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Presentation: Mongrel, 2500 Lines, and Economics

| by Werner Schuster Follow 6 Followers on Feb 04, 2008. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |
Zed Shaw is the creator of the Web server Mongrel, among other projects. (InfoQ featured an interview with Zed Shaw on Mongrel and more and an interview with Zed Shaw and Matt Pelletier if Rails is Enterprise Ready).

In this presentation at QCon London 2007, Zed touches on many topics in connection with Ruby web development, deployment, web servers and more. Mongrel is a successful project (particularly considering it's size - 2500 lines of code) and Zed explains its history, why it was created, and what some of the secrets of success are. An example of the latter is avoiding Yak Shaving - i.e. pointless tasks. One way Mongrel avoids Yak Shaving is by being available as a Ruby gem, which takes care of dependencies and makes installation simple. Other aspects discussed are
  • how Mongrel's parser and its strict handling of protocol specifications helps
  • how important good documentation for the server is
  • how having a documented API was an advantage for Mongrel
The other side of the talk is about the interaction of companies with open source projects they use. One of Zed's tips for companies wanting to contribute to a project is to write documentation - something few people are interested in writing, but that's necessary for a project. Another aspect is how companies should go about contribute patches or fixes to products they use - and how not to go about it. Zed advices companies to focus on being symbiotic instead of parasitic - i.e. how they interact with open source projects.

Zed finishes with a list of areas to focus on for future Mongrel development:  Clustering, Sessions, Logging, Caching, and  Recovery/Monitoring.

Watch: Zed Shaw's presentation "Mongrel, 2500 Lines, and Economics"

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Domain Specific Language about how we work. by Tom Dyer

Yak Shaving, Code fisting, Steak & Strippers just perfect.

I really liked this talk. This so reminds me of a couple of developers hanging out and having a laugh, or commiserating, about all the BS in the industry. At least when they can loosen up and resist the fear and taboo of "being negative".

It's good that someone else has had, at least some, of my experiences with corporate stupidy, greed, fear and arrogant certainty that is just so common in this industry. Not to say anything about all the Hypo-manic entrepreneurs jerking us around with their plans of world domination.

Zed's got a great domain specific language for communicating this stuff. I mean, Yak Shaving, just great. And so much of what so many of us do. Steak and Strippers, bloated garbage sold by corporate hucksters and fisted upon developers.

It's just good that I can sit on my couch here watching Zed and have a good laugh about this craziness. I really wish I'd hear more talks like this, at conferences, meetings,... I just don't understand how things are going to get better unless we put this in air.

Even so, I'm still having fun coding and getting all hyped up by the next new thing on the horizon.

thanks Zed,

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