A. Molchanov: "You can sing on Ruby"

Software developer from Evrone, family man, eternal student and speaker at RailsClub 2017
09 October

Andrey Molchanov
Andrey Molchanov

On the RailsClub 2017, we've managed to talk with Andrey Molchanov about his report and future of programming. 

Tell us about yourself and what will your report be about?

My name is Molchanov Andrey. I work for Evrone. The topic of my report is "Ruby Virtual Machine". RubyVM will be considered in comparison with virtual machines of other languages, its pros and cons, differences. Examples of use and configurations in small, practical examples will also be shown.

Are you from Moscow?

No, I'm from the town of Kotlas, this is the Arkhangelsk region.

How do you like Moscow, as a conference?

Everything is fine, I'm not here for the first time. Got here wonderful, everything is very good. The organization is on the level. Everything is very cool.

How do you see the programming world in 10 and 50 years? Perhaps, you see trends that are already outlined and will be relevant at that time.

Quite a complicated question. A lot of new technologies will be used, which are created and are developing now (for example, blockchain, machine learning). It's all very interesting, but, really, I do not know what it all can lead to. Of course, there will remain the fundamentals of programming and development, which were developed in the previous century. And new paradigms will be superimposed on this basis. But I do not think that something will change dramatically in the near future.

Do you think there will be a place in this future world for Ruby and Rails? Or, then, will these technologies be of purely scientific interest?

I don't think that Rails will be used only in the sphere of scientific interest. Ruby, and even more so Rails, is sharpened for practical use. It's an elegant language, you can sing on it. The language itself develops, something new appears. We are waiting for Ruby 3, we are waiting for a performance increase. And Rails, of course, will not disapear. A lot of projects are already written on it and will be written in the future, there will be their support performed. I'm also confident that a worthy alternative to Rails will soon appear, but it will not be tomorrow, so it's unlikely that something will change much in the near future.

What are the pros and cons of RubyVM you can distinguish on the background of other virtual machines?

Most virtual machines already use compilations during or before executing the code. Ruby does not have these compilations. I'm sure Matz and the team are thinking about this. And they understand that really Ruby is not a new language and they are very cautious about innovations. I think that it will still be, but, most likely, not soon.

Do you think that there can be such an interesting project based on RubyVM, like Elixir based on ErlangVM?

If I say "no", I'm sure I will offend someone. But I believe that based on this stage nothing can appear based on RubyVM.

In the IT sphere there are more and more people, millions all over the world work in IT one way or another. What advice would you give for the "average programmer"?

Learn the basics. Fundamentals of programming, development. Do not miss only the information on the top, which is used in practice. Work, perhaps, consists of 90% of the solutions that can be found quickly and be used as a solution. But you need to learn the basics, it is the basis on which development is based from the last century.

Do you get real, great satisfaction from your work? Not only in material terms, but in terms of spiritual pleasure?

I am happy to solve complex problems. I feel enthusiastic. Money or some kind of "status" for me is not primary - it's just an indicator of your work. Also it's work on the project you're working on. To create what other people will use. Also this is the open source work, to help colleagues. To make everyone feel better.

Do you have plans for writing a book?

I do not have the book written yet. I have a small article, I was trying to make a blog. But, it all calmed down. I have no plans to write a book either. For the book you need a huge baggage of knowledge, practical and theoretical, which should translate into a book. I have no such knowledge so far.

Do you have "professional" nightmares associated with your work?

I can not remember anything. Fortunately, I sleep well and sleep a lot.

P. Solnica: "I'm excited about Truffle Ruby"

Software engineer with over 10 years of experience, Tech Lead at Icelab, speaker at RailsClub
23 November

Piotr Solnica at RailsClub 2017
Piotr Solnica at RailsClub 2017

A software engineer with over 10 years of experience, working as Tech Lead at Icelab. Active OSS contributor and maintainer of various projects for over 5 years. Former DataMapper core team member, creator of the popular Virtus gem, lead developer of Ruby Object Mapper project, and dryrb core developer.

On the RailsClub 2017, we've managed to talk with Piotr about his work, dry stack and future of IT.

Please, tell me about yourself. Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m a software developer from Poland. I worked mainly with web apps for last 14 years. I’ve graduated as bachelor in computer science. I’ve studied a bunch of languages and found a job as PHP developer, then I’ve switched to Ruby in 2007. That was my life for almost 11 years. Mostly doing Ruby and worked a little bit with functional languages for few months and now I’m back with Ruby as my main language.

Is it your first time in Russia? How do you like it? How do you like RailsClub?

It’s my first time in Russia. I really like Moscow, it’s really nice city. I like that it’s big. There’s a lot of space. I live in Krakow, so, it has crowded, narrow streets, lots of buildings close to each other. We’ve got nice weather in Moscow! And it’s always raining in Krakow. I really like. People are nice, the conference is awesome. I’m really enjoying it. I also like that people have a lot of questions. I’ve been talking for less than three hours with like 20+ people. That’s really encouraging for me.

Can you give us keynotes from your report?

I’ve talked about the project with which I was working since 2011. I’m basically trying to build a new set of tools to work with databases in Ruby. To shift people to alternative approach, not a typical object-oriented approach, when it comes to working with databases. The talk was about upcoming version 3.0, which is expected to be realized in October. The main thing is to show that this library, despite it is much more advanced than existing solutions, it’s finally as easy to use as this existing solutions.

As far as I understand, your library is designed to replace Active Record. What is main advantage and disadvantage of your product?

The main advantage that it is much more flexible than active record because you don’t have to module your app domain in the same way as your module database tables. You can have different sets of attributes for certain modules and certain modules don’t have to be one-to-one mapping between the tables and their representation in Ruby. This means that when your application growing and you starting to see more and more domain specific concepts you will be able to module them just by using API that we have. It’s also easier to make changes in databases because you have chainset API that we introduced recently. We can use it transfer data from representation that your application receives into a structure that is compatible with your database. We don’t have it in Active Record - concept of data transformation. And, second advantage - it’s kinda lightweight, because the data structures that we load, the objects, that we load, they are smaller than Active Record objects. They take less memory and they are faster. As a result , Rom is faster, it can work with different databases. people are using Rom with data that they pull from YAMA files or csv files or HTTP API and then they combine these data and with what they have in their database, maybe store in their database after some transformation. It’s just much more flexible and support.
Disadvantages are mostly related to the fact that it’s still young project. First few years of my work was mostly experimentation and project started at 2013 and 1.0 version was released in November. That’s not a lot for open source project. 3 years for open source is like 3 months in case for a normal project. As a result, we’re lacking the documentation, which is in big priority right now, our community is much smaller, we use less 3rd party tools and extensions than in case of Active Record. We don’t have 3rd party solutions for stuff like file uploads or authorization.  We are on our own in a lot of common cases. That’s the biggest disadvantage. If you don’t feel like build a plugin for a file upload, it’s not gonna be good fit for you.

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

I have no idea, really. That’s hard question. I don’t know. I can't see the future. I think Ruby is doing well. I’m excited about alternative Ruby implementations like Truffle Ruby, which is getting more and more attention. I’m also looking forward to Ruby 3. I think it’s gonna be easier to predict the future once Ruby 3 is realized. But I think that we have a strong community. Language is not everything, ecosystem built around language is also important. And I think we have very strong community which is evolving very fast these days. We see more and more new projects. It’s doing well. There are other languages, such as Elixir, which is getting a lot of attention these days. But it’s a young language with very young ecosystem so it’s gonna take a while for younger languages to get where we are already in terms of our experience and our knowledge and how we work together. I think Ruby is doing fine and it’s gonna be quite good for next few years.

In your opinion, what is the hypest technology in programming these days?

I don’t know. To be honest, I’m not really following hype. It’s to distracting. I would like to check out everything. But I think Elixir is a big hype. In a good way.

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

Write and read a lot of code. That’s my advice for many years. I think people spend too much time discussing code and reading books instead of sitting together and coding. You can learn a lot from just this and discussing it afterwards. The more write and read - the better you become. For me, the fact that i’ve started contributing to open source helped me to learn so much. I’m sure that I’ve spend 10 times more if I was just relying on my job. So, contributing to open source is also a great way to learn not just how to write code, but also - how to work with people. You learn how to communicate, you meet a lot of different people, you work how to work in team, it helps you a lot. These two things are very important.

What makes you excited about your daily work?

I really enjoy using things that I’ve written. It’s because it motivates me to continue working on them and improving them and it’s such a joy for me to build them and use in a project as a tool. I also really like just working with people. I hate to be lone wolf, just writing stuff that nobody will see. Writing stuff that other people can use gives me a lot of joy and fun.

Do you have any plans to write a book?

I have a plan to write a book about my project - rom rb. This will be not too detailed book. It will explain rom rb in very basic way. Short introduction without going too much in the details because it’s big project. I don’t have time to write a big book and I want people to be able to quickly learn the basics and understand how it works. The cool part is it is possible to understand how rom works. It’s good to understand how tools that you use works.

Do you have nightmares related to your job?

I don’t remember any nightmares related to my work. I’m a happy man!