Simon Willison’s Weblog

66 items tagged “ruby”

How can one become a masterful Rails developer (and still have a life)?

Don’t sacrifice your social life. Sacrifice TV.

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Why did Twitter have so many problems if it is made with Ruby?

The technical problem Twitter solves (distributing millions of short messages per minute to an enormous graph of follow relationships) is extremely hard in any language.

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Was CoffeeScript invented to help Ruby programmers get over that dirty yucky feeling they get when working in JavaScript?

The original Prototype JS library might fit that description—more than CoffeeScript, at any rate.

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How long until Ruby developers are as cheap as PHP developers? is it already happening? should I still learn it or it only has a couple years left and I’m better off with SSJS?

If you want to be a highly paid engineer, you should worry less about your expertise in a specific language and more about developing broad and deep skills across a wider range of development topics.

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Is it true that Ruby is more deployment friendly than Python?

He’s incorrect (or at least out of date). Most professional python programmers that I know of use virtualenv, which makes it easy for deployed Python code to live in its own environment with its own set of modules installed separately from the core system packages.

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Is there an online calendar for all the Ruby / Rails conferences to be held in 2011?

Have you tried both our Ruby and our Rails topic pages?

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What are the main weaknesses of Ruby as a programming language?

Ruby still has a cultural tendency towards monkey-patching, aka action-at-a-distance. There are plenty of gems which modify existing classes—sometimes in ways that can break working code.

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Is there a way to learn Ruby in one hour?

Not unless you already know a bunch of other languages and are well versed in programming language theory. Even then, that might be long enough to get your head around Ruby syntax and semantics but it will still take weeks or months of study to get truly comfortable with the language idioms.

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I think that “bad technology” can kill a startup, but slightly different variations of good technology don’t have much effect. Choose what you know/like best. And Ruby and Python are both in this latter category.

enko on Hacker News # 2nd October 2010, 11:19 am

Ruby-style Blocks in Python. Yes, yes, yes, yes. A proposal for muli-line lambda support in Python that doesn’t trip up on significant whitespace. If this gets in before the proposed feature freeze I’ll be a very happy Pythonista. UPDATE: This is a post from over a year ago, and it looks like the proposal has since stalled. # 23rd April 2010, 11:19 am (via) The annotated grammar for CoffeeScript, a new language that compiles to JavaScript developed by DocumentCloud’s Jeremy Ashkenas. The linked page is generated using Jeremy’s Docco tool for literate programming, also written in CoffeeScript. CoffeeScript itself is implemented in CoffeeScript, using a bootstrap compiler originally written in Ruby. # 8th March 2010, 7:27 pm

twitter-text-conformance (via) This is a neat idea: Twitter have released open source libraries for parsing standard tweet syntax in Ruby and Java, but they’ve also released a set of YAML unit tests aimed at anyone who wants to implement the same parsing logic in other languages. # 6th February 2010, 3:39 pm

rlisagor’s freshen. A Python clone of Ruby’s innovative Cucumber testing framework. Tests are defined as a set of plain-text scenarios, which are then executed by being matched against test functions decorated with regular expressions. Has anyone used this or Cucumber? I’m intrigued but unconvinced—are the plain text scenarios really a useful way of defining tests? # 5th January 2010, 7:30 pm

clarity. A web interface for tailing and grepping the log files in /var/log, written in Ruby and EventMachine. # 4th November 2009, 10:36 pm

Introducing Resque. A new background worker management queue developed at GitHub, using Redis for the persistence layer. The blog post explains both the design and the shortcomings of previous solutions at length. Within 24 hours of the release code an external developer, Adam Cooke, has completely reskinned the UI. # 4th November 2009, 8:20 pm

How We Made GitHub Fast. Detailed overview of the new GitHub architecture. It’s a lot more complicated than I would have expected—lots of moving parts are involved in ensuring they can scale horizontally when they need to. Interesting components include nginx, Unicorn, Rails, DRBD, HAProxy, Redis, Erlang, memcached, SSH, git and a bunch of interesting new open source projects produced by the GitHub team such as BERT/Ernie and ProxyMachine. # 21st October 2009, 9:14 pm

MySQL backups with EBS snapshots. Assaf Arkin’s 45 line ruby script shows how to lock tables / XFS freeze / create an EBS snapshot / unfreeze and unlock, with hourly snapshots preserved for the past 24 hours and daily snapshots for the past week. Is an EBS snapshot enough to restore your data to somewhere other than EC2 though? # 13th October 2009, 12:34 pm

XSS Protection by Default in Rails 3.0. Fantastic news—congratulations, Rails core team. # 8th October 2009, 4:35 pm

I like Unicorn because it’s Unix. Ryan Tomayko analyses Unicorn, a new, pre-forking Ruby HTTP server that makes extensive use of Unix syscalls and idioms, and asks why dynamic language programmers don’t take advantage of these more often. # 7th October 2009, 11:42 am

cloud-crowd. New parallel processing worker/job queue system with a strikingly elegant architecture. The central server is an HTTP server that manages job requests, which are farmed out to a number of node HTTP servers which fork off worker processes to do the work. All communication is webhook-style JSON, and the servers are implemented in Sinatra and Thin using a tiny amount of code. The web-based monitoring interface is simply beautiful, using canvas to display graphs showing the system’s overall activity. # 21st September 2009, 11:09 pm

homebrew. Exciting alternative to MacPorts for compiling software on OS X—homebrew avoids sudo and defines packages as simple Ruby scripts, shared and distributed using Git. # 21st September 2009, 6:51 pm

Webhooks behind the firewall with Reverse HTTP. Hookout is a Ruby / rack adapter that lets you serve a web application from behind a firewall, by binding to a Reverse HTTP proxy running on the internet (such as the free one provided by Useful for far more than just webhooks, this means you can easily expose any Ruby web service to the outside world. An implementation of this as a general purpose proxy server would make it useful for applications written in any language. # 22nd July 2009, 1:46 pm

Phusion Passenger for nginx. Passenger (aka mod_rails / mod_rack) enables easy deployment of Rails and Ruby apps under Apache... and the latest version adds support for nginx as well. It works as an HTTP proxy and process manager, spawning worker processes and forwarding HTTP requests to them via a request queue. It can also handle Python WSGI applications—anyone tried it out for that yet? # 20th April 2009, 4:53 am

Twitter: blaming Ruby for their mistakes? The comments on the entry include replies from Twitter employees and the RabbitMQ consultant they brought in, and provide a full rebuttal to the various accusations of NIH that were thrown around recently. # 6th April 2009, 11:06 am

Ruby on Rails 2.3 Release Notes. I’m impressed with how thoroughly Rails has embraced Rack (Ruby’s standardised web framework API, inspired by Python’s WSGI). # 15th March 2009, 1:22 pm

CloudMade: A Summary of the Future of Mapping. CloudMade are now offering commercially supported APIs on top of OpenStreetMap, including geocoding, routing and tile access libraries in Python/Ruby/Java and a very neat theming tool that lets you design your own map styles. This is really going to kick innovation around OpenStreetMap up a notch. # 17th February 2009, 11:25 am

juno. An ultra-lightweight Python web framework inspired by Ruby’s Sinatra. # 4th February 2009, 10:48 am

Prawn (via) Really nice PDF generation library for Ruby, used to generate Dopplr’s beautiful end of year reports. # 16th January 2009, 4:04 pm

why’s potion. why’s latest project is a small, fast language (JIT to x86/x86-64) which seems to take ideas from Ruby, Lua, Python and who knows where else. Everything is based around objects, closures and mixins, with the delightful inclusion of scoped mixins so you can modify an object only within a certain module (hence avoiding Ruby’s action-at-a-distance problems). # 8th January 2009, 6:37 pm

Merb gets merged into Rails 3! Huge news. Of particular interest is the new focus on “framework agnosticism”, whereby Rails will aim to play well with people wishing to use alternative ORMs, template mechanisms and so forth. Rails has previously suffered from a reputation for getting in your way if you deviate from its opinions. # 23rd December 2008, 8:32 pm