Claudio Baccigalupo: Ruby is the only language

Open Source - the object of envy for other professions. 
Sergey Siminskiy's picture
Sergey Siminskiy
07 June

Claudio Baccigalupo

Claudio Baccigalupo

Ruby contributer with more than 100 commits, member of a Rails Issues Team, organizer of Ruby/Rails LA meet-up and author of weekly mailing "This week in Rails", speaker at RailsClub. 


Biggest Russian Ruby on Rails event

At RailsClub 2015 he spoke about features and changes in Rails 5.

We've managed to ask Claudio few questions.

How have you became a Ruby developer? 

During my Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence I decided to build a web radio in order to study machine learning in musical preferences. The first version was in Perl and PHP, and the code was a big mess. By chance, I found a book about Rails in the library, I read it on the way home, and the next day I decided to re-write the web radio in Ruby. It took me two weeks and… I never went back to Perl or PHP! 

What are you working on right now? 

I'm working at Fullscreen helping talents and brands make money on YouTube. Specifically, I built Channel+ — a website used by talent and sales coordinators to optimize YouTube presence. Although the access the website is restricted, you can get a sneak peek in this presentation.

What’s your favorite programming language besides Ruby? 

None. I'm serious. I have recently built an iPhone app and I'm proud of it but… every time I open Xcode and look at Swift code, I cringe. Ruby is the only language that can keep me focused and happy for hours.

What is Open Source for you? 

Open Source is the blood of computer programming. It's the envy of any other profession. Only programmers are encouraged to share their findings and technical achievement in the open with their peers. Doctors, producers, investors, magicians… they can only show the «final product» but are not allowed to reveal their «secrets».
Open Source enriches us all. We learn by reading actual code written by great professionals, and we learn to give back. I am very thankful to Fullscreen for letting me release three open source projects in the last year: Bh (Bootstrap Helpers), Yt (YouTube API client), and Squid (a library to plot charts in PDF files).

Favorite resources (blogs / sites / twitter channels) on web development and programming topics?

I watch the Confreaks videos, I read the Signal vs. noise blog and I listen to the Bikeshed podcast. 

What’s your advice to the developers, which want to be successful?

Have something good to build. Coders are writers: we spend our days typing on keyboards. If we don't have a good story to tell, neither the syntax nor the cover image will cover for that.

Not tired from programming? 

When I feel tired about working on a feature… I simply stop. Nothing good will come from working when you are tired or bored. I take a break either working on something else (my open source projects, Rails contributions) or by doing something completely different (playing piano, studying Japanese). After a while (maybe an hour, maybe a couple of days), the inspiration will come back, and I will be excited to work on that feature again.

Who you wanted to became in childhood?

I wanted to be a wizard. I mean, a «magician» wizard. Then at 5, I started coding in Basic and… slowly became a «programming» wizard.

What report would you like hear at RailsClub? 

All of them, of course! Funny note about the language: my grandfather was Russian, and he taught me how to read the cyrillic alphabet.

What do you expect from the conference and from the Russian-speaking community?

I'm excited to see the loving side of the Russian culture, all the good people, places and experiences that do not make it through the daily news. Traveling is the best way to make up your mind about a place, the more you travel, the better person you become.

RailsClub conference on which we managed to communicate with Claudio 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.