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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rails As A Ghetto

Via /. - I find this hilarious. It's basically a enormous rant by a guy pissed at the Ruby on Rails community. For those who haven't been acquainted, Ruby On Rails (Or ROR is you're hip) is a relatively new framework for writing websites. Personally, I have no opinion on ROR itself because it has never really come up for me professionally.

Why I find the rant so funny is because not so long ago the somewhat major retailer who likes to wrap your things in black in white boxes that I worked for was shopping around for design agencies. At the time, I was told this was because the design staff didn't have the bandwidth to handle the redesign they were wanting. The reality is a different story. Along the way, some small Chicago agency got into the interview process. I really, really don't remember their name.

They loved ROR. Oh, wow did they love rails. And when they found out that we were a .Net shop - boy, we they willing to preach us the gospel of rails. .Net was monolithic and slow. ROR was sleek and fast. .Net was your grandma. ROR was a cheerleader. I don't really exaggerate here - they had that kind of thing in bullet points for meetings.

So, for you little Ruby (or other bleeding edge tech) shops out there, here's some advice:

1) Don't go into a Fortune 500 company and announce that their framework is for crap when you've actually not been asked your opinion their framework. Unless you're another Fortune 500 company - here's a clue ... nobody gives a damn. Nobody. Seriously, I don't even care if you're right - you look like a damn idiot. Maybe if we'd still been using the ASP3 codebase purchased a half decade ago you might be able to make the occasional snide remark to a tech geek and hope to get a chortle - but the moment you start handing out papers on the subject ... you need to back the hell off.

2) If you do decide that for some reason a handout is the best thing for your client and your professional career - check your facts. You can be damned sure that in any sizeable organization, the person you handed it to probably has no idea what you're talking about (this is probably intentional). Your problem is that they, deep down inside, know this, and will get it into the hands of someone that does to cover their own ass (oddly, corporate bureaucracy works well in this regard). When that person does get that handout finally, you better be sure your facts are straight.

3) Companies the size of those of which we speak have lawyers. Some have a few, some have many, many, many more. State Farm, for instance, has one of the highest lawyer to employee ratios on the planet. If you really think they won't litigate you when those facts aren't straight and when your nubile little framework cracks under the weight of an enterprise e-commerce site ... well, maybe you ought to appreciate why tip 1 exists in the first place. And remember that handout will still be in someone's drawer when tip 2 failed them. Guess what? You're still screwed.

Seriously, I have nothing against Ruby, or Rails or well ... hell, nearly any web technology out there. I want them all to succeed like the super little children I'm sure their parents know they are. But for the love of all things holy - learn to behave in the first place. And when I read rants like this ... it reminds me that sometimes agencies forget this.


sterno said...

My favorite hilight was this:

(15:11:12) DHH: before fastthread we had 400 restarts/day
(15:11:22) DHH: now we have perhaps 10
(15:11:29) Zed S.: oh nice
(15:11:33) Zed S.: and that's still fastcgi right?

Yeah, they only had to restart it 10 times a day. Wow. I've never been particularly interested in the hot new fetishized web development technologies. If you're doing development in anything other than .net (ick), PHP, or Java, you'd better have some pretty good evidence that it's going to work well.

Josh said...

At the time these papers were handed to the non-techs, who handed them to my boss who handed them to me ... PHP was still running significantly faster at the kinds of loads we required.

And it's not like we had seriously considered PHP.

.Net has it's ups and downs and sure, we had the occasional kick the server - but Microsoft does know what enterprise is.

OnyxRaven said...

It amazes me how ruby/rails folks are so oblivious to the 'name' they're making for themselves with their behavior in general. Its a wonder if any company would ever buy from an agency like that.