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Ruby x Agile: Matz explores the relationships between Ruby and Agile

Ruby creator Yukihiro Matsumoto recently starred in the first of six short videos exploring the relationship between Ruby and Agile methodologies. Matz features along with Kenji Hiranabe and Shintaro Kakutani. Kenji is a self confessed ‘Agile agitator’ and Japanese translator of multiple XP/Agile books. Shintaro is a strong Ruby proponent.

This first video explores the relationships between Java, Ruby and Agile. There is a particular focus on why they feel that Ruby and Agile are a good combination, and aims to illustrate how they both offer a more human, and less rigid approach to software development. It ends with a discussion describing how they feel that in five years time, Ruby will used heavily in real business:

“I’m from C++ and I first wondered whether Java would really work in business applications because it has too much indirection [such as the] virtual machine, but the CPU specs and the internet speed increased very fast and they exceeded the overheads of the indirection. And Java really worked. I’m pretty sure that the same thing happens again and it will make Ruby work for business applications in the very near future”

It starts by contrasting the timelines of Java, Ruby and Agile, making some interesting comparisons between the static nature of Java and non-agile development methodologies. As an example they describe Entity Java Beans:

“EJB is, in a sense, a huge legacy wrapper between old relational databases, its configuration is complicated and redundant.”

The timeline comparison sets the context of the conversation, and provides a platform with which they explore the social relationship between Ruby and Agile. They discuss the role of key figures such as Dave Thomas and Kent Beck, such as the introduction of the pick-axe book in 2000, and the Agile initial ‘bubble era’ of 2001/2002. They then discuss the apparent synchronisation of ‘booms’ between Ruby and Agile. These booms are indicated with a large increase of usage, exposure and associated literature.

When asked about the meaning of the title, Kenji explained:

“The title was originally Ruby + Agile, but recently in Japan, ‘x’ is [a] more cool saying, and it means ‘versus’ sometimes used for discussion and of course [it] makes more than [the] sum.”

This is not the first time that such a comparison has been explored. At the recent RailsConf Alan Francis explored the similarities between the Rails and XP movements. According to DHH, he explored the similarities “on a higher plane of approach, angry teenager-tendencies, and peaks.”

Part 2 and 3 of this video series break down as follows:

  • Part 2: Resonance of Business-Process-Framework-Language, why?
    • 2-1: Focus on the shift from CPU power to Human power
    • 2-2: Agile and Market meet
  • Part 3: Rubyishness
    • 3-1: What makes Ruby Rubyish ?
    • 3-2: What Ruby does and doesn’t inherit from Lisp
    • 3-3: Lisp, Python, and Ruby

They are currently working on parts 4-6. The first video is available here

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