Bozhidar Batsov: Ruby must be free from Rails fetters

Bozhidar Batsov thinks that the age of full-stack web frameworks is coming to it's end due to mobile and client-side applications
Sergey Siminskiy's picture
Sergey Siminskiy
08 June

bozhidar batsov

 Bozhidar Batsov


Biggest Russian Ruby on Rails event

VP of Engineering Toptal, creator of RuboCop and editor of community-driven Ruby and Rails style guides. Speaker at RailsClub 2014.

At RailsClub 2014 he had a speeach about the recharge of Ruby web development.

We asked Bozhidar few question after the speech.

What are you working on right now? 

On my day job I’m working on a reasonably complex social trading application. In my spare time I’m mostly working on RuboCop and CIDER (a Clojure IDE for Emacs). But I have a lot of side projects as well, that anyone interested can peruse at GitHub. These days I’m also working on a cool presentation for

What is the best and worst part of your job?

Bests parts:

  •  I’m the CTO;
  • I get to work with a lot of cool technologies (RoR 4.1, node.js, redis, puppet, react, iOS, etc);
  • I have awesome colleagues;
  • I work on a financial app and I’ve always been interested in finance.

Worst parts:

  • Dealing with archaic 3rd party services;
  • Doing Rails updates;
  • Dealing with upstream node.js bugs.

What’s your main achievements at the moment?

Graduating from the Technical university of Sofia felt like an epic achievement few years back. 
On a more serious note — I’m really proud of all the work I’ve done in Tradeo and on many open source projects in recent years.
It seems to me that in our line of work your greatest achievement is always your last achievement.
I guess on the open-source front I consider RuboCop and CIDER my most important work so far.

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

I’m thinking that Ruby should break the Rails chains and explore new venues — mobile apps (RubyMotion is pretty cool), desktop apps, system administration, etc. While Ruby is used for all sorts of cool things today, for the majority of people Ruby is still synonymous with Rails, which is never a good thing. Diversity drives progress and innovation.
As for Rails — I think that the era of the full-stack web frameworks is near its end (due to the rise of mobile and client-side apps). Seems to me that Rails should forgo the view layer at some point and go in a direction similar to that of the `rails-api` project. 

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

Ruby has to rediscover its “cool” factor. When Ruby became popular about a decade ago it offered plenty of advantages over the most popular languages back then. In recent years, however, it seems that the language has stagnated a bit and all the cool kids are now doing Clojure, Elixir, Haskell, Scala, etc. I’m expecting that Ruby 3.0 will try address this with plenty of new features (like proper concurrency).
Rails faces a similar problem — in a world that’s quickly moving to client-side web apps and mobile apps the value of traditional web frameworks decreases. People increasingly opt to base their new apps on microservice architectures and Rails is not particularly well suited for them. The biggest problem Rails has to solve right now is that it’s still relevant.

What’s your favorite gem? 

RuboCop. Other gems with great code that come to mind are transpec, rspec, parser and sequel.

Is the good style of coding something permanent or does it change over time? If it changes, what factors influence these changes?

A language and the good coding practices for it evolve together. While good practices are generally timeless (it’s pretty doubtful that writing huge complex methods will ever be considered good style) the introduction of certain features might also introduce a shift in what’s considered a good practice (e.g. the new hash literal syntax in Ruby 1.9, the introduction of keyword args in 2.0, etc). 

Do you read any Ruby\Rails blog? 

I don’t follow any particular blog. The Ruby/Rails blog posts that I read are generally the ones that make it to Ruby Weekly. I also listen to two excellent Ruby podcasts — Ruby 5 and Ruby Rogues.

What do you like to do when not coding? 

I’ve always loved drinking beers with my friends, watching football, watching movies/TV shows and reading novels. I’m also an avid gamer and I play some guitar. Guess I might have some healthy hobby as well, but I cannot think of it right now.

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

Get your ticket here.

A. Davydov: It's vital not to stop and find conceptually new solutions

An Open Source enthusiast and one of the core developers of the Ruby-framework Hanami shares ideas about Hanami, Ruby and the developer's life
Diana Ugay's picture
Diana Ugay
10 August

Anton Davydov
Anton Davydov

An Open Source enthusiast and one of the core developers of the Ruby-framework Hanami.

On the eve of RailsClub 2017, on which Anton will be one of the speaks, we questioned him about the job and his views on Ruby development.

What are you working on right now?

I am working for a Healthcare start-up, which can improve the lives of so many people in the US. Unfortunately, I can't tell you more about it as I have signed the NDA. Talking about Open Source projects, now we are working on the version of Hanami 1.1. Besides, Sergey and I create a library for Event Sourcing in Hanami. It already works without a global state as well as does subscribe & broadcast for events, supports multiple adapters and allows you to easily add your own ones. The library is to have much more cool features in the future, such as retries, the construction of the event tree and eventbox documentation.

Isn't there something similar in Ruby with the Wisper gem...

Yes, it is very similar, but Wisper implements pub/sub only in the memory of one instance, while we want to allow the developer to choose how to process such messages: in one instance or to scale a few.

What about new adapters? How will they be added?

You just have to resolve them into a container. For now, we have in-memory and Redis adapters which you can play with. Kafka, RabbitMQ and, probably, PostgreSQL will show up in the future. 

What is your view on the development of Hanami in the next four years?

As now there's definitely a monopoly of Rails, I would like to see a worthy alternative in Hanami. This will allow all frameworks to develop. Thus, Hanami already solves business problems and many developers are inspired by this tool. I hope that in the future we will manage to view on Ruby as a dying language and popularize new ideas.

Do you think Hanami can become a mainstream in the future?

I've noticed some significant changes in the attitude towards the framework and its ecosystem over the last year. To measure it you have to take a look at the gems downloading scale, the frequency of the posts publishing, the conferences'references. A year ago, when people heard about Hanami, they would circle a first finger by a temple, whereas now they come up and tell us that they enjoy the framework, and they are already using it.

Why do you think it was Rails that became the standard in Ruby development?

To my mind, there are several reasons for this. Firstly, everyone was tired of verbose Java- and PHP-frameworks, so there was a need to create a simple and operative solution. Secondly, the framework allows you to quickly launch products, the creation of which in other languages would take weeks and even months. For many of the developers it was like a breath of fresh air and Rails has quickly gained popularity.
Now, there is no other MVC-framework of full value except for Rails. There are Sinatra and other http-frameworks out there, but they do not provide the developers with the opportunity to start working on business tasks with just one command.

In your opinion, what are the problems the Ruby community is facing right now?

Well, a lot of my friends are saying or have said that they are too bored with Ruby. They do the same thing day after day, which, consequently, kills the motivation, that's why a lot of them begin to study other languages ​​and technologies. People lack something radically new, some ideas that will allow them to look at their work from the different perspective.
It is vital not to stop and find conceptually new solutions, which nowadays the guys from dry/rom are busy with. Unfortunately, any new approach - not only in Ruby - is almost always perceived with hostility. On the one hand, some criticality should definitely take place, however, it usually kills the motivation to move on and grow as a community.

What is the path of the Ruby developer for you in general?

There's no single answer for this question, I guess. In my opinion, a good developer is interested in the capabilities of different languages and systems. If so, the specialist himself is to decide what is good for him and what is not. Thus, they would be able to choose really useful approaches to be used in work in the future.

Which gem, in your opinion, can serve as an example of an ideal code?

I certainly would not point at Ruby core (laughs). it's  quite hard to talk about such ephemeral concepts as the quality and the beauty of the code as I myself can't say that I write a good, so I do not always like it. To me, the best gems are those that simply solve existing problems and do not create new ones.

How do you learn something new about Ruby? Do you read blogs or use other sources?

I like link aggregators, e.g. Reddit. I also use RSS, which allows you to get acquainted with different points of view on the same problem.
For example, an article appeared recently about why Hanami is bad. There was, in fact, the only one point: the call method is magically called in the framework. The majority of the community was trying hard to explain that this was normal: excessive explicitness hurts sometimes. It's very interesting to read such things as you start to look at things from a different angle.
I also have my own Telegram channel, and the followers often send me some interesting links.

You were doing a platform for a collaboration on the Open Source-projects of OSS Board, weren't you. Are you still working on this project?

That's correct, I continue working on it right now. It seems to me that I failed to promote the OSS Board properly. That's very difficult to find people who will create tasks there and do them, especially when the task is slightly more difficult than making changes to the form. The main problem of the project is the search for specialists who will be able to add a well-described task as you need to monitor it, update it and communicate with the developers, which is actually is a very great work. However, there are still people who help, which I am very grateful for.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in the career?

I received more than 80 comments with questions about each line on one of the pull request in Rails. I never finished it, but as a result I started take such things easier.
On top of that, I finished the project in Google Summer of Code, while a lot of people give up in the first month, even more - on the second, and only a few gets to the end.

What kind of project was it?

This was a plugin for Sidekiq, which shows the statistics for all the tasks. Unfortunately, I've abandoned it due to the lack of time, although it is a fairly popular library.

What are your main achievements in life?

To me, it is that I did not shy away from speaking in English for the first time in my life at the conference EuRuKo-2016 in Sofia in front of the audience of 700 people. It is way easier to make a report in Russian as this is your mother tongue. You can imagine that it is very anxiously when you do not know English well and do not have the experience of such performances.

In your opinion, who from the Open Source developers can be considered an example to follow?

It's definitely worth it to look at what other developers are doing. They generate and implement interesting ideas that you can help to develop or just take a good note. However, first of all you need to focus on yourself and not compare yourself with others.

What are you going to talk about at the conference and why is it worth listening to?

I am to talk about the experience. I've been working not only on the framework, but also on its ecosystem for the last year and a half. To some extent I can be called a developer advocate of the Hanami framework. Thus, I will talk about why this work is needed, what mistakes I've made along the way and how to take this experience and apply it to another framework or technology.