I’ve now taken to explaining Ruby on Rails as “the fastest way to get from idea to implementation in a form you can iterate on.” Alliterative, I know, but I’ll blame Mom* and we’ll move on.

One persistent annoyance, though, is understanding where to find certain plugins, how to install them, etc. This is part of the larger issue that Rails is still an oral tradition – that is, if you don’t have someone helping you, you’ll read a lot of source and spend a lot more time puzzling things out than you really wanted to. Or maybe it’s just me. Prolly just me.

There is much (rightful) admiration for the distributed nature of Rails’ plugin tool. Unfortunately, the distributed nature makes it challenging to find some of the plugins which might be mentioned in a chunk of code you’re admiring. Even more confusing, some plugin which existed in one place just a few months ago can move with little fanfare and less explanation.

The one that just bit me is browser_filters. It’s in an existing app I inherited and, when I wanted to install it in a new app I’m working on, the plugin script couldn’t find it. After assuming that I was doing something wrong, a little searching showed it had been moved to legacy with the ambiguous comment “Moved acts_as_taggable, browser_filters, and simply_helpful into legacy – all have either been deprecated or rolled into Rails core already [DHH]”.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure that longtime Rails practitioners likely all know which have been deprecated and which promoted into Rails core. I’m also sure that those folks living in Edge Rails (and I hope to be one of them someday) are enjoying the benefits of the non-deprecated plugins right now. I’m growing accustomed to being a half-step behind. I’m catching up.

One could make a full time job of discovering these details and documenting them. It wouldn’t pay well, though, so until it does we’ll make do with blog posts (like this one), hope that enough of them are out there to help the next generation (like me) along.

Okay, I’m over it now. ;]

*Mom == Sally Joan Harmon Meyer, English Composition Teacher and Playful Linguist. Miss you, Mom. World’s (quite) a bit smaller without you.

blog comments powered by Disqus


20 August 2007