I have been using Rails now for just two weeks. I am very happy with
what I have found and am overly impressed with the quality and
timeliness of feedback that this community provides. I wanted to take a
moment to explain briefly my background and how I ended up here. Perhaps
this will not be of personal interest to anyone, but it speaks volumes
I have been professionally developing applications for over 10 years,
the last seven of which were done as an independent consultant.
Historically, I avoided unix, linux, and anything related like the
plague. Not because it was not good technology, but because I hid under
the Microsoft umbrella. Now I’m involved with a startup and licensing is
a major issue. It has forced me to step into this vast world of open
source software and allowed me to confront one of my biggest technical
fears and weaknesses Â? the LAMP stack.
Desperately needing an open source CRM solution. I first found
SugarCRM, then I stumbled upon vTiger. Both had their strengths and
their weaknesses. The major problem, though, was customization. I am not
a PHP programmer but the language seemed simple enough. However, with
both of the above packages, I found the code to be horribly difficult to
follow. I found single functions containing over 800 lines of code.
After a few weeks of bouncing back and forth between the two of them, I
finally realized I was dealing with something I didn’t want to deal
with. I quit.
I began a new search. Realizing that probably nothing open source was
going to be any better than what I had already found, I was willing to
build something custom. I figured I would start with bare bones
functionality and enhance as time permitted. I found ActiveGrid.
Something that looks quite promising, but little/no community to back
it. I downloaded it, played with it a bit and was pretty happy with what
I saw. I ran into a problem…no one was available to answer it. No
community. Just a few forums that are largely untouched on SourceForge.
Maybe in a year or two it will be where it needs to be Â? but for now it
was just too risky for me to justify.
Ruby on Rails kept popping up in various places Â? forums, blogs,
etc… I had never heard of Ruby or Rails (remember my background).
Something caught my eye somewhere and led me down this path. The
community is so strong and that is very impressive to me. I feel very
ignorant to this new world Â? it is almost like starting over from
scratch. BizTalk, C#, ASP.NET, WebServices, XML, XSLT, VB, COM/DCOM,
SQL, etc… - no problem. I have been very isolated to the Microsoft
world. I must say that I find all the different terminology,
applications, mechanisms for updates, etc… in the open source
community to be very intimidating. But I LOVE Rails. In just a little
over a week of playing around with it, I have made significant progress
on building a custom CRM solution. To be sure, I have weeks ahead of me
to get a fully functional system. But I know what I need to do is
possible. The Proof of Concept is complete and it is very true that this
framework allows you to accomplish mor
less code. If you have seen the vTiger interface then you will know
what my CRM solution will look like. I have plugged Rails into that look
and feel and am making great progress each day. I hope to one day
publish it as open source for others to benefit from as well.
As a bonus, I have a fully functional Asterisk PBX (open source)
managing the phone system. Wow…how about that? Yes, I will tie it into
Ruby Â? or borrow someone else’s code that has already done it.
Thank you David for providing this framework. Thank you ROR community
for providing the kind of support that you provide to make people like
me willing to take a risk on something that isn’t even at Release 1.0