Rails and Merb core team working together on their next release

This is huge!

While people still try to find some drama in a hypothetical war between Rails and merb …

The Rails team and the Merb team announced today that they will work together on a joined version of the 2 frameworks. This is so exciting! Nobody believed it could ever happen (I personally, seriously had my doubt).

Yehuda had a great post laying out the plan and explaining things in details. Check out David’s post explaining why he wants us to work together and his vision of a better Ruby world.

I have to say that I have been impressed by the Rails core team and especially David (DHH).

I’ve known David for few years now and we had long (sometimes heated) discussions on topics like i18n/l10n for Rails. David is known to be a very opinionated person. But if you come up with the right arguments, he can be convinced and when that happens, he is willing to move forward and shake things up.

This merge is a concrete example that David and the rest of the Rails team care about Rails and the Ruby community more than we usually give them credit for. As a unified team, we are going to change the way web development in Ruby is done!

But what does it mean for you?

I put together a FAQ video which, I hope will answer your questions.

Matt Aimonetti: message to all merbists


Hi, I’m Matt Aimonetti from the merb core team and as you might have heard, a big announcement was made earlier today.
I did this video to hopefully answer the questions you might have.

Q: So what’s the big news?

  • merb and Rails team will work together on the next version of their frameworks
  • merb 2.0 and Rails 3.0 share the same common endpoint
  • we realized we now have the same objectives and agreed on all the key principles.
  • merb will provide Rails with agnosticism, modularity, improved performance and a public API.
  • The end product will be called Rails 3.0 but what real matters is that it’s a huge gain for the entire community.

Q: What??? I thought there was a war going on between Rails and merb, what happened?

  • There was no war between Rails and merb
  • We created merb because Rails was not fitting us
  • We wanted better performance, more choices/ more modularity and a Public API.
  • The Rails team now embraces these concepts and want Rails to follow them, so why not work together?

Q: Wait, does that mean that merb is dead?

  • Absolutely not!
  • merb development won’t stop, we are going to keep on releasing updates until Rails 3.0
  • clear migration path, and upgrading to Rails 3.0 will be as trivial as upgrading from Rails 2.x to Rails 3.0

Q: What does the timeline look like?

We just started getting together to discuss the technical details. We are shooting for a release at RailsConf 2009. However it’s hard to estimate this kind of thing so, again, that’s just an estimate :)

Q: I just started a merb project, so what now?

I’m sure you had valid reasons to use merb, you needed modularity, performance and a solid API.
Keep on using Merb, we won’t let you down. The good news is that the next version of merb (Rails 3.0) will be even awesomer!

Q: What about my client who was looking at using merb for his new project?

If your client is going to be using merb for valid reasons (and not just because it’s not Rails) they should still use merb, but with the full understanding that they will end up using Rails in 6 months or so. Again, Rails 3.0 will have what pushed you to use merb.

Q: I’ve been involved with the merb-book, what will happen with this project?

  • Rails 3.0 won’t get released right away
  • still need awesome documentation
  • if we look at Rails 3.0 as merb 2.0, we can easily imagine how the current work can be extended to the new version
  • Rails team will also include an evangelism team which I will be part of, so will be able to focus more on projects like the book

Q: I’ve been working on a merb plugin, what should I do?

Keep working on it! We’ll assist you with the migration process and the new solid API.

Q: What if I still have questions?

Come talk with me, or any member of the new team. We’ll be open to hear your questions, worries, frustrations.
merb always valued its developers and we will continue to do so but on a bigger scale.

Concretely, nothing changes for merb users. People loving merb should not worry. The way you build merb apps won’t change until merb2.0/Rails3.0. We will still work on your favorite framework and improve it.

Lori Holden worked on merb_sequel and we should release a 1.0 release of the plugin in a few days.

I’m sure this news comes as a shock for many of you, but try to not see Rails 3.0 as the way Rails is right now. Imagine a version of Rails with true modularity and agnosticism (sequel, DM and AR will still be supported) and the same type of performance as what you get with merb. In other words, the Rails world is about to discover the power of merb!

Here is what Yehuda explicitly says in his blog post:

  • Rails will become more modular, starting with a rails-core, and including the ability to opt in or out of specific components. [...]
  • We will port all of our performance improvements into Rails. This includes architectural decisions that are big performance wins.[..]
  • As of Rails 3, Rails will have a defined public API with a test suite for that API. [..]
  • Rails will still ship with the “stack” version as the default (just as merb does since 1.0), but the goal is to make it easy to do with Rails what people do with merb today.
  • Rails will be modified to more easily support DataMapper or Sequel as first-class ORMs. [..]
  • Rails will continue their recent embrace of Rack, which [..] will improve the state of modular, sharable logic between applications.
  • In general, we will take a look at features in merb that are not in Rails (the most obvious example is the more robust router) and find a way to bring them into Rails.

Personal perspective

I’m personally really excited about this opportunity. I had a hard time believing that we could work together but I was proved wrong. We have many challenges in front of us, but watching the two teams working together is very reassuring.

I’m also glad to see that we will have a Rails Evangelism team that I will be part of. I strongly believe that one of the many reasons why merb has been so successful is because we work and listen to our community. We have put a tremendous amount of energy into trying to understand what you guys need and what you like and dislike. In return, we have seen many people working hard on the wiki and the merb-book.

Can you imagine doing that with almost 4 Million Rails developers?

I’m also looking forward to working with a team and reaching to even more people.

Other news related to the merge:

If you have any questions, or if you want me to publicly answer questions on your blog please contact me. I’ll do my best to get back to everyone.

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  1. #1 by Andy L. - December 23rd, 2008 at 12:32

    This is THE best Christmas present, EVER! :)

  2. #2 by Andy L. - December 23rd, 2008 at 13:11

  3. #3 by Carlo Pecchia - December 23rd, 2008 at 13:19

    A really gret news! Well done guys!
    Surely it’ll be a lot of work for you, and for the community for… but the pay-off is really big!

  4. #4 by Tom Sawyer - December 23rd, 2008 at 13:21

    So 37S is basically getting the Merb team to do all their work for them? And the Merb team thanks 37S for the opportunity?

  5. #5 by Mikhailov Anatoly - December 23rd, 2008 at 13:32

    It’s really great!

  6. #6 by Piyush - December 23rd, 2008 at 13:48

    Best news of this day/week/month/year!

  7. #7 by Andy L. - December 23rd, 2008 at 13:50

    Tom: “So 37S is basically getting the Merb team to do all their work for them?”

    Tom, it’s ONE team now, benefiting the whole Ruby community…

    It’s a good thing, man! :)

  8. #8 by Markus Jais - December 23rd, 2008 at 13:52

    This is absolutely fantastic! Way to go Merb and Rails teams.

  9. #9 by hookercookerman - December 23rd, 2008 at 14:43

    Not quite sure about the news just yet; I think maybe merb being solo for another 6 months may have moved merb more rapidly then we could have imagined; but now all groovy peoples efforts will be focused on the migration; I know the end product will be cool but hmmmm; what efforts where being duplicated??
    as merb was going for a different effort, but that’s my point of view

    so what will be interesting to see is, will this “merge” actually be “merb on rails”, or “rails on merb”
    who will be riding whom; or is it a different position? will one be behind the other? forcing their point of view;
    I know who I want that to be, love comes in many forms!

    Yeah so the question

    All I want for xmas is my merb-slices to work in rails 3.0? Based on the fact they are merb mvc cake they will; just how many changes will one need to make;

    And why why rails 3.0 Why not mrails I read that as “mr ales”.

    so I think the community should work on the most important thing at the minute the NEW name

  10. #10 by Andy L. - December 23rd, 2008 at 14:54

    A new name would be a marketing / branding mistake. “Rails” or “Ruby on Rails” is the name featured on thousands of existing blogs, articles, and books.

    I know, I know… we’ll lose the “Merb” name… but we’ll gain a stronger community.

  11. #11 by mike - December 23rd, 2008 at 15:02

    but the important thing is…
    what does zed shaw think???


  12. #12 by hookercookerman - December 23rd, 2008 at 15:03

    I think i will stay with “mr ails” have a few on me, merry xmas. Very true; wont these links point to 100s of rails articles on plugins that will not work in rails 3.0

  13. #13 by jaigouk - December 23rd, 2008 at 15:08

    I agree with Andy L. Only Rails name would last. (sigh..)

  14. #14 by Jobe - December 23rd, 2008 at 15:45

    “And he lead them to the promised land. They drank and ate until their thirst and hunger was quenched. They danced and sang and fashioned false idols of gold. It was only then, when they slept, satiated and exhausted from their long march, that DHH drew his sword and slaughtered the mighty tribe named Merb.”

  15. #15 by Mel - December 23rd, 2008 at 15:57

    I started out as a Rails guy last Dec. Now I’m a ruby guy. I haven’t had a chance to learn Merb yet but from the sounds of what it will bring to Rails, I’m excited. It sounds like good thing for everyone. I guess I’ll download the Merb peepcode screencast.

  16. #16 by Mikhailov Anatoly - December 23rd, 2008 at 15:59

  17. #17 by Drew - December 23rd, 2008 at 16:08

    I am a little nervous about this announcement. There were plenty of technical reasons why I chose to use merb but there were some non-technical ones as well.


  18. #18 by Scott - December 23rd, 2008 at 16:57

    I guess that I’ll have to look on the bright side. Doing Rails development may become fun again.

  19. #19 by Satish Talim - December 23rd, 2008 at 17:17

    Great news for the new year 2009. Congrats Matt and the entire Merb and Rails teams.

  20. #20 by mike - December 23rd, 2008 at 17:22

    it’s hard for me to believe that a project that had stressed so much the differences would suddenly merge for the good of the community. i wonder if the financial backers started to see the light and say why are we building something nobody is using? funny how this comes about after i saw the rails metal article that bascially says, yeah rails can have awesome targeted performance too. rails is and has always been productivity first and that matters more than performance.

  21. #21 by jaigouk - December 23rd, 2008 at 17:28

    I just read the article written by Ezra. He said “Merb is dead, long live Merb(Rails-3.0)!”. There will be no merbists after all, but more open minded rubists.

  22. #22 by UiPoet - December 23rd, 2008 at 18:37


  23. #23 by Softmind - December 23rd, 2008 at 18:37


    These are great news.Ruby community is going to gain a lot. This is an effective step in my views when Microsoft is joining hands with PHP to make both of them safer in long run, when cloud computing is at its peak.

    I think… Rails 3.0 should not kill Merb 2.0. How about adopting a new name for this framework and shaping up with a brand new identity. Adobe has taken over Macromedia but the DreamWeaver name still lives. In the same way…. Merb should not die.

    MerbRails 1.0 will be a nice name with Rails 3.0 Merb 2.0 features. This way… one can keep themselves focussed on one framework only, rather than switching otherways. Plus… This will keep Rails and Merb alive for years.

    Another important thing… A detailed Blog on what is supposed to change and what remains intact in Rails 3.0 and Merb 2.0 should be the main goal.


  24. #24 by r - December 23rd, 2008 at 18:45

    Something about this reminds me of Tibet’s attempt to reconcile with China.

    So DHH gets the Merb guys to work for free, Rails guts will be replaced with Merb guts while the Rails “brand name” is retained and claimed by DHH and 37s. Does EY get more hosting out of this? What is 37s offering in return? Surely there are some business decisions lurking behind this announcement, yet this is mentioned nowhere in the posts–instead there’s a bunch of hand-wringing about “the community.”

    E & Y seem like good guys, so this isn’t directed at them, just the idea that they’re dealing with unsavory characters who were basically defeated by a superior framework.

  25. #25 by Jinzhu - December 23rd, 2008 at 19:41

    …… AWESOME ……

    What‘s a huge gift!!!

  26. #26 by j - December 23rd, 2008 at 20:25

    It’s a sad day. Merb has lost it’s independence.

    Rails 3 may be nice, but it may be worse than merb 1 in terms of the things that merb fans care about. Merb can no longer innovate… :(

  27. #27 by Matt Aimonetti - December 23rd, 2008 at 21:29

    @J if that’s the case then we would have failed you. The plan is to have everything you have in merb but in rails.

    @R I’m sure some people saw some business opportunities, but at the end of the day it was a decision taken by both teams and no one forced us. Keeping the Rails name makes a lot of sense and we didn’t even argue about that. But let’s say you were right, would that even really matter?

    @softmind Merb is being merged in Rails, Rails is what people know. It doesn’t make sense to change the name.
    We will publish a roadmap as soon as we will have one available. We are still working on seeing how we can merge things together and we will have to try few things. It’s a major challenge so please be patient :)

    @jaigouk I don’t think Ezra is right. Merb isn’t dead. First off, merb will still be around until the next release (rails 3.0) and we will keep on supporting it even after that (maintenance).

    @mike I know it’s hard to believe, but Rails adapted its view of things. I want to believe it’s mainly because of merb’s success. We might be idealists but time will tell.

    @Scott, that’s the point :) Stuff you loved in Merb will be in Rails.

    @jobe nobody killed anyone but funny comment anyway :)

    @drew things have changed, I’ll cover that in a different post, the good news is that even if you don’t believe DHH approach changed in 2 years, you trusted us and we haven’t changed since last week :)

    @hookercookerman the plan is to have even awesomer slice support in Rails 3.0 – Regarding documentation, that how it goes when you upgrade to a major release. We’ll try to go back and make sure blog posts will be marked as not covering 3.0 etc.. also with a more centralized work on documentation, these kind of issues should go away.

    @tom you do realize that 37signals doesn’t get anything out of a better or worse Rails, right? And again, even if it was true, so what? We will still get an even better framework so rejoice my friend :)

  28. #28 by Softmind - December 23rd, 2008 at 21:59


    Can you focus more on the structure of New Merb 2.0 ( Rails 3.0 ) as soon as possible, giving us a sense of relief to avoid sleepless nights during great vacation.

    Lets keep the fingers crossed that Rails does not kill the charm of Merb, just to meet old compatibility. Old versions like Rails 1.2, 2.2 can always be freezed and made to work.

    Please don’t let new generations be the victims, just to support backward compatibility in Rails.
    We are all born to move ahead and existing in the past will kill us.

    Give something different and unique to the Ruby Community that has all the powers of Merb 2.0, and good points of Rails as well.

    Ask for opinions on Forums and Blogs before killing something good in Rails and Merb.

    Make a fast move with Netbeans community before they close their code for Netbeans 7.0, or else Merb community will miss the bus once again for another year

    Time will decide, whether I am happy or a victim with this Merger decision.


  29. #29 by jr - December 23rd, 2008 at 23:37

    I just got to say… that right now, I don’t think that this is a such good move.

    We’re going from having an alternative to rails, from a platform for implementing ideas for things that rails has not done well, to trying to make that one great framework. Just having merb around makes rails better, so why merge? The frameworks were complimentary in many ways, so why not tolerate one another, and learn from one another but keep the frameworks seperate? Time would always tell if there’s too little space for two great frameworks. I think that merb would have had a great future as an independent framework. I think that its technical improvements over rails would have opened many doors in the long run, and rails itself would have benefitted from the extra competition.


  30. #30 by Arjun - December 24th, 2008 at 05:53

    This is definitely a good move!!! Merb is not going to be Dead! Its just going to make Rails better and Rails will in return make Merb reach a much wider audience. Just plain illogical hate towards Rails is not wise. There is no merit in that. This is definitely good for both the framework.

  31. #31 by James Herdman - December 24th, 2008 at 09:27

    Hi Matt.

    Is the Merb team merging with the Rails team as well?

  32. #32 by Barinder - December 24th, 2008 at 10:00

    Thats great news…..for congrats Matt and other Merb and Rails team members.

  33. #33 by no_more_egos_please - December 24th, 2008 at 11:59

    Look, this is sorta bullshit. Unless the Rails team is really dedicated to removing poorly scalable “features” such as message chaining and a whole host of other monolithic performance killers too numerous to list here, this is a bad idea. From what I’ve read so far, this is not the case.

    Look, I like both projects. But the it seems clear to me that a lot of dedicated merb developers are getting the shaft by some very self-serving interests (Engine Yard VC’s, book marketing, etc)… At the end of the day, this may very well be about the ego’s on top trying to grab a piece of the “I built it, it’s mine” spotlight at the expense of the hundreds of dedicated unnamed developers that contributed thousands of hours to make things better. So much for open source…

  34. #34 by UiPoet - December 24th, 2008 at 12:29

    Personally, I feel that I wasted much effort and resources developing merb-slices and convincing others to do the same.

    I, for one, love developing with Merb. Can’t say the same for Rails. From the terribly out of date “documentation” scattered across various blogs to my apps breaking with each new release, my experience learning Rails left me wanting for something better. I found exactly what I was looking for in Merb and began learning to code Ruby the right way by example.

    I still believe that monoculture is bad and that everyone wins when there is competition. Hanging the Merb flag on the Rails ship flies in the face of this basic principal.

    My suspicion turns to the fact that almost every Merb core team member is owned by Engine Yard. Something doesn’t smell right.

    It’s too bad that we’ll never know what developing with Merb 2.0 would be like. Merb 1.0 is solid and had a promising future.

  35. #35 by Leon Bogaert - December 24th, 2008 at 15:23

    I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing at the end. But at the moment I think it’s great news. I really look forward to Merb 2.0 / Rails 3.0.

    It really came as lignthing from a clear sky. I checked twice to see if it’s some kind of prangster-day.

    The people who know most about the two frameworks made this decision. And I’m confident they thought it through `till it hurted and made a right decision in the end.

  36. #36 by Web Laureate - December 24th, 2008 at 16:43

    matt, good luck. glad to see you in the spirit of holidays — http://web-poet.com/2008/12/24/fun-and-frolic/

  37. #37 by ernesto - January 2nd, 2009 at 03:16

    great news. have been sceptical that some community members would be mature enough to get together and stop quarreling, but i’m happy i was wrong. this could become the holy grail of web frameworks.

  38. #38 by Bicynicle - April 22nd, 2009 at 04:52

    hmm. nice )

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