Dagon release, book review, OSX stuff and RoR

· by Steve · Read in about 3 min · (550 Words)

A bit of a busy day, for starters we managed to get the first maintenance release out for Dagon, which is mostly painless since the procedure is well tested by now. Most of the time goes into documentation and last minute verification of tests.

I also had a couple of chapters of the upcoming Ogre book through for final review; not too bad though since it’s only technical errors the second time through, no stylistic suggestions allowed 😉

I tinkered with OSX for an hour ish, which was fun as always. I updated the OIS build to work with SDL until there’s a native version (out of my depth for the moment), and kinda got used to XCode a little more in the process. My main niggle with it is the number of windows it opens, I’d much prefer it to embed things into one tabbed window most of the time. But then, opening lots of windows seems pretty usual for OSX, I guess I just have to get used to it.

I’ve also been doing a little reading about Ruby on Rails. I’ve heard lots of crazy claims about it over the last 18 months which I mostly discounted but never actually got around to looking at it much, except for observing the Ruby language a little and thinking it felt much like Python (which is nice enough, even if I don’t like the block structure much). I’m not sure precisely what made me look at it again today, but I did anyway. My initial impressions are ‘interesting’. In a way it feels a little like the environment we’ve got (with Java) at work, where we’ve got all the development down to mostly iterative stuff through pretty tightly defined workflows, incorporating a lot of code generation, so there’s little need to touch any infrastructure most of the time, it’s all about the model & business rules. Rails seems to take the same approach, but exploits the dynamic nature of an interpreted environment to take it to an extreme. Quite how well it scales to larger projects I’m not sure, but it’s quite impressive to watch their intro video demonstrate the potential productivity gains for regular web apps. It would be interesting to have a model-focussed Linux-server friendly environment for quickly building small-to-medium webapps, since PHP is nasty (as we all know), and Java a bit heavyweight until you get to enterprise class stuff.

RoR has an Eclipse-based development environment called RadRails, which is very familiar if you’re used to Eclipse - and who isn’t these days? Eclipse is in my opinion one of the very best development environments out there (I’ve used it for about 4 years now), easily on par with Visual Studio (which I’ve used for going on 10 years), and arguably improves on it in many areas, especially the refactoring and auto-fix features which are put to good use in the Java development plugin. I still can’t believe it’s free, really. On a quick glance, radrails seems to make good use of the extensibility of Eclipse to place RoR-specific options where they make sense.

I don’t really have a great deal of time to spend with it, but I’ll certainly be playing about a little with RoR to see what it’s like when I get chance.