Archive for the ‘Ruby on Rails’ Category

Author:  Nick Langley What is it?

Rails is not the only framework for Ruby, and Ruby is not the only language which uses Rails. Rails has also been ported to Javascript by a team at Google (Rhino on Rails), to PHP (Akelos) and most recently, by the BBC, to Perl (Perl on Rails).

But Ruby on Rails is still the main event, and December’s release of Ruby on Rails 2.0 caused a stir, not least because of the abandonment of Soap (Simple Object Access Protocol) in favour of Rest (Representational State Transfer).

Rest is described as an architectural style, not a standard or specification. Restful web services make use of existing technologies, such as HTTP with its simple operations such as “put”, “get” and “post”, and of URLs to uniquely identify each resource. Rest is already widely used, for example, by Amazon. In fact, the Worldwide Web itself has been described as the largest Rest application. Making use of the existing common infrastructure means that Rest applications themselves are similar in structure and can more easily interact and share data.

Where did it originate?

Ruby on Rails was developed by David Heinemeier Hansson of the web-design company 37signals, and released in 2004. Rest was defined in 2000 by Roy Fielding, part of the IETF working group which specified HTTP. Fielding also co-founded the Apache HTTP Server project.

What is it for?

Rails is used to develop web applications using existing database schemas. It provides “scaffolding” – skeleton code – to simplify structuring applications. Like Struts and other web frameworks, Rails uses the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture, which separates different levels of the application and allows them to be worked on without having to make corresponding changes to other levels – enabling a move to Ajax in the view layer without touching the data model.

What makes it special?

Rails users claim a substantial productivity increase. More generally, Rest champions say that existing web services technologies like Soap and WSSD have become increasingly complex and bogged down by slow moving committees and industry consortia. By making use of the existing architecture and protocols of the web, Rest is a more natural fit, and free from the interference of external vested interests.

How difficult is it to master?

Rails simplifies web application building, making it easier to be productive in Ruby and other supported languages. Despite its use of familiar web technologies however, it can be difficult to get your head round Rest at first.

What systems does it run on?

Ruby on Rails.org says “just about any operating system will do, but we recommend a ‘nix-based one for deployment”.

Ruby on Rails is widely shipped and supported – by Oracle, Apple and IBM among others. IBM has released IBM Sharable Code, an online development platform for Ruby on Rails.

What’s coming up?

The forthcoming ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions use the MVC architecture and support Rest, and have been dubbed “ASP.Net on Rails”.

Rates of pay

Ruby on Rails is usually required as part of a larger portfolio and rates vary accordingly.


See Ruby on Rails and Ruby on Rails on Oracle: A Simple Tutorial. Also, An introduction to Ruby on Rails for DB2 developers and other Ruby, Rails and Rest resources on IBM’s Developerworks. There are a number of books including Agile Web Development with Rails and Restful Web Services, both from O’Reilly and Associates.


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by Peter Cooper ( rubyinside.com)

RJS is a template type for Rails that allows Rails developers to use Ruby to produce dynamic JavaScript code that will usually be executed in response to an AJAX call. There are lot of disparate resources relating to RJS around the net, so I’ve collected as many of them together here as possible. If you need to use RJS, this is the list for you!

Introduction / Tutorials

  • Simple RJS Tutorial – An up to date RJS tutorial (May 2006) featuring a video demonstration and some code.
  • RJS Tutorial by FearOfFish – Another overall tutorial with a demonstration view, controller, and RJS template for adding a shopping cart type system to a page.
  • Ajaxed forms with RJS templates – Technoweenie demonstrates how an entire form can be processed and manipulated using AJAX and RJS. Lots of nice syntax colored code!
  • A Demo of RJS – A live demo of what RJS can do, including code.


  • RJS Template Methods – A list of methods supported by RJS templates from February 2006 (before Rails 1.1). It includes some demonstration code to put together a small app using RJS.

Miscellaneous / Advanced

  • Add RJS support to TextMate – TextMate doesn’t understand RJS by default, and this post shows you how to get the syntax coloring working.

Debugging and Testing

  • AjaxSpy – A cute way to debug and monitor RJS requests directly from the page. Only works in FireFox and Safari.
  • Debugging your RJS calls – Find out what RJS is getting returned from the page end of things with this useful JavaScript trick.

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SapphireSteel extends product line for developers used to Microsoft’s software development platform

By Paul Krill (infoworld.com)


SaphireSteel Software, which helps Microsoft Visual Studio users work with the Ruby on Rails Web framework, launched on Monday a version of its Ruby In Steel IDE embedded with Visual Studio 2008 capabilities.

Ruby In Steel Text Edition, priced at $49, is hosted in the Visual Studio 2008 Shell, which enables tools to be built based on the Visual Studio IDE. With Text Edition, developers do not need to have their own copy of Visual Studio as they have with the previously released Ruby In Steel Developer Edition, said Huw Collingbourne, SapphireSteel technology director.

“We put all our support into Visual Studio so the end-user gets a Ruby-flavored edition of Visual Studio,” with its attendant capabilities, Collingbourne said.

Use of the Visual Studio Shell gives SapphireSteel a chance to compete with Eclipse-based IDEs, such as CodeGear’s 3rdRail, which also is billed as a Rails IDE, SapphireSteel said. But 3rdRail costs $399.

Text Edition does not support Microsoft languages like C# or C++, but HTML designer and JavaScript support is included. While lacking the high-performance debugger and IntelliSense code completion capabilities of the $199 Ruby In Steel Developer Edition, Text Edition features both RHTML and embedded Ruby in Rails editing.

“[Developers] have the choice of which templating system they want to develop in,” said Collingbourne.

Ruby in Steel Text Edition and tools like it received a thumbs-up from Ruby on Rails founder David Heinemeier Hansson in an e-mail on Monday.

“I have not used it myself, but I’m very happy to see this growth spurt of new tools dedicated to Ruby on Rails crop up,” Hansson said. “Ruby In Steel is particularly interesting to developers coming over from the Microsoft world as Visual Studio is a familiar environment to them. That’ll likely ease the transition.”

Other features in Text Edition include code coloring and folding for focusing on specific parts of code, auto-expand snippets plus a snippet editor, bracket and keyword matching, and code formatting tools.

Integrated debugging with step into/over/watch variables is featured; developers can see how variables change.

Also offered is customization with alternative color schemes, integrated command prompt and docked interactive Ruby and IRB (Interactive Ruby) consoles. Users also get an all-in-one setup program to install Visual Studio, Ruby, Ruby In Steel, and the MySQL database. Comprehensive documentation and help are offered as well.

Paul Krill is editor at large at InfoWorld.

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from prweb.com

A unique information portal, designed for web application developers who use Ruby on Rails, was launched this week. The website, www.BuildingWebApps.com, combines original articles with an organized, annotated set of links to the best resources from all over the web. The new Ruby on Rails information portal serves as a one-stop source for web developers who want to keep up with the trends and information related to Ruby on Rails and related technology.

Sebastopol, CA (PRWEB) January 25, 2008 — Open-source web development technologies are fantastic tools that have enabled a great deal of the innovation on the web today. Often, however, finding the information you need to develop with them is challenging, especially with Ruby on Rails, because the software changes rapidly, and until now, there has been no official, Ruby on Rails central information resource. Valuable information is scattered across hundreds of blogs, news groups, and other sites, but it is hard to find what you need — and hard to avoid picking an out-of-date article and ending up misled. Furthermore, much of the information is written with the assumption that the reader is something of an expert, making it hard for newer developers to get started.

A unique information portal, designed for web application developers who use Ruby on Rails, was launched this week to address this challenge. The website, Ruby on Rails information portal serves as a one-stop source for web developers who want to keep up with the trends and information related to Ruby on Rails and related technology.

Our goal is to offer education and first-class information sources to support the Ruby on Rails ecosystem.

The developers of BuildingWebApps.com, Michael Slater and Christopher Haupt, believe that Ruby on Rails is the best available platform for the majority of new web applications, but that it suffers from a lack of a central information resource. “Ruby on Rails makes it much easier to develop sophisticated web applications, once you’ve climbed the learning curve,” commented Michael. “Our goal is to offer education and first-class information sources to support the Ruby on Rails ecosystem.”

Slater and Haupt bring their years of technical experience to the selection of existing web articles and to creating information to fill in the gaps in existing materials. Slater led the well-regarded Microprocessor Report newsletter for more than a decade, and he brings that experience to the task of providing up-to-date, interesting and relevant tutorials, news and analysis.

In addition to covering the Ruby on Rails platform itself, BuildingWebApps.com covers the associated technologies that are required for building web applications: Ruby on Rails server setup and administration, user interface design and coding, Ruby on Rails software development practices, and Ruby on Rails business issues. “Even when you use a highly capable framework like Rails, you need to be able to work effectively with a wide range of technologies to build and deploy a successful web application,” said Christopher.

The site itself is built using Ruby on Rails, and the company plans to use the application it has built for this site to create other community knowledge websites in the future. Slater and Haupt have also produced a series of podcasts, Learning Rails, and they are presenting a RailsQuickStart seminar in San Francisco on February 20-21.

Michael Slater and Christopher Haupt are available to discuss anything related to Ruby on Rails and web application development. Contact michael at buildingwebapps.com, or call (888) 670-6793 ext. 702

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by Matt Asay

Last week, Benchmark announced a $3.5 million investment in Engine Yard, which provides commercial support for Ruby on Rails applications. Engine Yard is doing $3 million in business and growing. It’s also profitable. It didn’t need the investment.

The investment, however, is very telling. When one of the top venture capital firms on the planet puts hard dollars behind a support model, it’s significant. It becomes doubly so when the firm (or its investors) in question previously invested in JBoss, MySQL, SpringSource (Interface21), and other support-based open-source companies.

It may mean that Benchmark knows something that the rest of the industry seems determined to ignore: services-based businesses may well be the future of the software industry.

For those who believe the only way to make money is by locking up IP and metering access to it, Benchmark’s success with a very different business mindset and model is instructive. Successful companies are those that discover scarcity in abundance. For Engine Yard, it was simple:

Engine Yard came about in early 2006 because we saw a genuine need: customers were developing business-critical Rails apps, but they didn’t want to worry about deployment issues, nor did they want to hire IT staff to manage servers. Customers wanted Rails-focused 24/7 operations support on top of great infrastructure, plus they wanted a smooth path from 100 users to 100,000 users.

They didn’t apparently want proprietary software. In fact, the hordes that have moved to Ruby on Rails have wanted the opposite to a great extent. But that doesn’t mean they expect everything to be free. Engine Yard’s opportunity is to discover the services that Ruby on Rails’ adoption and success require. Google discovered that the massive amount of information on the Web meant that people would pay (through advertising) for help finding needles in the Web’s haystack. What will Engine Yard find?

One thing that it will find is that it can continue to feed Rails’ abundance in order to fuel the need for its services. Hence, the company plans to use Benchmark’s capital infusion to help improve the stability of Rails for all…not just Engine Yard’s customers:

(A) capital infusion could help Engine Yard work on some key open-source projects that can help Rails perform better, including Rubinius (a more robust and speedier version of Ruby) and Merb (an adjunct of Rails). This work, in turn, might transform the company into becoming a software business, said (Engine Yard), one that can help it scale much more quickly.

That’s the power of open source. Different people or organizations can be working on it for their own narrow purposes but everyone benefits as a result. It’s a bit like a micro version of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. It makes sense to make the pie bigger so that Engine Yard’s slice will also be bigger.

In sum, it would be wise to think through the implications of Benchmark’s investment in Engine Yard. Perhaps Benchmark knows something that you will eventually figure out. Best to do so sooner rather than later.

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