After keynoting RailsConf, Martin Fowler continues to devote attention to the Rails community. In a notable new article entitled EnterpriseRails
, he discusses the issues faced by the Rails community with regards to enterprisey
concerns. Martin implicitely endorses DHH's refusal to complicate the framework by including things (such as compound primary keys) that go against Rails' opinionated attitudes towards simplicity.
I confess I like this opinionated attitude. Perhaps it reflects my Unix background, which thrives on many tools that do one thing well, rather than a complex tool that tries to do many different things. I like Rails's focus, its determination to pick a certain class of application and serve that well.
Martin then proceeds to praise DHH's ability to break free of the type of constraints presented in enterprise settings.
In this sense I see a startling parallel between DHH and Kent Beck. For either of them, if you present them with a constrained world, they'll look at constraints we take for granted, consider them to be unessential, and create a world without them. I don't have that quality, I tend to try to work within the constraints gradually pushing at them, while they just stick some intellectual dynamite under them and move on. That's why they can create things like Extreme Programming and Rails which really give the industry a jolt.
In the second half of the article, Martin talks about alternatives to Rails for folks who like himself "can't apply the dynamite" by highlighting the work on rBatis being done by our colleagues at ThoughtWorks, led by Jon Tirsen
. RBatis was presented at RailsConf by Badri Janakiraman
rBatis could be the answer to complicated database issues, still fitting into a Rails web-app, but introducing a different set of trade-offs. If you're comfortable with SQL, rBatis looks pretty damn simple.
RBatis would presumably be usable by itself outside of Rails, just as it is possible to do with ActiveRecord
. However, its primary target audience is Rails developers in enterprisey settings. Martin wraps up his commentary expressing hope that that Ruby is not overlooked as an excellent "enterprise glue" because of the opinionated nature of Rails.