Aaron Patterson: it won't be easy to support HTTP 2

According to the developer of Rails, the community can improve the HTTP work in Ruby web servers, and improving the streaming performance can be used as a launch pad for HTTP 2
08 June 2017   929

Aaron Patterson

Aaron Patterson

Member of Ruby and Rails CoreTeam, top 1 Ruby contributor, Ruby Hero 2010. Speaker at RailsClub 2014.


Biggest Russian Ruby on Rails event

At RailsClub 2014 he had a speech about the future of Rack.

We had a chance to ask Aaron few questions after the speech.

What are you working on right now? 

Right now I'm working on a few things:

  • Speeding up view generation (including routing) in Rails;
  •  Speeding up tests in ActiveRecord by investigating parallel execution;
  • Working on Rack 2.0. 

What is the best and worst part of your job?

The best part is helping other developers, and of course deleting code. I think my favorite thing to do is delete code! The worst part is trying to figure out why some code is the way that it is. Working on Rails is sometimes hard because the codebase is old in some places, so it's difficult to track down where some code came from, or why a particular bit of code is the way it is.

What’s your main achievements at the moment?

I think my greatest achievement so far is the performance improvements I did on ActiveRecord (called AdequateRecord). It took me years to refactor the code to get to the point I could make this type of performance improvement. It feels good to work hard on something for so long and to see it actually ship. Also being able to make performance improvements without changing any user facing APIs makes me very happy.

On your opinion, how will Ruby and Ruby on Rails develop in the future? 

For Rails, I hope that we can improve the HTTP story in Ruby webservers. I want streaming responses to be a better supported, and use that as a launching pad for HTTP 2 support. As far as Ruby is concerned, I am excited to see improvements to Ruby's garbage collector. I think Ruby's long term future will be to add more concurrency constructs, maybe the actor pattern built in.

What’s the main problem which Ruby society faces at the moment?

On the far horizon for the Rails community, I think supporting HTTP 2 is very important and will be quite a challenge. We have lots of software that depends on HTTP 1.1, and I think it will be a challenge to upgrade.

What’s your favorite gem? 

I think minitest is a good example. It's small and easy to understand. But I have to say that no gem is perfect. Everything has some problems, you just might not see it yet!

What rules would you propose to establish for the successful development of the Ruby project with 250000 lines of code by many developers with very different skill levels?

I guess the best rule I could give would be to have good communication among the team. Other than that, stick to the SOLID design principles. I think they are good rules for new people to follow, and as you gain experience, you'll begin to understand when it's OK to break those rules.

Is there any chance that MRI will get rid of GIL in the nearest future?

Probably not in the near future, but I do think it will happen.

Do you read any Ruby\Rails blog? 

I usually read the ruby subreddit. Also I like listening to the Giant Robots podcast, but they don't really seem to talk about Giant Robots very often.

What do you like to do when not coding? 

Mostly cooking and playing video games. Mostly cooking though. I am curing my own bacon right now!

RailsClub conference on which we managed to communicate with Aaron will take place this year in Moscow 23th of September.

Get your ticket here.

N. Sutterer: "Ruby is dead. Long live Ruby!"

Creator of Trailblazer that introduces several new abstraction layers into Rails, Rails contributor and gem author, speaker at Railsclub
15 January 2018   377

Nick Sutterer at RailsClub 2017
Nick Sutterer at RailsClub 2017

Hello! Please, introduce yourself in few words.

My name is Nick Sutterer, I’m developing software for like 22-25 years and I work like a consultant of my open source project for different companies. Sometimes I give presentations at conferences.

Is it your first time in Russia, Moscow, RailsClub?

It is. Everything for a first time. I’m blown away!

How do you like it?

Great! It’s amazing! Since I arrived, people care about me, people take me out, people show me the city, people give me history lessons. It’s amazing. Great food. We go to places and have a drink. I go to hotel, sleep, and everything starts again. That’s amazing! I’m really enjoying it.

Can you tell us about your report in few keynotes?

My talk was about the lack of innovation in Ruby language and about innovations that is happening in frameworks, that use Ruby. I’m just showing what we have. I try to inspire people and Ruby core team to pick some ideas from other technologies and make Ruby even better.

Your talk is called “Ruby is dead”. If Ruby is dead, what’s alive?

Ruby is dead. Long live Ruby. I’m trying to be provocative with my talk. I’m still coding Ruby everyday, I’m still traveling to all conference because I still believe that Ruby is an amazing programming language. There’s languages, showing up recently. Elixir or Golang for example. They have completely different way. They deal with problems and they are way more innovative. But they are brand new. I, actually, don’t think that Ruby is dead.

What you don’t like in Ruby the most?

I hate that we keep thinking in really old way. We reject innovation. It is especially due to frameworks like Rails. I would love to the more development of Rails, with all it’s huge audience. Ruby is lacking a lot of features that a lot of other languages have, like pattern matching and method overloading. The problem is that sometimes I feel that we are behind the innovations that happen to other languages. Specifically features, that make other languages amazing. We don’t have them, and it’s very sad.

What is your way to improve Ruby?

Every time is meet Matz at conference, I tell him for few hours what should be done to improve Ruby. Without any providing any help. It’s all about innovations. I try to innovate in my own framework, Trailblazer. So we can put the way we write business code to new level. I try to inspire people with my library code they use new concepts in Ruby that never been there before. I think that helping them to write the applications.

How do you see the world of programming in 10 and 50 years? And will Ruby and Rails have place in this future?

I don’t think Rails will have place. I really love Rails community and people in Rails Core. But I don’t think that Rails will be a thing in 10 years. But I think Ruby will still be around. It all depends on what is going to happen with Ruby 3.0. When it will be released and what features will it bring. I think Ruby will still be there. But I can’t tell you what will happen in 50 years. Because in 50 years there won’t be a need to program anymore. We will probably just write diagrams on the air.

In your opinion, what technologies are the most hypest today?

Craft beer and coffee, haha! Everything that hipsters do! Now everything is switching from OOP to FP. We are trying to avoid to have unwanted side effects in order to not let users to screw up internal state. Functional programming makes it impossible to users to do stuff in wrong order, for example. Like problems that we have in Ruby. I see a lot of development in functional languages because they are also way easy to paralyze and they have a lot of advanced features.

What advice can you give to average programmer to stand out the crowd?

Important thing in IT is that you always need to play with new tools. Even if you are not a super programmer, you have to look at the community and check what’s going on. It is really important to keep moving. Otherwise, I see that my current job at the police is really slow. They using very outdated technologies. A lot of people are affected. It is non productive. It’s good because a lot of people are keeping their jobs . But it is important to adopt new technologies. I’m not saying be a coding hipster and change your framework everyday. But a lot of new things in last 10 years make sense. People should use it and not just sit there and enjoy excellent job. They can get fired tomorrow.

What makes you excited about your job?

That’s beautiful question. I think that idea of open source is that you expose code that you think is helpful and people will tell you that it really is. This is what keeps me programming. When I write something and I see that a lot of people use it and they say like “It is so much better that I used before!” It’s great! This is making my day. It’s all about what comes back. I also program my own stuff and sometimes I think: “Yes!” But mostly I like when something what I do is helpful to other people.

Do you have any plans on writing a book?

I have already wrote one book. Two years ago, it took like 16 months. I was writing and inventing at the same time. That was a huge mistake! I was keeping updating my book with changes in my library code. It was massive. I plan to write more books, because it was fun. It has to be with the right timing. I’m not gonna write a book about, for example, a new version of my framework now because it’s still changing. I’m not gonna make this mistake again. It’s so much work! Unbelievable.

Do you have any nightmares, related to you job?

I used to have those kind of dreams few years ago. Sometimes I still have them.You always imagine software as something visual. Brain just does that. My dreams about those thing and passing the objects. And it’s always the wrong object! It’s the only nightmare that I have. I was able to have good work\life balance. So I have very rare the bad sleep. Even if I don’t look like it.