Richard Schneeman at RailsClub2017
Speaker at RailsClub, 2016 Ruby Hero. Top 50 Rails contributors. Maintainer of Sprockets, Heroku.
On the RailsClub 2017, we’ve managed to talk with Richard about his report, his job and the future of Ruby and Rails.
Hi! How have you been? How’s Moscow?
Hi, Moscow has been great, I got here, I guess, two nights ago, and yesterday we did some tourism with the other speakers.
It’s cold, isn’t it?
Oh my gosh, it’s freezing! I’m from Texas, so I brought extra jackets, extra shirts. It’s so cold!
Well, hope you won’t fall sick. How’s the conference going? Has it met your expectations so far?
Yeah, somebody has just handed me a giant thing of cotton candy and I wasn’t expecting it, so that’s exceeding expectations. Immediately after my talk people asked questions and, at most conferences, the questions they ask are awful, while here the questions, I think, were really good and they actually added on to what I was trying to say. I really appreciated that. A lot of the developers came up to me and had good questions after the conversation.
Moving to your report. What about threads?
Well, threads aren’t evil. That was it, end of talk. [laughing] I think Ruby developers are very afraid of threads, and they don’t understand what a thread is. So, I wanted to explain the background of threads and show some cases where we can use threads. And it’s not that scary.
Is it possible to make the usage of threads easier?
The best way that I’ve seen to make it easier is through patterns. Threads are so simple, if you do too much on top of the thread and it’s no longer a thread. For example, the guilds is being proposed and that is supposed to be easier. *Cuich* is very interested in making a very easy-to-use case, but, unfortunately, if you are going to use threads, it’s going to be difficult. So, they’re not evil, but they’re hard.
What about the programming world in the future? How do you see it in 10 or 50 years?
Brain implants, I think. And we just think of what we want to happen and then it just works.
Is there a place for Ruby?
This is a very difficult question. I’ve been programming in Ruby for 10 years and when I first started, Rails had just come out and it was Rails 0.9. Everybody was so excited. I think Rails now is very immature, and to me it’s really good. To me, this means that I can be productive, and when people add new features, it’s not a big new feature, but it’s a useful new feature, and I’m really excited about that. So, I think Ruby is a really good intersection of usability and it’s getting faster. I think this is the number one goal of the core team.
So you’ve got the positive outlook, haven’t you?
Yes, I have.
Nowadays, the job of the coder is becoming more and more popular. There are plenty of coders out there. What is your advice to stand out from the crowd?
If you want to stand out from the crown, wear a big hat! [laughing] I’ve always tried to have a large impact, so I picked up maintainership of Sprockets, because a lot of people were using it and there was a need in the community. That’s what I’ve been mostly interested in. I also think, that making sure to get out will help: speak to people, go to conferences. I’ve got a tremendous amount of good feedback writing a blogpost. I’m trying to write a blogpost once a week, which is not happening this week, I’m sorry, I’m in Russia, I’m enjoying the sites.
Talking about feedback, a lot of people do their job and get a great satisfaction from it, e.g. building a useful thing, such as an aircraft or a ship, that serves people and they thank you. Do you happen to get this feedback or is it just like a task and money?
Oh no, no, no. Well, I like getting money, I like being paid. However, I don’t have any ads on my blog or anything like that. I like sharing what I’ve learned. I learned how to program from so many different people and they were just sharing what they knew. Now I want to share what I know and it actually ends up paying back to me, because sometimes I post and I say: “Hey! Here’s how I did something”, and people reach out to me and say: “Oh, I’ve got a better way”. So, my job is very rewarding for me in this way.
Have you ever thought about writing a book? What would it be about? What would be the name of the book?
Hmm, “Programming isn’t evil”, maybe? Actually, I co-authored O'Reilly's book about Heroku. So, I guess, I can say that I’ve written a half of a book. Talking about my own book, I’d like to, but I don’t necessarily know what people want to hear about. Some of my most popular blog posts are about the service I run called “codetriage.com” and people are very interested in things like how the does the service work, how is it run, how do I get new users. They are also interested in technical problems, like “I did this, and it was wrong. Here’s how you can learn from me”, and I think this is really interesting. It could be a need to package all of it up in a book, as it is half technical, half non-technical.
It is believed, that a person of each profession has its own professional nightmares connected to their job. Do you have yours?
I don’t know. Probably, the worst that could happen is that I was just very adamant about a certain change, and I ignored some good feedback from someone else. What I mean, is I don’t mind being wrong, but I would be very hurt if someone had been trying to warn me to do the right thing and I just didn’t listen to them at all.
Oh, that’s very it's very sentimental of you. Thank you for joining us, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you!
Thanks for having me!