Back in the horse-and-buggy days when I was cutting my OO eye teeth
on Smalltalk, we had a LOT of conversations about the biggest problem
dealing with a large and growing set of classes and methods in the
Smalltalk image. It became clear that most, if not all, successful
Smalltalk coders spent a lot of their time code-shopping, i.e.,
looking for a class or method that did something they needed to do.
It was bad enough when that “something” lived in the mongo image file
that accmpanied each Smalltalk install. If what you wanted wasn’t
even in the image but was “out there somewhere,” finding it could be
a real challenge.
I note with some pleasure that there has been an attempt to deal with
this problem at least partially in Ruby and Rails, especially with
the existence of rubyforge and what appears to be a standard and
organized way of publishing and installing gems. So my question is,
what are the best ways people have found to determine whether a
particular needed capability has already been created by someone and,
if so, how and where to get it?
(By way of example, I ran across acts_as_paranoid on this list a
while ago and was delighted both at the naming of the method and at
the fact that it exists as a gem. But let’s say I was looking for
some way to give myself better protection against inadvertent or ill-
advised deletion of stuff;; how would you have advised me to go find
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