How to persuade your boss to let you use JRuby?


#1

I would like to propose to my employer to use JRuby but since my boss is
unknowledgeable about technology he is usually reluctant to use
technologies
that he does not understand well and he does not like to learn new
technologies (although we use Java even though he does not understand
Java
well). I’m not sure how to persuade him to allow me to use JRuby. I
would
like to tell him that I want to use JRuby for a project because I can
write
Ruby faster than I can write Java and I like Ruby more than Java.

But I have a feeling he will say NO because:

  1. he doesn’t care what I like and don’t like,
  2. my coworkers will not understand what I have written and
  3. if I get hit by a bus he will not be able to find anyone who is
    capable of making changes to my Ruby/JRuby code.

What might be a good response to this (if any)?


#2

Hi Chris,
those are really good explanations why not to switch to JRuby or
anything else,
so if your boos will really say this to You, it most likely means that
he knows a lot and is not as silly as You think.
Still You can incorporate ruby code inside java (jsr223 - it’s a
standard, or any other way)
and show him that it can coexist together pretty nice.
Also while mixing ruby and java You can train your colleagues in ruby,
and after a while eliminate the bus factor.
But that’s You who have to make they like it.
When your boos will gain confidence in this solution, You will have an
open road to introduce Ruby language into your company,
by showing all the good stuff about JRuby.
After all, this is not about if JRuby is great or not, it’s just about
trust between You and your boos.

Good luck,
Pawe³ Wielgus.

2009/5/18 Chris C. removed_email_address@domain.invalid:

he doesn’t care what I like and don’t like,
my coworkers will not understand what I have written and
if I get hit by a bus he will not be able to find anyone who is capable of
making changes to my Ruby/JRuby code.

What might be a good response to this (if any)?


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#3

Hi Pawel,

Thanks for pointing out about jsr223. I was not aware of that feature of
Java. I need to do more research on that but it seems it may serve as a
nice
compromise if I am not able to use JRuby at work. Plus, it may serve as
nice
starting point to provide some initial demonstrations of Ruby to my
coworkers and gradually acclimatizing them to it. Good ideas!

Regards,
Chris

2009/5/18 Paweł Wielgus removed_email_address@domain.invalid


#4

2009/5/18 Chris C. removed_email_address@domain.invalid:

he doesn’t care what I like and don’t like,
my coworkers will not understand what I have written and
if I get hit by a bus he will not be able to find anyone who is capable of
making changes to my Ruby/JRuby code.

What might be a good response to this (if any)?

Hi have exactly your same problem with my boss.
We have a cms written in java wth struts and spring anche my boss want
that I develop only using that cms and only using struts2 and spring.
I hate struts and spring while I love ruby and Rails.
I know that there is a way to integrate jruby with spring but I don’t
know how.
Anybody knows how and have tried that?


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#5

Mauro,

You may want to start a new thread to ask your question. People may not
see
your question buried inside this answer.

Chris


#6

If you have a team of developers, i would recommend offering to build
a prototype. That was the path i took. Building the app in
jruby/rails, packaging it as a war. No new web/app servers to
configure, just drop the war and go.

Maybe if you can show the productivity of building a rails app with
Jruby, it can help pave the path for you. Just some advice.

Also there is a book just on this topic, “From Java to Ruby”, maybe it
will inspire you.

Good luck.

Adam

On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 2:33 PM, Mauro removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

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#7

2009/5/18 Chris C. removed_email_address@domain.invalid:

Mauro,

You may want to start a new thread to ask your question. People may not see
your question buried inside this answer.

Sorry…


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#8

On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 9:40 AM, Chris C. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I would like to propose to my employer to use JRuby but since my boss is
unknowledgeable about technology he is usually reluctant to use technologies
that he does not understand well and he does not like to learn new
technologies (although we use Java even though he does not understand Java
well). I’m not sure how to persuade him to allow me to use JRuby. I would
like to tell him that I want to use JRuby for a project because I can write
Ruby faster than I can write Java and I like Ruby more than Java.

The key is to find out how JRuby could make your boss’s life easier.
What is it that needs to be done that Ruby might be able to do better.
For example:

Ruby is good for testing. Maybe you could start writing some tests in
Ruby.
As a powerful scripting language, Ruby is great for automating
repetitive tasks such as building/deploying, system administration,
etc. Is there some task that is causing a lot of pain right now that
could be automated?

But I have a feeling he will say NO because:

he doesn’t care what I like and don’t like,

I doubt that is completely true. We programmers are notoriously
fickle. He’s afraid that you’re going to waste a lot of time (and
money) pursuing something that doesn’t add any value to his operation.
It is likely that there is precedent for that (Not necessarily from
you, but at some point in his career he at least perceived that
someone was wasting his time/dollar on frivolous pursuits.) You need
to appreciate where he is coming from if you want him to do the same.
Golden Rule.

my coworkers will not understand what I have written and
if I get hit by a bus he will not be able to find anyone who is capable of
making changes to my Ruby/JRuby code.

There is an easy solution to that. Don’t do it on your own. Involve at
least one other teammate in learning and applying JRuby to something
that has business value. If I were your boss I would absolutely insist
on those two things: 1) That you worked on something of at least
moderate potential value, and 2) That you closely collaborated with at
least one other person.

What might be a good response to this (if any)?

Apply Appreciative Inquiry (http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/) Find
out what your boss needs and how JRuby could meet those needs. Involve
the rest of your team.


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#9

Adam,

Thanks for the tip. A prototype is a good idea.

Chris


#10

no problem. Also make sure to show all the testing (mentioned above)
and versatility you get. Maybe even show a real life comparison of
“If i had to add functionality X, write a unit test, database
migration, and template html page” here are my steps in pure Java vs
Jruby/Rails. Show some improvement of productivity. Hell, maybe even
benchmark the damn thing if he really cares that much to show its not
some phony framework that cant run in production.

Adam

On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 10:53 PM, Chris C. removed_email_address@domain.invalid
wrote:

jruby/rails, packaging it as a war. No new web/app servers to
Adam

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#11

Adam (too many Adams in this thread)

To be honest, I don’t really know much yet about testing in Ruby. I
really
need to get up to speed on this. I’m working through a book at the
moment.

As for demonstrating productivity vs Java, I think that should be easy
to
demonstrate. Even my boss can’t stand the unwieldiness of Java. He’s
constantly complaining about how long it takes to get even the simplest
web
app off the ground in Java.


#12

Hi Adam

Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed and wise response.
Your
“appreciative inquiry” approach is a good tip for me particularly as I
have
a tendency to not exactly see the best in others (particularly my boss).
But
involving my coworkers and doing a demo that creates value is a good bet
in
this case. Or, as you said, scripting may be another good starting
point.

Thanks.

Regards,
Chris


#13

Thanks for the feedback, Jay. That’s an encouraging story. You are lucky
that you work in a technology company. I work in an IT department in
which
the primary business is far from IT and senior management knows nothing
about technology - they can barely use Microsoft Word without calling
the
Help Desk. Persuading your boss about the virtues of Ruby represents a
somewhat different challenge in such an environment, as I’m sure you can
guess.


#14

Chris,

1 year ago today we were an ASP.net shop. The company said for
Business reasons we needed to go to the JVM as a platform.

One guy had said “I know ruby on rails, the productivity we would get
for our web services and website would be great”, the company decided
we could go in that direction. In one sprint we create a prototype
that generated a LOT of interest at a trade show. 8 months later we
had the version of the product out in a customer’s lab. (this is a
large product 4 services, 1 web site, 2 databases).

Now the whole company (300 engineering staff) is saying JRuby on Rails
is the web stack for any product we make in the future (we have
several products).

One of the great things is the war file deployment approach.
Another is we get all the productivity enhancements from using ruby
and rails BUT if we have to we can call out to Java code (we switched
to log4j)

Not sure if “other companies” are doing it type of publicity but there
you are :slight_smile:

My company is SeaChange International… We build and sel Video On
Demand systems.

Jay

On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 11:03 PM, Chris C. removed_email_address@domain.invalid
wrote:

On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 10:57 PM, AD removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

a prototype. That was the path i took. Building the app in


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