Riding Ruby on Rails

by Noc Team on March 16, 2011

Hasham Malik, Director of Engineering, OSM Invention (Pvt.) Ltd, has been associated with Ruby and Rails since 2005. He has a diverse experience in development

Hasham Malik, Director of Engineering, OSM Invention (Pvt.) Ltd

spanning over 10 years. His areas of expertise have been e-commerce, social applications, web services and mobile back ends. Hasham started his career as a network/system administrator, but later moved towards software development. Recently, we discussed with him what’s new in Ruby and Rails and he told us…

CodeWeek: What kind of development do you do?

Hasham: Currently, we are focused on developing integrated cross platform, social networking applications in Ruby on Rails. Like most other Ruby shops we are committed to Agile manifesto and SCRUM methodology.

CodeWeek: Tell us about the latest version of Rails, how to build with it and the benefits of Ruby?

Hasham: Latest version of Rails is 3.0. It has been the biggest revision in history of framework since its inception. Rails 3.0 merges another popular Ruby framework called Merb with Rails. Among other things it has performance improvements, dependency management framework, ORM & Javascript framework agnostic, with many improvements in ORM. Since latest version of Rails is framework agnostic in terms of ORM, Routing and other sub frameworks. It allows us developers to leverage what is best that Ruby has to offer.

CodeWeek: How can the experts and newbies take advantage from it? What are your recommendations and why?

Hasham: Gone are the days when Ruby was considered slow and lacking in real time performance. For newbies, Rails

offers rapid web application development, you will be amazed at number of open source libraries & projects available. On the other hand, for experts Rails has become far more mature and stable framework, it has very smooth learning curve for developers already familiar with web development in other dynamic languages like Perl & Python.

CodeWeek: What are the New Classes and Methods in demand?

Hasham: Rails 3.0 offers much wider choice of classes and frameworks, for instance it is now easy to leverage popular Javascript libraries like extjs, mootools & JQuery. Previously, Rails developers were limited to use of prototype & script.aculo.us for AJAX. Similarly, NoSQL data stores which are becoming popular are widely supported with Rails 3 as well.

CodeWeek: Tell us about the intricacies and technicalities involved in the latest version of Rails?

Hasham: Rails 3 is the most amazing version of Rails framework ever. So there are many technical challenges that developers must cope with when compared to older versions of Rails. People who already know about Rails will have to be careful when migrating their projects over to Rails 3.

CodeWeek: Tell us about your most recent project?

Hasham: We are the services company, So our usual NDA obligations prevent me from disclosing too much about our projects. Let’s just say it is a unique kind of social networking service

CodeWeek: Give us a quick rundown on everything from the scratch till the final lapse.

Hasham: We were using a large number of new technologies in our latest project; it took us months of prototyping and rework to get to a stage where we can see results. The rework was most frustrating bit, but it is understandable when using new technologies which are evolving and continuously changing while you are working on projects.

CodeWeek: What difficulties did you come across? How were they solved?

Hasham: Biggest difficulty we faced in our latest project was that it was first time we have used NoSQL data store and it was bit difficult to let go of relational mindset that we had developed over the years. We overcame these difficulties by doing lots of research and doing quick prototypes to get firsthand experience of problems.

CodeWeek: It is believed that ‘Ruby is incredibly well suited for writing true international applications.’ How far do you agree?

Hasham: Latest version of Ruby that is 1.9.2 version has complete support for Unicode and hence it is ideally suited for writing applications that are localized for many languages. However 1.8.x version which is still by far most widely used version of Ruby and it still lacks Unicode support. But whatever Ruby lacks in term of internationalization, Rails has excellent i18n support built in and is great for writing internationalized web apps.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Asim Zeeshan March 16, 2011 at 11:09 AM

He is one ROR Guru, loved reading the entire interview.

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