more of the magic, thus lighten the overhead

Motto: “no code is faster than no code” [love that]

Uses Rails generators
Less magic than using a rail app.
Trying to be database layer agnostic – puts more decisions on the programmer than Rails does.

Benchmarks against rails shows merb to be much faster — design philosophy is optimize for speed, then optimize more for speed.

Overall framework is small and tight — good for people who want to hack on their framework.

It is not a fork from rails it is 100% new code. It is written by Ruby enthusiasts. Rails [according to Michael] was written by someone not very familiar with Ruby so it is not written in a very Ruby-ish way. merb is by and for Ruby enthusiasts. Merb is thread safe. Huge advantage for heavily loaded sites. Gets used for file uploads – can “steal” a rails session, does its thing, then hands back the session. File uploads was part of the reason it was created.

This is bleeding edge stuff for the time being. Going forward the promise is all future releases will be just as fast (or faster) than the current release.

Why Merb? Every framework release of Rails is getting progressively slower — Rails is getting fatter [more magic code] – so this about being super lean.

Goal to make porting from Rails to Merb easy — ge the best of both worlds — Rails ease and speed of development. merb’s speed of production performance.

Biggest criticism — why not patch Rails? Action-pack — too much code.

Merb is harder to get started with, because it doesn’t make as many decisions for you. Still very driven by Ezra’s vision and direct management. Ezra wrote the book on Ruby deployment.

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