David on Rails
We’d done our homework – watched the intro video and the 2-hour presentation, and played around with Ruby and Rails a bit before he came, and had prepared a list of questions. It felt more like a discussion, based on his experience with PHP, Java and other frameworks, and our experience, particularly with OpenACS. And we got all of our questions answered in full.
But what ended up having the biggest impact was that David had brought in his 17” Powerbook, and we had a chance to watch David work in his native environment, running everything locally, using TextMate, quickly modifying the data model using CocoaMySQL, running Rake to dump the data model and run unit tests.
Watching David demonstrated to me directly, visually, personally, a very productive way of working that broke with a number of traditions we’ve held for years, like Ye Shall Name Thy Constraints (just an example). It demonstrated in a powerful way that you can achieve pretty amazing things despite not naming your constraints. (Or even having the constraints in the first place—if they’re dealt with in the layer that interfaces with the database, the Model, why replicate that in the RDBMS layer? DRY!) Anyway, it obviously goes much deeper than just naming constraints, but meeting with David finally tipped me over to something I’d been drifting towards for years. It was way more than worth what we paid.
So that very same night, I went online and ordered a Powerbook (12” – I now realize that I should’ve probably gotten the 17” since I’ve pretty much stopped using both my Windows desktop at the office and my Thinkpad laptop – and yes, David told me to get the 17” ...).
A when Dalager a few days later pointed me to the Alistair Cockburn interview on IT Conversations, things just seemed to click.
These are exciting times. Get David to show you just how :)
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