Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Up In The (Ruby) Club


A while back I had a phone call from a woman with an eastern European accent wondering if I would be willing to take a survey.  I'm usually an instant no to queries like this but she knew my Achilles heel:

"Participants get $50 Amazon Gift Certificate"

So a few days ago my inbox chimed with an email with the gift certificate in tow. I didn't hesitate with my purchase of David Flanagan's Ruby book

As an aside, it seems that Flanagan got some flack from a Gilles Bowkett on not being a bona fide Ruby person. If Flanagan isn't cultured enough to do Ruby, I'm in trouble...

... but I've been in trouble most of my short puff anyway.

On a serious note: the "up in the club" attitude of some (okay, mostly Rails) Ruby people is what is driving a backlash against Rails and Ruby in general.



Giles Bowkett said...

On the one hand, David F. sent me a really angry e-mail which, and this is unusual for angry e-mails, was full of logical argument, and which really delivered more fairness than my anti-Flanagan screed had earned. So I have to give him full credit. I felt like I'd been a total dick.

On the other hand, there is a kind of locusts effect going on in the Ruby/Rails community. As long as I can buy groceries and such, I'm totally willing to risk a backlash, because I think the forward-lash was really overkill. Ruby doesn't need to be such a big deal. It's not supposed to be the next big thing. It's supposed to be an enjoyable language to code in.

People who only notice a community once it becomes a profitable market, and who come to a community looking for ways to exploit it, are going to create remarkably different books from people who love a community and became part of it long ago when no money was at stake.

Since I discovered Ruby via Rails, I came in with the first wave of locusts, but I have to say the old-schoolers who do it because it makes them happy appeal to me very much more than someone who's written a bunch of stuff for a dominant publisher based at least partly on what the market seems to want at any particular time.

I would very emphatically recommend picking up Hal Fulton's book before even giving Flanagan's a chance at all.

It's true there's snobbery in the Rails world and it's true that for the most part it's nothing to be proud of. If it's any consolation, I antagonized David Hansson, who created Rails and is therefore the absolute definition of Rails "cool," at least as badly as I antagonized Flanagan. Don't go misjudging an entire community just because I have this incredible way of pissing people off. I'm kind of thinking that that's just me.

Giles Bowkett said...

Also, there's just one L. Giles, not Gilles. "Jy-ulz", not "Jeel." Giles is British, Gilles would be French.