Ruby Wednesday

Bruce Tate gave an energetic presentation today to about 100 people who packed in to the NRC’s conference room in Moncton. The presentation was on the development platform Ruby on Rails and obviously there was a lot of interest. For instance, one of the sponsors, Spheric, is looking to hire at least 20 more developers.

Bruce’s presentation was just at the right level for a non-programmer like me. He calls Ruby the perfect platform for “clean database-backed Web apps”. He also showed how a lot of development steps required in Java are no longer necessary with the Ruby on Rails framework. What really struck me as a business advantage though, was the fact that the programmer can write the high level logic in plain language and this can be reviewed by the business lead before any code is written. I’m sure that this can save a lot of time and frustration.

Ruby on Rails is relatively new and the community is not as large as it is for more established languages. Developing skills in this rapid development platform could become a competitive advantage for NB organisations and is worth checking out. Given our small population, we need to develop asymetrical skills to take on new markets.

Please check out Bruce’s charity site, Changing the Present, because they granted him the time to come from Texas to New Brunswick.


Photo: Dan Martell, President of Spheric Technologies with presenter Bruce Tate

3 Responses to “Ruby Wednesday”

  1. Gilbert

    “Developing skills in this rapid development platform could become a competitive
    advantage for NB organisations and is worth checking out.”

    I was at the conference and was very pleased with Bruce Tate’s delivery.

    1. Ruby on Rails does represent a feasible new export niche and because it is relatively easy to quickly develop
    Ruby on Rails expertise. One can quickly move into offering development, training and other services.

    2. In some situations, Ruby on Rails could bring down development costs. Most web applications being built today are trivial.
    Basically they consists of simple screens used to capture data that is sent to a database from which a few report screens are produced.
    RubyOnRails is very efficient for these types of applications. PHP is also very efficient but RoR’s built in Ajax and ActiveRecord functionalities does give RoR a definite edge.
    Of course if you already are fluent in PHP it is probably not worth your while to learn RoR. Most web sites/applications built in New Brunswick
    could be advantageously developped with RoRs. My logic here is that simple web applications can be built in less than a week with PHP and mySQL.

    3. Rails generates an elegant and very solid software architecture. Getting such a solid structure without rails usually requires the services of
    an experienced software engineer. There aren’t very many software engineers in New-Brunswick so, on the architecture side, Rails could be a great benefit.

    Warning: Ruby on Rails also represents a danger. It is not always the best tool to use. I have seen someone push RoR
    when it wasn’t proper to do so.

    If what you are building is complex, must be extremely performant or extremely scalable, might lead to a commercial product…
    etc I would strongly recommend that one contacts a software engineer with experience in
    RoR,J2EE,.NET,PHP, ColdFusion and other platforms.

    If you can’t find anyone to answer your questions contact me via


  2. Dan Martell

    @Harold – Thanks for the post, it was an exciting event, and were glad to get such an overwhelming response.</p><br />
    <p>As you mentione we (Spheric) are looking to hire 20 developers over the next 16 months, and have already completed over 20 projects in Rails.
    @Gilber: I do agree that companies should review other technologies when evaluating any application development, however we see scalability as a mute point. Companies like, and most Web 2.0 start-ups have chosen the Rails platform, and have scaled to over 600 request/seconds.
    This topics would be a great subject for a technology debate at one of the upcoming CyberSocials ( ) – It would definitely be interestly/healthy for the community. Count me in.


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