Quo Vadis, Rails + Merb?

Update: I have been informed by a few prominent Rails guys (including a core team member) that the atmosphere of the Rails irc changed quite a bit recently (and that they are still working on it), so disregard the ‘rails irc is full of douchebags’ section please!

Happy New Year to everyone! I have been totally off the grid for the past 2 weeks, just getting back to work (several hundreds of e-mails in my inbox, ugh) so just a really quick blurb on Rails + Merb (I guess everyone is sick of the topic by now anyways ;-). I am still dizzy after all the eating/drinking/pushing wii fit to the edge/doing nothing/… for 2 weeks, so get ready for some nonsensical rambling :-).

My gut reaction to the very first article on the merger:

Someone thought it is funny to post April’s fools articles under the XMas tree.

After seeing about 3 more articles of the same kind:

Oh wow, there is a post-some-BS-which-is-a-bad-joke-even-for-april’s-fools meme going on! How amusing!

After actually reading the articles and digging around some more:

FUCK this is for real!!!

After calming down a bit and thinking it through:

This totally sucks. RIP Merb (2006-2008)

Sorry guys, I just can’t join the grandiose Rails+merb merger celebration just yet (I’ll pop a few bottles after Rails 3 will hit the streets AND it will (mostly) work as promised though – but I am skeptical). I was happy that there is a new community which is different from the Rails one (of which I consider myself part of, by the way) – I joined the merb irc and voilà – everyone was 100% helpful (no exceptions) even with the smallest things, and even beyond merb (I remember a great discussion on some fake data generators/factory girl style fixture replacement plugins which was started just because I asked a quick question on something totally different). How about the Rails irc? I don’t really know as I joined just once about 1.5 years ago but was turned down quickly by abrasive comments and overall behavior (e.g. a comment along the lines of “dude if you are still using habtm anywhere (and not has-many-through), get a life and/or go back to your java thingy” – I don’t even agree with this statement by the way, but that’s a different story). Of course I am not saying the rails irc is always like this, and/or that all the rails guys are douchebags (I am not, for example 😉 but I heard similar stories from more people, unfortunately.

Just for the record – I am still a Ruby and Rails fanatic (please no comments like ‘it is maybe time to check out django’ – no, it’s definitely not, the rails climate has never been better), I am doing all my professional work with Rails since 2 years, own tons of Rails books, sleeping in DHH pajamas etc. so I am not attacking Rails in any way. From that perspective I couldn’t be happier – Rails will become faster, more modular, less bloated etc. (I am sure you know all the bullet points from the other articles) and I have no doubt this is more or less going to happen. I am mourning over merb. The community. The influx of new ideas which maybe look bullshit when uttered/prototyped but have a chance to get into the framework because there is almost no bureaucracy. The competition. The monoculture (will Rails eventually eat Sinatra too?). The very fact that something like this just happened – a true black swan, in my opinion.

Of course, I am aware of the huge benefits too – first of all, the reverse ‘divide et impere’ effect, turning enemies into allies – who wouldn’t like to have Yehuda Katz (which indirectly means Engine Yard, to some extent), Matt Aimonetti and a ton of other kick-ass coders/evangelists in their ranks? Not to talk about the other great things – you obviously read about it all over the web already, so I am not going to duplicate that information again. However, in spite of all this awesomeness, something just does not feel right… this is not how it should have happened.

Just in case anyone cares what I am doing in this situation: I am packing my bags. Porting over Bob the Biller(tm), my first serious merb code to Rails. Advising my clients not to start merb projects from now on. Sorry merb, not long ago it felt like a beginning of a beautiful friendship – too bad you passed away prematurely. Rails, here I come again!

44 thoughts on “Quo Vadis, Rails + Merb?

  1. Well, nothing is perfect 🙂 And hopefully the pros will exceed the cons. I have a smallish production Merb app, too, but am not migrating it yet. I think it’ll be easier and (let’s hope) less sad later 😉

  2. DDH has own brand pyjamas? do the rest of the core team do them, and if so, where can i get a set of each. this would be WIN


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