I’m looking for advice on how to promote RoR in my workplace.
Specifically, I’d like to work out a strategy for promoting
development in Rails as a new alternative to our existing technology
(the usual suspects… mostly Java/Oracle, .NET, PHP, and a bit of
Perl here and there).
Some background: I work for a fairly large state environmental agency
as a web developer. Our internal and external websites are handled by
the public affairs office (that’s where I work). We handle
application development as far as it relates directly to public or
employee information (i.e. calendars, mailing lists, document
management). I do most of the new application development in public
affairs, and so I’m typically the only one working on any given
The enterprise application development (for things like financials and
environmental database transactions) is handled by a team in IT.
I’ve developed a couple of applications in RoR by now, and it was
everything it’s supposed to be: quick, intuitive, fun… the apps are
great and they’ve gotten some positive feedback. But since it’s not
an officially sanctioned language/framework, I’ve decided not to
pursue new development for now. However, I’ve done enough RoR
development now to really believe that this is the way it should™
be done. I think I can develop better applications faster, with
cleaner code and more features, than I can with any other environment.
In fact, having gone back to PHP for now, I can already see that my
code is better than it used to be… it looks about as much like Rails
as I can make it.
I want to make a case for officially doing some Rails development in
my job. If it’s the right tool for the project, then I want it to be
available to me, without wondering whether I’ll catch heat for going
off the beaten path. I don’t care if the IT folks use it or not -
frankly, they’re so deep in Oracle that they’ll never get out - but
Rails would be perfect for a lot of my projects.
I’m anticipating some skepticism here. A while back someone tried to
push for ColdFusion and got shut down… obviously I think Rails is
better (not to mention cheaper), but there’s definitely some
conservatism going on. So, I’m appealing to the community… what are
my strongest arguments here, the ones that the execs will find most
compelling? Has this worked for anyone else, and if so, how? How do
I get RoR to be officially adopted? Help me build my case…
I’m going to take the liberty of anticipating a few of the questions
they might ask me:
- Will I be able to find a Rails developer when you leave?
- How do I know this isn’t just a fad?
- Is it secure? Stable? Fast?
- Can’t you just do the same thing in PHP?
- How do you know it won’t break the other stuff running on the same
And of course, the main strengths of RoR as I see them:
- Free and open-source
- Less backend code means more frontend features
- Code is human-readable, clean, and organized, therefore maintainable
- Active community and widespread adoption
- Portable and cross-platform
- Built-in eye candy (hey, hearts and minds, right?)
- Promotes agile programming practices
- Faster development
All right then… put yourself in the shoes of the public affairs
director, or the head of the application development team, or a
project manager - what do you need to hear to give RoR your blessing?
Thanks in advance.