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Canadian Firm Posts Bounty for New Rails Database Support

by Obie Fernandez on May 12, 2006 |

ICI, a stainless steel truck accessory business in Canada, today announced a 900USD bounty to the first person to deliver ODBTP support for Rails. ODBTP (Open Database Transport Protocol) is a TCP/IP protocol ideal for connecting Linux-based programs to ODBC data sources on Windows servers.

James Earl, the ICI programmer that made the announcement, said that he is frustrated with the current combination of Net::Http and PHP used to connect his Rails app to the company's Pervasive.SQL inventory database. ODBTP currently has library support in PHP and Python. A "bounty" is a term commonly used in the open-source world to describe a cash payout to individuals for specific software development.

For Rails to support ODBTP, a core Ruby module in C would need to be developed, as well as a Rails adapter in Ruby. According to Marcel Molina, a prominent Rails core team member, all that is required for ODBTP support to be accepted into the Rails codebase proper is for the ActiveRecord test suite to pass using the new database bindings and Rails adapter class. 

In the early days of Rails, the first versions of the Ruby SQLite bindings were done in a few days, but it is unclear how much work would actually be required to satisfy the bounty now that the Active Record framework has grown more complex. The Rails wiki has instructions on writing ActiveRecord adapters and James has created a wiki page for the bounty project.

Interested parties should note that pure Ruby database-bindings are discouraged, for performance reasons. Robert Twitty, the creator of ODBTP described his product as "nothing more than a middle man service for Win32 ODBC", hence a good starting place might be the Ruby-ODBC bindings available at RAA.

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