100% Ruby on Rails

June 4, 2007     

It’s been about two years since I first dipped my feet in the Rails world. The first year was a slow but steady learning process in my spare time. This blog itself is the first application I released circa Rails 0.13, and the code is really showing its age. It’s kind of crept up on me, but these days I’m working almost entirely in Rails. I’m still working regularly with Drupal and Templation where the shoe fits, but when I have a choice of what to work on, I find myself leaning more and more towards the applications and user-interaction aspects of web design that Rails really excels at. Despite all the noise, Rails has really lived up to the hype—at least for the niche I’m interested in.

I’m also lamenting the difficulty of finding web programming talent in New Mexico. At first the lack of competition was empowering, but I’m starting to lose interest in the scope of problems that small-time client work allows. I’m involved in a larger project now with a startup flavor, so the budget is there, but damn there’s a lot of work to do and we need to launch yesterday. I really miss the collaborative aspect that comes from have a dedicated team on a project. The brainstorming is richer, mistakes are caught more quickly, and of course things just get done faster.

As a result of this angst I’m feeling a need to get more involved with the community, and hopefully make some contacts for future collaboration. This means releasing plugins, getting involved with core, running Edge Rails, attending more conferences, and last but not least, refocusing this blog.

Starting today I’m rewriting of Darwinweb using RESTful routes, and getting rid of the cruft (components anyone?). Darwinweb will become 100% Rails-obsessed and frequently updated. Reading over this site for the past year, it might be a mystery why I even bothered writing my own blogging engine. Aside from the whole dogfood mantra, I haven’t really lived up to the promise of my own code, which is being able to provide richer information than just tagged articles. I want my interfaces to be uncompromisingly specific. For instance, every post should store the Rails version it applies to. Not as a generic tag, but as a semantically-rich field that allows me to deprecate my own content. Doing my own small part to avoid contributing to the morass of outdated and misleading tutorials of yesteryear.

I’ve never been a prolific blogger, but a tighter focus and specific goals will hopefully turn this into a far more useful destination. The tentative deadline for relaunch is July 1st.