Ruby On Rails and a Woolies Queue

I’ve been spending some of my copious free time learning something new, Ruby On Rails. Before everyone gets excited and says “Oh no not another blog about RoR and how wonderful it is…” this is not one of those kinds of posts, in fact its got nothing to do with RoR actually.?

Anyway, I’ve been reading a lot about RoR and trying various things out with it to see what can be done, how easy it is and is it actually something that I should try learn. I’ve got a few crazy ideas for some “web-enabled” applications and am looking for an easy way to rapidly develop the applications.

Usually when I start thinking up some crazy new scheme to make money I’ll do some research, which doesn’t revolve only around what I’m developing but also which tools are better for it and if there is a market for the crazy new thing and how much it’ll cost to launch, develop, run etc. I tend to spend alot of time on the research/thinking/planning side of things normally only to realise after a few weeks that my crazy idea is not feasible and I’ll go back to my drawing board. At the moment I’m still doing the planning/researching and thinking part and while I’m doing that I’ve decided I’ll learn a little RoR so that I can build a prototype of my crazy application. It’s not going to be only web-based and I’m also working on some of the other bits & pieces of the puzzle so things are moving rather slowly.

Anyway back to this wonderful thing called the Internet, I’m busy doing some research and suddenly realised that my current hosting company who I was hoping to use for this new crazy idea doesn’t doing RoR hosting. I think the majority of my clients are going to South African based, in the beginning anyway, so it makes sense to host it in SA… so the search was on for companies that do RoR hosting in SA. I found a number of them, but was more surprising was the number of companies in SA and in Cape Town that are actually using RoR for development.

I’m actually finding this more and more, that every time I look at some crazy new technology or tool (normally open source) that I want to use, a number of local companies and people are already using them. This has changed quiet a bit over the last few years, a couple years ago it wasn’t very common to find someone else using the same new technology that you were using, but things have changed.

Just the other day in a queue in Woolworth’s I over heard two guys having a discussion about Django and Ruby On Rails and which was the better and faster framework to do new development in, and I don’t live in the “Silicon Valley” of Cape Town but rather the sleepy little suburb of Pinelands, which often feels like a giant retirement home.