How I got into Ruby on Rails

With all the buzz about RailsWorld lately I wanted to write a little about Rails and what it means to me.

Before I started using Rails, I spent years on React Road, constantly struggling to make sense of how much time I was spending solving problems that seemed like they should have been solved 20 years ago. “But everyone is building sites this way now”, I thought to myself. “I guess it just has to be like this.”

I had heard of Rails. “Baby’s First Framework”, my mentor had called it. Not a tool for a serious profressional.

Then one fateful day, after a week of pain getting authentication working in my SPA, I complained about my struggles to a German friend, hoping he would commiserate with me.

“Oh, I’d just use Devise.” he replied casually.

“What is that? Is that some easy way of doing authentication? How long would it take?”

“Yeah it’s a Rails gem, it would take like an hour.”

Are you kidding me?

I let curiousity get the best of me. I tip-toed in.

First things first, took a course on Ruby. Wow, what a lovely language.

Next, read the Rails Doctrine. Optimize for programmer happiness? Hell yeah!

Installed Rails and built a practice app. Holy crap, I have a full stack app and everything just works without having to write a bunch of glue!?

Months of work compressed into days.

And the more I used it, the better it got.

Thank you to all the people who made it happen

I’m so grateful for Ruby on Rails. It has made me a more capable, better paid, and happier developer.

As developers, we are encouraged not to get emotional about our tools, but Rails is so much more than just another tool in the toolbelt. It’s a labor of love, a precious and life-changing gift for anyone who wants it.

I know my life is better for it, and I’m sure millions more feel the same.

I can’t thank all the thousands of people who have contributed, I only know a small handful of them by name anyway. But still, I send you all my deepest thank you for lifting up this community with your generous work. And of course, a big thank you to @dhh for the strong leadership necessary to hold a steady course through 20 years.

Here’s to another 20 more.

I might send a newsletter sometime.