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June 8, 2005

Gushing about Rails

This is the point where I take a moment out of my week to gush about [Ruby on Rails][]. It's a wonderful framework for rapid web development. I always thought it sounded interesting after I first heard about it (especially seeing how well [Basecamp][] works). I do a little software development in my free time for the Mac OS X platform, and both fortunately and unfortunately my software's been quite popular. This is fortunate because it gets my name out there for any future software I might want to build. This is also fortunate because it's led to a ton of praise and suggestions from users. Where it's unfortunate is that I tend to get flooded every time I release a new version or a newsletter, and the massive flood of messages with the first release was downright unmanageable. I expect the flood will be just as bad with the upcoming version, which will essentially be 2.0. I've promised to contact several people when the features they're waiting for are added. When users report bugs, it's nice to be able to follow up with them. And heck, it's just nice to know who you've already corresponded with and what you've talked about. So far, communication with users has been managed two ways: "look what's in my inbox" and "make notes in the bug tracker". Both solutions suck. Things get lost in the sea of inbox messages very quickly, and it's not much better in the bug tracker since customer information gets mixed in with my updates to the bug tickets, leaving me slogging through every ticket after I close it looking for contact information. As a result, I went looking for a Customer Relationship Management package. From a previous post on that subject, it should be obvious I didn't find one that met my very specific desires (opening doors, not closing deals!). So I decided to roll my own. That was a little over a week ago. Today, through the wonder of Rails, I have a working custom CRM solution. To me, that's astounding. In one week, I: * Sketched out the interface * Implemented cross-browser CSS/XHTML for the interface * Learned [Ruby][] * Built a complete Rails app starting from scaffolding Ruby and Rails are both brilliant in their simplicity, and paired together they're as dreamy as any 1980s big-hair superstar you can remember. I'll post later about what exactly I was able to build in that short time period, and where Rails made it painless, but for now just "wow." [Ruby]:http://www.ruby-lang.org [Ruby on Rails]:http://www.rubyonrails.org [Basecamp]:http://www.basecamphq.com

Posted by Colin at June 8, 2005 10:50 PM

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