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Rails 2.3.3 Released and the State of Rails 3.0 and Merb

by Werner Schuster on Jul 21, 2009 |

A new release of Rails is available - Rails 2.3.3.

Among the usual bug fixes, a few new features were added, from the release notes:

  • touch is a convenient method to update a record's timestamp and nothing else. This is extracted from apps whose models "touch‚" others when they change, such as a comment updating the parent.replies_changed_at timestamp after save and destroy.[..]
  • :primary_key option for belongs_to for broader support of legacy schemas and those using a separate UUID primary key: belongs_to :employee, :primary_key => 'SSN', :foreign_key => 'EMPID' [..]
  • leaner user-facing encoding [JSON] API.
  • decoding backends for the json and yajl libraries. Both are significantly faster than the default YAML backend.

Meanwhile, the work on Rails 3 continues. Yehuda Katz has posted a few blog entries on the new architecture for Rails 3, as well as lessons learned from refactoring a large code base as Rails.
One of the goals of Rails 3 is to bring Merb's modularity and well defined internal APIs to the Rails codebase; Yehuda's article on the interface between ActionController and ActionView gives some insight in what's going on on that front. What becomes clear is that the fusion of Merb and Rails is a major project and is still underway.

The work on Rails 3 also has an impact on the development of Merb. A recent discussion on the Merb mailing list addressed the state of Merb 1.1, which was due a few months ago. The current plan is to make sure a smooth migration path to Rails 3 is possible - which, of course, requires to know what Rails 3 architecture will be.
With all that said, Merb is still a viable solution for many projects, as Ezra Zygmuntowicz (Merb's creator) points out:

I'd like to chime in and say that I am still happily building apps with merb, http://engineyard.com/solo is built on merb. I don't find that there is anything I'm missing or that there are any features or major bugs stopping me from building apps with merb.

For another glimpse at plans for Rails 3, David Heinemeier Hansson's RailsConf'09 talk is available online.

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