Ruby Manor

So first things first. Ruby Manor was a huge success and a real credit to James and Murray who created and ran it. Thank you guys very much for doing it.

The talks really varied a lot, and ironically I went away most interested in Rabbit MQ and Neo4J, both of which were only tangentially related to Ruby. George Palmer’s talk on Nanite was probably the most interesting of the day but during it I picked up a sense that the audience was mostly focussed on web development within a Rails space.

This reached some kind of nadir in Alex Maccaw’s frankly unreal implementation of recommendation analysis as a Rails plugin which really did look like someone hammering a square peg through a round hole. It did however generate some interesting post conference blogging.

I also enjoyed the Shoes and Monkeybars talk although they did end up confirming my reservations about both libraries. Monkeybars really seems quite a complex setup and kind of lays an MVC framework on top of Swing which already has an MVC like framework. However it does use Matisse which is still an amazing constraints based GUI builder. Shoes is awesome, until you get stuck – then there isn’t enough feedback to understand why your awesome has disappeared. Seriously fun to play with though.

So it has been proven you can have a cheap, community-led conference in London for Ruby. Is it now time for someone to step forward and organise the Python Snake Pit?


2 thoughts on “Ruby Manor

  1. “Monkeybars really seems quite a complex setup and kind of lays an MVC framework on top of Swing which already has an MVC like framework.”

    Well, no and no. I’m not quite sure what you were told, but any reasonable complex GUI has some set up when making the screens.

    You create a Monkeybars app like this:

    $ monkeybars my_app_name

    After that, it’s like any other GUI app in that you need to write they actual logic to make it do what you want it to do. Even there, though, Monkeybars reduces much of cruft.

    And Swing has no intrinsic MVC; it provides widgets, much like Qt, Shoes, etc.. No matter widget toolkit you use, you would well to have some code layout with it.

    Monkeybars provides a clean way to organize business logic without intertangling with view logic.

    “However it does use Matisse which is still an amazing constraints based GUI builder.”

    It is amazing, but not required for Monkeybars. You can use whatever you like to create the the Swing classes, including “builder”-style inline Ruby that generates the UI.

    The point of Monkeybars is to make Swing easily accessible form Ruby code in a clean MVC-like setting. (Writing complex apps using inline code is going to get painful fast, so a WYSIWYG editor is a real win as an option.)

    I hope you get a chance to watch David’s talk from RubyConf 2008 on building commercial apps with Monkeybars. I think it may give a clearer view of the library.

  2. _why says:

    Your points about Shoes are great to hear. I’m foremost concerned with it being fun, so, yeah, it’s got a really long way to go. At least the razzle-dazzle is coming across loud and clear. Next year the focus is on really polishing things up. Any advice you have is welcome.

    Well, Ruby Manor sounds excellent. It stands in sharp contrast to the outrageous prices and bloated accomadations that abound in the tech world.

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