Ruby on Rails

Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/2005/07/19/ruby-on-rails on Tue, 19 Jul 2005

As usual I woke up today (at about midday as I have been lately :/) and decided to check on the GuildWiki. Usually I spend quite some time going through recent changes and making sure nothing's gone terribly wrong. However today the wiki was down, so I went to Gravewit's blog, the guy who hosts the wiki, to see if there was any mention of it there, but there wasn't, and the most recent post was something about someone being critically ill, so I decided not to post a comment on that particular entry asking about the status of the wiki. It seemed kind of disrespectful...

I noticed one of the posts was discussing the merits of two methods of authentication for posting comments on blogs/forums/websites in general. OpenID and TypeKey.

OpenID the idea that your home site can run a server that will authenticate who you are when posting comments. While looking at the OpenID Wiki I discovered that, despite the specs only being 90% complete, some people had already written some servers and consumers. I ended up following a few links to some interesting PHP servers (the language I'm most likely to understand) and then another link to http://openid.imperialviolet.org/, an OpenID server written in Ruby on Rails. I'd heard of Ruby before, but I didn't know what "on Rails" meant exactly, so I followed yet another link to another site, and here is where the story truly begins my friends!!

Rails is a framework designed to aid in the development of dynamic web content sites, so basically most websites you'll find these days! To quote the main page:

Rails is a full-stack, open-source web framework in Ruby for writing real-world applications with joy and less code than most frameworks spend doing XML sit-ups

With joy? A tall order, I thought. The site features a ~15 minute video that explains (to an extent) what Rails does. The developer programs very little in Ruby and Rails fills in the gaps. It's truly remarkable to watch, and I don't think I can do it justice simply talking about it. The way that the developer gets his app to interact with the database blew me away! Being used to writing very small amounts of code to connect php to mysql it was amazing to see just how much less you need to write in Ruby on Rails! It really is black magic. I suggest, if you are interested at all in programming or development of any kind, to have a look at Ruby on Rails. Half of the site is a wiki as well. Have I used the word 'wiki' a lot in this entry...?