Posts Tagged merbist

Meet the merbists: Jason Seifer

Jason Seifer

Jason Seifer

Today I’m interviewing Jason Seifer known for the funny envyads and the weekly RailsEnvy podcast.

Matt Aimonetti: Hi Jason, could you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do for a living?
Jason Seifer: My name is Jason Seifer and I do mostly web development for a living along with podcasting and screencasting.


Matt Aimonetti: How did you get started with Ruby, what’s your background?
Jason Seifer: As far as my background goes, I have a degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. I got started with Ruby by way of learning Rails. I used to do some hacking on perl and php but never anything for full time work until Rails came along. I fell in love with the Ruby language that way.


Matt Aimonetti: You chose to learn and use Merb, could you please let us know why and how that happened?
Jason Seifer: Doing the Rails Envy podcast, I’ve been keeping up with the latest merb news for a while now. Along the way I’ve been extremely impressed by how the merb team handles things, listens to its users, and implements new features. At the same time, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to coding so I wanted to wait until the API was stable and version 1.0ish before jumping in to building merb apps. I have a lot of Rails experience so picking it up wasn’t too hard.


Matt Aimonetti: Do you have some Merb projects available online we can look at? what was your experience so far?
Jason Seifer: I don’t have anything online at the moment but I am working on a couple of things that I hope to release in the coming months. Working with merb is a pleasure most of the time, though it’s pretty easy to get confused with some common rails functions that differ slightly by name (before/before_filter, etc) if you’ve been doing Rails for a while. One thing that’s really nice about working with merb is how compact and easy to understand the framework code is. It’s very easy to jump in and see how something works if you’re having trouble.


Matt Aimonetti: What is your favorite aspect of the Merb framework?
Jason Seifer: As far as features go, I love run_later. It’s pretty nice not to have to run a message queue for decoupling simple things like sending email from the request/response cycle. There are a number of smaller features like that which make merb nice to work with.

My favorite aspect of merb, though, is the stable api. It’s very comforting to know that by upgrading to the next stable point release of the framework that I’m not going to have things that break. This of course doesn’t mean that a stable and comprehensive test suite isn’t important but it is one less worry.


Matt Aimonetti: Could you please mention an aspect of Merb you hope to see being improved in the near future?
Jason Seifer: If you had asked me this question a few weeks ago I would have said documentation, but that itch is being scratched by the merb book. Though not exactly merb, I’d really love to see DataMapper get JRuby compatibility so we can get the full stack on JRuby for deployment. That would be very exciting what with everything going on in JRuby land at the moment.


Matt Aimonetti: Thank you for your time. Anything else you would like to add?

Jason Seifer:
I would encourage people to try merb if they’ve been holding out at all. It’s a great time to get involved and the community is great, too. Also, I’ll be starting a merb podcast soon so stay tuned for that. Thanks very much for talking with me.


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Meet the merbists: Derek Neighbors

Derek Neighbors

Derek Neighbors

Today, I’m starting a new series called meet the the merbists. My goal is to feature various people from our community and ask them a few questions about Ruby, Merb and their projects.

Let’s get started with Derek Neighbors from Integrum.

Matt Aimonetti: Hi Derek, could you please introduce yourself and the company you work for?
Derek Neighbors: I am Derek Neighbors and I work for Integrum Technologies, an agile software company based in Chandler, AZ focused on web solutions using Ruby.


Matt Aimonetti: How did you get started with Ruby, what’s your background?
Derek Neighbors: We were doing custom software development using PHP and Python. We mostly had Python backends with PHP front ends that would communicate via XML-RPC. While this was working, it just didn’t feel productive. We had heard some inklings about this new framework called Ruby on Rails. It was nearing 1.0 and so we decided to do an important but relatively simple e-commerce application in it. We fell in love almost immediately and within 3 months started solely using Ruby for development. The productivity gain just could not be ignored.


Matt Aimonetti: You chose to learn, support and use Merb, could you please let us know why?
Derek Neighbors: We deal with a lot of customers that also have opinions. When we need to work to integrate into their systems, we need the flexibility to do things their way at times. Having to dismantle a framework to do little things can be frustrating. Having a framework with solid engineering practices behind it better allows our developers to help improve or deviate from the framework when necessary. This is something we were struggling with in Ruby on Rails.


Matt Aimonetti: Do you have a public project you wrote using Merb that people can look at?
Derek Neighbors: We have an academic scheduling program we are starting to work on, but have not yet released.


Matt Aimonetti: What is your favorite aspect of the Merb framework?
Derek Neighbors: It reminds me of unix. Lots of small pieces that do their job really well, that when combined make up something pretty spectacular. If you don’t need a piece you can leave it out. If you like emacs (datamapper) instead of vi (active record) then use it. In particular, the concept of Merb Slices is very appealing for code re-use. Something we have struggled with in Ruby on Rails to date. While plug-ins help with re-use there is nothing that would allow the flexibility that say merb-auth enjoys today as a slice.


Matt Aimonetti: Could you please mention an aspect of Merb you hope to see be improved in the near future?
Derek Neighbors: Documentation is pretty high on the list, but also losing some of the “you have to be a ruby hacker to use merb” implications. While it is a hacker’s framework, things like opinionated stacks and talks of Django-like admin interfaces make it sound pretty appealing to the non-hacker audience as well. I am looking forward to Merb not being only for hackers, but still preferred by hackers.


Matt Aimonetti: Thank you for your time. Anything else you would like to add?
Derek Neighbors: I just want to thank Merb-Core for their dedication and passion towards Merb. I think believing in quality and having the determination to make frameworks take it to the next level is what improvement is all about. I thank them for loving Ruby on Rails enough to push the development of both Merb and Ruby on Rails forward by not being okay with “good enough”. People don’t tell open source programmers enough how much they are appreciated. So Merb-Core.. AGAIN, THANK YOU!

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