Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Agile and Ruby on Rails thinking

I attended the Ruby on Rails Oceania meetup tonight and learned some interesting things about RDoc (PDF) from Tim Lucas, got some good pointers on how to involve customers in Agile projects (PDF) from Max Muerrman and lastly some great tips on geocoding in Rails (PDF) from Cameron Barrie.

[UPDATE: Got more details (like full names) from Tim's blog. Also Tim's got his slides up on SlideShare.]

I've been playing with Ruby on Rails to broaden my understanding of Agile development concepts and practices, and it's going well. The principles of the Agile Manifesto sounded good when I first read them over a year ago, but since listening to Jason Yip from ThoughtWorks talk about them they've come to life for me, so I will be doing a series of posts about them and how they relate to my experience in over 13 years of IT consulting and contracting.

It's also been nice to read about how Rails is finally getting some traction in the Enterprise arena, firstly through Thoughtworks delivering their project management application, Mingle on JRuby, which basically re-writes Ruby in Java. This means that we now have applications written in Ruby on Rails, but deployed on Java in the enterprise. Very nice.

Secondly we have Microsoft announcing the Dynamic Language Runtime, which allows projects like their IronRuby (a different beastie than Wilco Bauwer's). In an interview with eWeek one of the developers behind the DLR, Jim Hugunin explains how they developed the DLR:
Hugunin: Where this all came from is I joined Microsoft with IronPython, but I joined to make the CLR [Common Language Runtime] a better platform for dynamic languages. In some ways this is what we've been working on for the past two and a half years. The way that we did that is we started by building one real high-quality production implementation of a language, which was IronPython, and getting a lot of users to beat on it and make sure that we could do it well. Now that we have that one quality implementation we started saying, 'Well, how can we make more languages run well on the platform and make them run even better?'”

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