Synthesis : Scott Becker


Ruby on Rails continues to amaze. Things just keep getting easier. With the file_column mixin, and the new acts_as_taggable mixin, generous people in the RoR community are quickly abstracting away all of the code thats generally a pain in the ass to write, and making things more and more fun. I just implemented file_column today, easy peasy. As well as a little RMagick for automatic thumbnailing of images.

With all this sophisticated functionality becoming so easy to implement, in 6 to 12 months I can imagine the average small business website being much more full featured, and possess what today is only for the big dogs and the super technical. Users will assume its a given and expect these features.

Best of all, the technology is free, contributed by the open source community. Things happen fast. No waiting five years for the next version. It gets better every day. If for some reason, someone wants to spend thousands of dollars for Windows Server, .NET, Visual Studio, SQL Server, and on and on, so they can write 10 times the code to do the exact same thing, well I guess that’s their prerogative. Good luck with that. 🙂 Unless a commercial solution somehow jumps way ahead of open source in capability and convenience, I can’t imagine going back. For the entrepreneur or small start-up where capital is a limited commodity and needs to be used as efficiently as possible, open source tech makes much more sense.

When I was only immersed in the MS/ASP.NET world, even simple functionality required a lot of boilerplate code to be written before your app could even begin to work. You could use one of the many O/R frameworks and code generators to overcome some of that, but I’ve yet to see anything as clean and simple as the Ruby/Rails combo. And when that unnecessary complexity isn’t weighing you down, you can move so much faster. Now, when someone asks me if I can do some whiz-bang fancy functionality, I say with confidence, “Sure, we can do that.”

As the enlightened (and rapidly growing) few already know, there is a better way.

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