I am a frequent reader of Scott Bellware’s blog. He had an interesting post today reflecting on a Ruby conference he recently attended. His observation was how the speakers and the attendees seemed to take on a different perspective from the normal Microsoft conferences, the Ruby people are interested in using the right practices and the experiences they have learned instead of pushing the latest tools and technologies.
Scott does a great job of putting into words the feeling I get around people using Ruby. I work with some Microsoft consultants and they are always pushing the latest and greatest tools and telling us how we can be doing more with more. I think these days the .NET Framework and the tools are becoming more and more bloated.
When I am interacting with other Ruby (and Rails) developers I get the sense they are doing what they love and actually have fun while they are doing it. I can remember the days when I was writing BASIC code on a KayPro and Intertec CP/M based systems. I loved learning and the community, though small, was excited and happy.
I think the feelings we get come from the top-down. The goodness, the excitement and enthusiasm start at the top and trickle down to those who are willing to listen. The principles of DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) and KISS are some of the ideas David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) expressed in the early days of Rails. Since Rails is entering it’s 2.0 version, a recent DHH RailsConf 2007 keynote showed the philosophy of the Ruby movement. Rails 2.0 will have some new features but will also be taking things away that are not needed which is a great example of keeping things simple.
So why don’t I get these warm feelings when I am sitting back writing C# code? It comes from the top-down, Ruby is a community but .NET is just about business. Scott noticed the same thing I do.