Tonight I decided it was time to get my skills up to speed again. With all the new ideas and gems being thrown around in this time of swift evolution in the Rails community, I've felt left in the dust as I continue to toll away on an old project using an old version of rails and a set of older support gems.
So, in an effort to become current once again, I've started a new project (which I'll talk about in another post) utilizing the following:
Yeah, I know Rails 3 is coming out soon, so why bother coming up to this minor version at all? Well, my previous project was on Rails 2.2.3, and I haven't been getting to play with Rack as much as some of the more current developers have. I think that's one of the major modularity improvements that has pushed rails in the direction it's going with 3.0, and I want on-board.
There's a lot of hype around non-SQL databases right now. As an early user of DB4O, my whole developer career has been littered with occasional forays into the non-relational, and although I have no objection to relation databases per-se, I love the idea of schema-less data. MongoDB does this beautifully, and it's very popular in the ruby community right now in no small part thanks to the MongoMapper gem. Having my data as one hash of properties appeals to my sense of simplicity, and the embedded documents and collections are nifty looking. Time will tell if I will end up feeling like it suits my needs on a larger project.
Currently, my large startup project runs on EngineYard. We trust them because their customer service is great and they've done an amazing job of helping us along every step of the way. Their new cloud accounts are awesome (we're going to be switching over to that from our old "slice" architecture soon), and they have a track record a mile long of proven excellence with difficult scaling problems. And they cost what they're worth.
For a smaller project, either of a personal nature or one that's going to be bootstrapped with little revenue to kick it off, it's a little pricy. Heroku, however, is very reasonably priced, and has a slew of posts on the ruby blog network right now that are titled along the lines of "How to deploy a crazy-cool-new-application on Heroku in under 30 minutes". Their development account is free, and I want to see what the buzz is about, so I'll be posting how I find the hosting provider after I've played around a bit.
OK, this isn't exactly new, but I just haven't had a project yet where I've been willing to start with a totally new testing library that I'm unfamiliar with, so Test::Unit has been my default. RSpec comes highly recommended, though, and claims to make a nice paradigm shift into the BDD world. Will it make a difference? I don't know, but it's popular enough among rubyists that I'd be silly not to give it a try and see how I feel about the different nature of test presentation.
I've been a BackgroundJob user ever since my first queue necessitating feature came into existance, and it's never let me down with it's straightforward simplicity. However, I've felt on occasion that a fuller feature set would be desirable for some of my more granular queueing needs. Delayed Job is at the top of the list as far as widespread adoption goes, so if I'm going to jump to a fuller library this is the first place to look.
I love playing with new toys, so the weeks ahead promise to be filled with new and exciting blog material chronicling my exploration of that which is new and popular. Enjoy!