When The Rare Ruby On Rails SPEAKS, Everyone LISTENS.

by Noc Team on March 17, 2010

RoRs in Pakistan are not easy to find. But here today we have with us young, talented Ruby on Rails developer Shahroon Ali Khan, who belongs to this community of rare RoRs living in Peshawar.

Yes, you heard it right Peshawar. CodeWeek started its journey from Lahore then off to Karachi, back to Islamabad and then again back to Peshawar.

“It is impossible not to notice Ruby on Rails. It has had a huge effect both in and outside the Ruby community… Rails has become a standard to which even well-established tools are comparing themselves to.”
-Martin Fowler, Author of Refactoring, PoEAA, XP Explained

You brief intro?

Shahroon: I did my Initial education from Peshawar and BS(CS) from Allama Iqbal Open University, started my career in January, 2007 as a PHP developer in Haseen Habib Corp & Sul@ta iSoft. In Sul@ta iSoft I learn t several things from my seniors. Then I joined NextBridge in August, 2008 as a PHP Developer but after 2 months or so an accident happens I shifted my technology from PHP to ROR. And this is the most spinning point of my career.

How has your education contributed to your present career?

Shahroon: I know a lot of people would not agree with me on this, but if I consider my personal experience and also of colleagues around me our educational system is not close to our real practical life. Practical/ professional education is highly in need. Although various teachers and Universities quote that they are facilitating students and preparing them for professional life.

I believe non technical subjects should not be included in technical degrees. Lab tasks or some practical kind of work should be included in every degree because this will eventually sharpen the mind of a technical student and will prepare him/her for prrofessional life as well.

Why Ruby on Rails? For programmers in various situations, Why should I invest the time to learn it?

Shahroon: I told you that shifting to RoR was an accident and I should call it a significant accident because it changed the direction of my career and has provided me a better opportunity. My Development Managers Ayaz Ahmad Khan guided me in this process. He asked me to shift my technology  from PHP to ROR. Intially it was a tough task his constant support and encouragement helped me throughout.

Why I shifted is mainly because RoR is very smooth and easy framework, and developer’s community in RoR is growing very rapidly. Investing time in learning anything always, I repeat always beneficial and learning RoR “I am 100% sure will definitely benefit anyone who decides to jump into it”. Often, developers focus on languages and ignore the question of productivity.

For proof, have a look at the endless rants on bulletin boards, forums, and in the hallways of developer conferences about the virtues of language X versus language Y. But a language by itself isn’t everything. The development community has tried to implement object databases and written generic frameworks but these were either not important or were too complicated. But ROR did it.

Would it benefit me to program in Ruby and Rails?

Shahroon: Programming in RoR is fast and easy. In today’s development environment your client wants to build 50 pages web site within 5 days or if possible less. And RoR is the best framework to achieve this. Build, demolish and re-build is the most important part of software engineer’s life and RoR provides you a very clean way for building, demolishing and rebuilding things within minutes.

Ruby on Rails isn’t a code generator. It is a true framework so that everything you need to get started comes out of the box. It is purpose-built for database-driven web applications and includes a no-SQL persistence mechanism (ActiveRecords), model-view-controller (MVC) architecture and embedded code templates.

Ruby on Rails is a very sophisticated, very smart and well planned software development platform for building web applications. It is based on two well-known architectural models: MVC and n-tier design. It takes away much of the grunt work usually necessary in web programming -writing CRUD (create, read, update, delete) SQL statements, linking the graphical user interface, business and database layers and embodying the business logic in concrete objects.

In the lean times, Why should Ruby on Rails be on short list of career-enhancing technologies?

Shahroon: Good question, there are some tremendous features that force you to learn ROR

1> No type declarations and interface declarations needed so it slims down your code.

2> Ajax it in no time. (RJS in Ruby on Rails built-in has support for script.aculo.us, has tons

of flashy Ajax effects to make your application much more user-friendly)

3> In Rails, just follow some naming conventions and you don’t need an O/R Mapper

4> Using Ruby script (Rake) to build/deploy/release is better than using NAnt

So this makes ROR fast than any other framework.

What’s your favorite Rails feature?

Shahroon: AR(Active Record) Associations and Active Resource are two of my favorite features in RoR. Associations saves a lot of time which you spend in writing SQL queries and making JOINS. You can say association is the key feature in RoR. Whereas, Active Resource helps you a lot in writing restful web services. As Ryan (very well known personality in RoR community) quotes,

“ActiveResource provides a large piece of the REST puzzle by basically implementing the client side of a RESTful system –the parts of a decoupled system that /consume/ RESTful services. At its essence, *ActiveResource provides a way to utilize model objects as REST-based client proxies to remote services*.”

Future of Rails in Pakistan?

Shahroon: Future of Rails depends on the future of Software Industry in Pakistan, if Software Industry continues to grow up in Pakistan RoR will definitely take its share and I am quite hopeful that this share will be good enough. But I think we should conduct some seminars and software exhibitions to introduce new technologies. But as an ROR developer I should say “Future is Rails”.

How would you advise youngsters who wish to join and pursue Software Development as a career?

Shahroon: Whosoever wishes to join Software Development should transform himself into a problem solver and a decision maker. Learn as much as you can from your seniors. Respect your seniors; be honest and responsible to your profession.

What is your broad perception about the Software Engineering community in Pakistan as it stands today?

Shahroon: Pakistani software engineers are talented and they have performed excellent in world’s leading software companies like Google, Microsoft, Sun etc. But we do not have an interactive community. Magazines especially CodeWeek is doing an excellent job in this respect.

What are your personal professional plans for the immediate future for the next 10 years?

Shahroon: It is always difficult to plan for ’10 years’, Thus I have plans for next 2-3 years. These completely focus on serving Software Industry especially in N.W.F.P. Software Industry in this specific region of Pakistan is not stable reason being; Software Engineers from this region always try to search jobs in Middle East and Europe. So if we can create some opportunities here at their door step they will definitely serve Pakistan.

I am a proud Pakistani and I want Pakistan to be proud of me as well.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Hasham March 17, 2010 at 5:50 AM

Hey Sharoon !

What is your email. I would like add you in with rest of Ruby on Rails community in Pakistan so that you don’t feel that alone. We have fantastic and growing Ruby community here in Pakistan.

Mubashir March 17, 2010 at 6:24 AM

Basic tenets of Ruby on Rails:-
1) Convention over Configuration
2) Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)
3) REST interface

I would say when people talk about Agile web development then the first name come in mind is ofcourse ROR.

Ayesha March 17, 2010 at 2:02 PM

I admire one thing from his interview, I want to quote his words here :

“So if we can create some opportunities here at their door step they will definitely serve Pakistan.”

Very well said Shahroon, and I have the same thinking for my country too!! We never lack talent at all, what we require are opportunities in our country!!!

Mueen ur Rashid March 22, 2010 at 8:11 AM

My Story is like Sharhoon shifted web technology from PHP to ROR in Uraan Software Solutions.

I want to quote his words :

“But I think we should conduct some seminars and software exhibitions to introduce new technologies. But as an ROR developer I should say “Future is Rails”.”

I am 100% agree with Shahroon “Future is Rails”. I can say David Heinemeier Hansson(creator of ROR) made lot of magic in Rails. We must promote Ruby on Rails in pakistan conduct some seminars and software exhibitions.

As a Senior Ruby on Rails web developer I am suggesting to all Pakistani software engineers Just try ROR as a web development technology you all will feel ROR is a magic language.


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