Ruby Makes You a Better Person – Scott Bellware

I am a frequent reader of Scott Bellware’s blog.  He had an interesting post today reflecting on a Ruby conference he recently attended.  His observation was how the speakers and the attendees seemed to take on a different perspective from the normal Microsoft conferences, the Ruby people are interested in using the right practices and the experiences they have learned instead of pushing the latest tools and technologies.

Scott does a great job of putting into words the feeling I get around people using Ruby.  I work with some Microsoft consultants and they are always pushing the latest and greatest tools and telling us how we can be doing more with more.  I think these days the .NET Framework and the tools are becoming more and more bloated.

When I am interacting with other Ruby (and Rails) developers I get the sense they are doing what they love and actually have fun while they are doing it.  I can remember the days when I was writing BASIC code on a KayPro and Intertec CP/M based systems.  I loved learning and the community, though small, was excited and happy.

I think the feelings we get come from the top-down. The goodness, the excitement and enthusiasm start at the top and trickle down to those who are willing to listen.  The principles of DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) and KISS are some of the ideas David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) expressed in the early days of Rails.  Since Rails is entering it’s 2.0 version, a recent DHH RailsConf 2007 keynote showed the philosophy of the Ruby movement.  Rails 2.0 will have some new features but will also be taking things away that are not needed which is a great example of keeping things simple.

So why don’t I get these warm feelings when I am sitting back writing C# code?   It comes from the top-down, Ruby is a community but .NET is just about business.  Scott noticed the same thing I do.

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2 responses to “Ruby Makes You a Better Person – Scott Bellware

  1. Rob,

    I think of it more as attraction, than as a message being spread top-down. None of us started as .Net programmers or Ruby programmers, but we’ve become them, whether because of a job, or an interest.

    Who is attracted to Ruby, and why? Hackers, because of its good design, friendliness, beauty… Who is attracted to .Net? Businesses, because it’s a standard they can hire around, and it comes from a large corporation they can get support from when things go wrong.

    Where are the software businesses that are small enough to be attracted to Ruby, because they understand that their programmers’ ideas are their product? I think they’re largely west-coast U.S., right now.

    Glad you posted this!

  2. Dan,

    I don’t know if I interpret what you are saying or you misunderstood me but the “top-down” I am referring to is the attitude or philisophy Microsoft passes along to developers. It is strictly a business attitude, not a fun attitude. Sure, it IS a business and there is not necessarily anything wrong with a professional attitude but the culture differences between .NET and Ruby developers are obvious.

    I work with many .NET developers every day and they all pretty much behave the same way, they do it because they have to. I think we shared dialog on this before, .NET pays well and the jobs are plentiful, but it doesn’t mean we like it. If I could make the money I make writing C# but only with Ruby, I would do it in a second. The Ruby developers I have met that are doing it for a living or just for fun have a totally different attitude toward the technology.

    I agree Ruby is west coast for the most part, particularly in the valley because the idea is that is where the startups are. I think if there was a Silicon Valley of the East as there used to be you would see good Ruby usage out here.

    You can see people like Bruce Tate, who is very high-profile, adopting Ruby and Rails after being a well-known Java developer for so long. His list of reasons is the culture.

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