James Britt wrote:
>
> Curt Hibbs wrote:
> > If you were an early visitor to:
> >
> >   http://whyruby.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.pl?Ruby's_Best
> >
> > You may want to go back again and look at all of the entries that 
> > other people have made since then and vote for the ones you think 
> > are the best representatives of outstanding Ruby software. The 
> > primary
> purpose is to get
> > a good sense of which Ruby packages are the best candidates to
> showcase in
> > presentations to advocate the use of Ruby.
>
> Advocate the use of Ruby for *what*?
>
> It isn't clear to me that what appears to be a popularity contest will

> lead to a useful presentation on advocating Ruby.  We might do better 
> to determine why people bother writing software at all, understand 
> what they look to accomplish, and show how Ruby suits their needs.

I didn't intend for this to appear to be a popularity contest. I
consider myself to be a Ruby lover, but not really a Ruby expert, so I
wanted to draw on the collective wisdom of the Ruby community. I'm
trying to approach this idea of promoting Ruby from several angles
simultaneously, and this is just one piece. 

For example, in my own Ruby presentations, I like to use Webrick both as
a showcase example of what has been done with Ruby, and as a vehicle to
demonstrate how quick and easy it is to do some interesting things that
would be considerable more verbose and difficult using, say, Servlets. 

Why Ruby is supposed to be a resource for those who find themselves in
the position needing to sell someone (or group) on Ruby. The target
could be peer developers, a project team lead, or lower or upper
management. This part is mostly applicable when presenting Ruby to
developers. 

If we had statistics on the size and cost (in time) to develop one of
these packages and comparable information for a similar Java app, then
that would be useful for presentations to management. Unfortunately, I
haven't yet found such information, but I'm still looking.

There are many kinds of useful information that I want to collect, but I
can't do it all at once because I need the help of everyone in the Ruby
community and I don't want to "wear out my welcome". 

For example, I want to collect success stories on larger Ruby projects.
This will be extremely valuable for presentations to management (even
more so if some productivity measurements are also available). But I
haven't asked for this yet, because I've already been asking for a lot
on ruby-talk (although I have sent some private inquiries to particular
individuals).

> When trying to get people to use Ruby, the biggest push back I get is 
> "Nobody knows it.  I can't get people to support it."

That's one of the reasons I started this. I don't expect spreading Ruby
into the IT marketplace to be fast or easy, but you have to start
somewhere.

Another part of Why Ruby is provide advice to people who are advocating
Ruby in their workplace. So, what I'd like to know is when you get the
pushback "Nobody knows it.  I can't get people to support it.", what is
your response?

> While showcasing WEBrick or Drb might get some nods of admiration,  I 
> don't see how they demonstrate that Ruby a)  is easy to learn,  and b)

> handles the same business requirements as Java, C#, and other, more 
> widely deployed, languages.
>
> Maybe I miss the point of trying to pick some showcase Ruby programs, 
> unless the idea is to walk through the code and explain how 
> straightforward it is to write something interesting and good.
>
> Or maybe to show off some stunt code in order to simply grab people's 
> attention.  But "Watch, this is cool" only gets you so far.

Like I said, this is a small part, and really only applicable when the
audience is developers.

> The apps on that list are all quite good, but most would have had no 
> place in the last three Java jobs I had.
>
> Ruby is competing against J2EE/JSP/servlets, and app servers such as 
> WebLogic, and their .Net counterparts.
>
> We need to demonstrate that Ruby easier to develop, easier to 
> maintain, and solves the same business needs (including concerns over 
> speed, security, scalability, and reliability).
>
> Perhaps Ruby needs the equivalent of the "Pet Store" example.

Actually, what we really need is a simple spec. for something like a
"Pet Store" example, and then implement that in (say) Ruby, Java, C#,
and Python, each by someone skilled in that language and its development
environment, and keep track of some basic product metrics in a uniform
way.

This would be persuasive at all levels, from developer to management. I
know that this would require a significant amount of work, but
ultimately we need something like this. 

Fortunately, it needn't be done all at once nor by a single person.
Certainly, we could create a page on the Why Ruby wiki where we could
collectively start working on such a sample application spec. Once we
are satisfied with the spec. and agree on what metrics to track during
development, we could then tackle the job of finding a volunteer to
implement the app in each language.

Comments?

Curt

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