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Rails TakeFive: Five Questions with Ryan Bates

Rails TakeFive: Five Questions with Ryan Bates

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Published by FiveRuns
The Rails TakeFive interview series is a weekly discussion with FiveRuns and noted developers in the Ruby on Rails community. In this edition, we’re honored to be joined by Ryan Bates, the producer of Railscasts, the free Ruby on Rails screencast series.
The Rails TakeFive interview series is a weekly discussion with FiveRuns and noted developers in the Ruby on Rails community. In this edition, we’re honored to be joined by Ryan Bates, the producer of Railscasts, the free Ruby on Rails screencast series.

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Published by: FiveRuns on Aug 01, 2008
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8/1/08 10:51 AMRails TakeFive: Five Questions with Ryan BatesPage 1 of 3http://blog.fiveruns.com/2008/7/18/rails-takefive-five-questions-with-ryan-bates
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Rails TakeFive: Five Questions with Ryan Bates
Published on July 18, 2008 by deanWelcome to this week’sRails TakeFiveinterview, our weekly discussion aboutRuby on Rails with noted developers from throughout our community. Thisweek, we’re honored to be joined byRyan Bates, the producer of Railscasts, the free Ruby on Rails screencast series.
FiveRuns:
Welcome Ryan, and thanks for taking the time to join us! We’veasked several folks recently about Rails 2.1. With over 1,400 contributors,clearly a community effort. What about the new release excites you the most?And, what are the most important things in your mind to get done for the nextmajor release?
Ryan Bates:
By far my favorite feature in Rails 2.1 is named_scope. Rails has long had the power of scoping finds, but I don’t think it reached its full potential until now. named_scope cleans up my codeconsiderably in every application I’ve worked on.Second, I would have to say gem dependencies. In the past it’s always been a struggle juggling gemsand plugins around for apps. Now specifying which gems an app requires (and in which environments)is so easy. I can see plugins going away in favor of gems.For the next major Rails release, I’m excited about Active Model. That’s the abstraction of various ActiveRecord and Active Resource functionality. This would, for example, make it easy to add validations tocustom models which don’t have a database back-end.
FiveRuns:
Some have said that the GitHub community is what SourceForge should have been! Now thatthe Rails repository has been moved over, can you talk a little bit about the benefits of Github?
Ryan Bates:
Wow, I’m glad you asked this. GitHub has improved my coding more than any other toolrecently. Not only because it introduced me to Git, but because it brings the social aspect into codinglike never before.There’s a saying that goes something like this. You should program for people first, computers second.It’s easier to go the extra mile for readability when you know others may be watching.Also, one of the best ways to improve your own code is to read other code. GitHub makes it easy tofollow master programmers and learn from their code.On top of all this, it makes coding more enjoyable. Now I look for excuses to code because it’s so muchfun to put my project on GitHub and share it with the world.
FiveRuns:
 Brucelikes to talk about “backpacking” through other languages. What others have youdabbled in and/or are you learning right now? How have these travels impacted your work in Ruby?Your overall approach?
Ryan Bates:
While not necessarily a language, I have been learning a lot more about the command lineand specificallyZ Shell(zsh) lately. Here is a tool I use every day, but never made the most of untilrecently. Once you know what commands you have available, it’s amazing how much can be done by just piping a few of them together in the shell instead of writing a 20 line Ruby script.
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