Jonas Nicklas: Rails is not a leader in creating sophisticated API any more

Jonas Nicklas thinks that Rails or other Ruby frameworks in a step away from bringing something new to this field
08 June 2017   951

jonas nikas

 Jonas Nicklas


Biggest Russian Ruby on Rails event

Creator of Capybara, Pundit, Turnip and CarrierWave, Ruby Hero 2011. Speaker at RailsClub 2014.

At the conference Jonas talked about Concurrent systems in Ruby.

We had a opportunity to ask him few questions after the speech.

How and when have you became a coder? 

My mom and dad taught me QBASIC when I was 8 years old, and in some form, programming has been part of my life since then. I taught myself PHP in high school and found Ruby and Rails in 2005.

What are you working on right now? 

I work at a consultancy company called Elabs in Gothenburg, Sweden. We do all kinds of projects, pretty much all of it is in Ruby, with a lot of JavaScript on the front end. Lately I've been working with several game companies, which has been super interesting. In my spare time I've been dabbling with Rust, which I think is a truly fantastic language and well worth learning.

What is the best and worst part of your job?

I like working with customers, trying to understand their vision and make it a reality. The days were work is the toughest is when we have to make sense of complex legacy systems, I think most developers know the feeling all too well.

What’s your main achievements at the moment?

I'm very proud that code that I've written is used by so many people and hopefully makes their lives easier. Being acknowledged for that with a Ruby Hero award was fantastic.

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

I think there is a huge space in building thin APIs where Rails is no longer leading the charge. While building APIs with Rails is possible, it's not any more convenient than in many other frameworks, so Rails greatest competitive edge is not as strong there. I think we are due a step in innovation in that space, but it hasn't hit yet. I hope that Rails, or maybe other Ruby frameworks can innovate in this space.

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

We are becoming mature as a community. That's great in that we have a rich ecosystem, fantastic tools and a strong community, but it's also our greatest weakness in that we risk losing the innovation and quirkiness that has made this community so strong in the first place.

What’s your favorite gem? 

I really like Celluloid, it's a fantastic project and contains some super nifty code, well worth a read.

Do you read any Ruby\Rails blog? 

I mostly get my news via twitter and reddit, I don't really follow any blogs.

What do you like to do when not coding? 

I love to dance. I dance several partner dances and go out to social dance as much as I can.

RailsClub conference on which we managed to communicate with Jonas 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.