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Rails Interview

‘Anbody Can Get a Patch Into Rails.’

Jessica Thornsby

Interview with Ruby on Rails evangelist Ryan Bigg.

With RailsWayCon 2010 taking place in less than a month’s time, JAXenter spoke to Rails evangelist Ryan Bigg about his recent blog, in which he called for a greater community involvement in the forthcoming Rails 3 release.

JAXenter: You recently posted a blog that spelt out, in no uncertain terms, why Ruby on Rails 3 hasn’t been released yet. Has the community always been reluctant to get their hands dirty, or has this problem got worse recently?

Ryan Bigg: The more people who are involved with any community, the more bugs and improvements will be reported, take Windows for instance. Rails has grown enormously since I joined, (the #rubyonrails channel doubling in size is a decent indicator) but the number of experienced people helping out in the community has not grown at the same rate.

I wouldn’t claim that it was reluctance to get dirty hands, more of the case that people think they are not experienced enough to help! But one way to get knowledgable about these things is to work out how!

I am not suggesting people sit by themselves and struggle with it, this is completely the wrong way of going about it! You are just going to get frustrated!

Sit down with a member of your local user group who knows something about it and ask them questions. If you can’t find anybody locally, there’s a fantastic world wide community, ask somebody, anybody, you are only a click away from someone who can help you.

JAXenter: Following your blog post, have you noticed an upsurge in the number of contributions to Ruby on Rails 3?

Ryan Bigg: Very much so! I did two presentations called ‘Give,’ one at the Sydney Ruby on Rails Australia (RORO) meetup and the other was a shorter version at Railscamp AU #7. They focused on a positive spin of what giving back to Rails gives to you. A couple of things were that it looks great on a resume and it’s a great way to get noticed! Since this post and my presentations, a lot of momentum has been generated. Locally, Sydney is having a ‘Hack Night’ next Tuesday focusing on Ruby on Rails related tickets and how to contribute back. Globally, there is a Bugmash event coming up on the 15th-16th May organized by RailsBridge. These events have happened before but I hope this time there are a lot more new people who want to be involved in this process.

JAXenter: What does Ruby on Rails 3 have to offer, that makes tackling the current 900 bug tickets worthwhile?

Ryan Bigg: People correctly claim that Rails is opinionated. This is correct, but it is THEIR opinion, not core anymore. Anybody (with enough support from the community, NOT core) can get a patch into Rails. Contributing to Rails is worthwhile because it will gain you valuable skills in how Rails works, and how to interact with the people of the community. This is a valuable life-skill.

You don’t have to contribute code either. Have you seen a method without documentation? Why not consider submitting a patch adding documentation to it? Again, there are people who will help you with this.

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