nunojob:~ dscape/08$ echo The Black Sheep

About porting Ruby on Rails to Javascript:

In an effort to increase developer productivity at Google, Steve tried to convince the company to adopt Rails (and consequently Ruby) as a programming language. When that fell on deaf ears (Google really does not want to increase the number of languages that must be supported by their infrastructure), Steve decided to do what any other frustrated programmer would do: he ported Rails to JavaScript. Line by line. In 6 months. Working 2000 hours. Steve is a coding stud.

From: Steve Yegge ported Rails to JavaScript

In this six months Steve could have contributed to the rails core and improved the framework to a great extent. If he found security issues like the article refers than he should have fixed them in rails. I cannot even begin to understand why he didn’t by the way. Or at least reported them.

My conclusion of seeing that google allowed a employee to waste 6 months of work because they don’t want to increase the number of languages that must be supported by their infrastructure is that Google is Dumb.

Steve seems like a smart guy so if I was told to rewrite Ruby on Rails by an employer I cannot understand why he didn’t – at the very least – refused to do so and pointed out how stupid it was to reinvent the wheel. I simply hate javascript and love ruby. I think javascript is the worst thing there is in the internet. That’s one of the reasons I decided to take a chance on XForms. Well but that’s a personal opinion and has nothing to do with the case!
The question is:

So will this bring something new to the web?

Yes! But it’s not that this wheel is great and the other was flat. It can bring something but just because Google has the power to do that, in any language they decide to use. They have the man power to go beyond what rails offer.

But does this make the decision less dumb?

No. They could do it in rails and improve a great open source product.
Or is it that hard for engineers at google to learn a new language??


Comments on: "Google reinvents the wheel" (4)

  1. I somehow see the point of Google managment, there are a large number of engineers that do not know ruby, and even if it is 1 day to learn the new language. 1 day times N employees it’s still less than 6 months times 1 employee.

    Yegge’s that really top rank coder and I’m sure the idea to do it in a language that Google couldn’t not reject and that is becoming THE language of the web migrating now to the server sive, and therefore he did not a choice for the moment, but for the future.

    They already work with Python, so why whould they start to use Ruby? There is no big difference between them, only some little stuff and syntax, so I guess he could have just ported Rails to Python (Django is WAY different from Rails), but he decided for Javascript… Who would say?

    (Disclaimer: I hated Javascript when I started web programming years ago. Now that I understand it, I just love the language! Prototyping FTW!

  2. I have to agree with Alcides. Javascript as a language is a lot better placed than Ruby. Just the Unicode support alone has me sold. If you factor in all the browsers out there, I bet more processor-hours of Javascript have been executed than any other language. It’s proven, powerful, and stable, and as noted, supported in Google.

    As a long-time Rails developer, I think Steve should shoot for higher than just porting Rails – there’s a lot of baggage in the stack, and the idea of RESTful resources and strong conventions could lead to an even more powerful framework in the right hands.

  3. @alcides: as you might expect I knew someone would say just that. in the corporate world they work to make money and not to make the world a better place. Yes I know that but that wont stop me from being pissed off about it. Yet google is the microsoft of the web, thats fine with me. But they can go…, at least as far as I’m concerned. Can’t you see that this is exactly what Microsoft does every single time? Why are there some unintelligent guys in suits that are completely money driven taking charge in high tech companies? And making stupid money driven decisions like this one?

    @chris: If you want to talk about languages that got me sold: Haskell and Ruby (no javascript here, thank you)

    The fact that most developers are used to imperative languages doesn’t make them better. It just makes those developers ill equipped.

  4. Google the Microsoft of the web? Oh please. I know nowadays it’s “edgy” to talk crap about Google but this comparison is just nuts.

    Anyway, how about checking this interview with Steve himself:
    Doesn’t look like the guy has been forced on this task, rather, as an engineer it is a challenge for him. And if find the prospect of a single language both client and server side very cool. But the Aptana guys (with Jaxer) and Nicolas (with HaXe) must surely be crazy. Wasting time. Doing something they like. Crazy i say.

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