A. Davydov: It's vital not to stop and find 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
10 August 2017   621

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.

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   376

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.