Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rails on the Orient Express: Detour - Down Under

If we are going to push for more Ruby on Rails adoption in the East, it might be good to look for models to help us achieve our goals. We can look to Japan, home of the great Matz and where sensibly RoR would invariably be in greater use. But that is easier said than done owing to barriers in language. (But worth trying as soon as I exhaust my contributors).

Which leaves us with Australia. They have a vibrant Rails group over there and has even organized a Rails Camp last year. One of those who are quite active in the group is Pat Allan - (Definitely no bad ego. Positive). Following is his take about Rails adoption (emphasis were mine).

1. Personally, what makes Rails special?
It provides a structure which pushes you towards good practices for web development (particularly MVC), and it's written in Ruby, which is such a nice language to work with.

The community is also a massive influence - having a great bunch of people to bounce ideas off and get support from really helps.

2. Are there barriers towards a broader Rails adoption? If so, how (can they be overcome)?
Some people may argue that getting Rails into the enterprise market is something important - personally, I'm not so fussed. Also, my (admittedly small) amount of experience with large corporations makes me think they won't appreciate Rails to the full extent, nor will they use it appropriately (ie: in an agile workflow, instead of one filled with bureaucracy).

Some people are suspicious of Rails - perhaps because of the hype that has accompanied it, and the fanatical approach some advocates have. I'm not sure how we can get around that, beyond keeping an open and considerate mindset.

3. Any other things you would like to see happening as a member of the Rails community in Australia?
I feel that, at least in the Melbourne and Sydney groups, things are progressing well - there's a growing sense of community, and increasing interaction with groups in the other states. The RailsCamps have been fantastic, and the relaxed atmosphere at monthly meetings is great.

So I've no big targets that we should aim for - but we do need to make sure we don't lose the vibe we currently have, and ensure that the groups are welcoming to new people. It shouldn't seem like an exclusive club to outsiders.

An open and considerate mindset, a community that has to shed perceived image of exclusivity. Makes sense, not just for RoR but any endeavor. Asians can do that. Or can we?


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