This week I did something challenging. I turned around, unplugged my laptop from the external monitor, and scooted my office chair six feet toward Scott to interview him.
Scott’s one of our AMAZING AND BRILLIANT developers. As a less techy member of the Commerce Kitchen team, I’m always impressed to learn about what Scott does and why he likes it. So this week I’d like to present my interview with Scott on custom web apps, or Why Scott Loves Ruby on Rails.
Natalie: Hi Scott.
Scott: Hi. Nice to see you on this side of the office.
Natalie: It’s great to be here. I wanted to ask you a little bit about Ruby on Rails. Cool?
Scott: Let’s do it.
Natalie: Great. So my first question is this. How would you describe what Ruby on Rails is, in your own language?
Scott: It’s a web framework written in the Ruby language. It allows you to build web applications faster and more securely than building them from scratch.
Natalie: Ah. Okay. So what’s up with the Ruby language?
Scott: It’s a high level scripting language that is very orthogonal [According to Wikipedia, "orthogonality has to do with the ability of a language, method, or object to vary without side-effects"]; there aren’t a lot of exceptions in the language. So basically you can intuitively figure it out because of the orthogonality. It’s designed to be very readable.
Natalie: You’re smart. Ok, so what does Rails do to the Ruby language?
Scott: Rails brought Ruby into the mainstream as a scripting language. It was more of a hobby language, but Rails allowed it to become a mainstream production language.
Scott: Rails is the framework. Ruby is the language.
Natalie: Alright. I think I get it. Why do you like Ruby on Rails?
Scott: I like Ruby on Rails because Ruby is awesome. It employs the MVC (model view controller) design pattern. It’s a design pattern that keeps your business logic and your views / presentation separate.
Also, I love the community. The Ruby on Rails community is a very active, very small tight-knit community. And they’re zealots. The collective intelligence of the community is ridiculously high.
There are some serious nerds working on that stuff: Ryan Bates, Obie Fernandez. There are a bunch of people like that. The community is one of the biggest reasons I like it.
Natalie: How long have you been using Ruby on Rails? And how did you learn the language?
Scott: I’ve been coding in Rails for about five years now. I’m self-taught, pretty much from books and projects I picked up at another company I used to work for.
Natalie: What kind of web apps has Commerce Kitchen built using Rails?
Scott: Commerce Kitchen has built a bunch of different types of sites using Rails. We basically build the site / app based on the business process of the client. We’ve built Ruby on Rails apps for websites that are e-commerce, leads, intranet based, etc.
Natalie: Do you have a favorite Rails site that you’ve built?
Scott: Right now I love working on the Landesa LandWise project. It’s an incredible library database that will provide access to a ton of articles, documents, and information about land rights in developing countries.
Natalie: We love Landesa. They’re awesome. Commerce Kitchen also builds sites in WordPress. Why would you need a Rails site versus a WordPress site?
Scott: WordPress can be really great, but any time you need custom software built it’s better to do it in Rails. WordPress, while versatile, is specifically designed to be a blog and caters to that functionality.
Natalie: Wow, thanks Scott. Any closing words or praise for web apps built using Ruby on Rails?
Scott: Well, for web apps it’s great. It does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.