Rails - where are the BIG web apps?

Ok, Rails has been out for some time now. I’ve kept an eye on it pretty
closely. I’ve heard Basecamp, Robot Coop, 43 Things, etc. are running
on it. However, those have been the same apps people point to when the
dreaded scalability question comes up. Are there any new web apps
(large scale) in Rails or is it still the same old one? Something like
on the scale of Digg.com, Slashdot, Amazon, etc. With all the press
Rails gets I was expecting to see a lot more Rails apps out there other
than the 40+ todo lists and other blog type web apps.

Please, I’m not trying to flame - its just that these are the same web
apps I showed my boss 6 months ago and I certainly don’t want to go back
and show the same ones. Surely there are more large scale RoR web apps
out there by now? I see PHP powering a ton of big sites, I was kinda
expecting RoRs to have a little more by now.

Ken McMyre wrote:

Ok, Rails has been out for some time now.

I guess the idea is that Rails is the killer app for Ruby and now you
want to know where’s the killer app for Rails? (Sorry, just trying to
sum it up.) Killer app meaning one that causes ooh and aahs beyond the
web developer mindset.

I’m not sure there is one yet. Rails is just a tool. Rails went 1.0 at
the end of last year and it has been undergoing some pretty big changes
since its big release. It took nearly ten years from Ruby to Rails.
Perhaps we need to give people time to figure out where all of this
power can take us. We also need to see the javascript libraries become
more powerful – so the applications feel just like desktop
applications.

My guess is that we need about a year or so to see a killer app. This
will give the interface conventions some time to settle, and the
developers some time to roll out a slew of sites. A couple of hundred
decent Rails sites could have a killer app in the bunch.

Please, I’m not trying to flame - its just that these are the same web
apps I showed my boss 6 months ago and I certainly don’t want to go back
and show the same ones. Surely there are more large scale RoR web apps
out there by now? I see PHP powering a ton of big sites, I was kinda
expecting RoRs to have a little more by now.

I’m assuming that you’ve discussed all the ‘rails scales’ arguments with
your boss - how the suggested rails scaling methods are those methods
already proven by yahoo and google etc etc etc?

As for examples, how about http://www.rapidreporting.com/? According to
the agile book (1st.ed), their systems are built to handle 2million+
mortgage applications per month.

Also, you may have shown your boss those apps 6months ago, but all of
those examples have increased their traffic dramatically in that time.

I re-re-re-iterate what many great men have said before: hardware is
cheap, developer time is not. The choice is about where you want to put
your money and whether or not you’re willing to take a risk. I had the
same choice a while back. I chose Rails and I’ve not looked back.

Steve

(steve has left the building :0) )

developers some time to roll out a slew of sites. A couple of hundred
decent Rails sites could have a killer app in the bunch.
Hmm… i don’t know whether it’s really about ‘killer apps’. The true
bedding of rails will be when developers take it up to create everyday
sites. I run a web company and we make fairly boring cms/commerce sites
for companies that would never be considered ‘killer’ - even if they do
have high traffic.

We use rails makes us which in turn makes our clients happy. More people
will discover this and it’s then that we’ll start seeing some
high-traffic, ordinary sites - like the rapid reporting guys that i
mentioned in my last post. It’s never going to come top of the ‘Web 2.0
uber-site’ list, but it does give a good everyday example of a rails app
performing well.

That’s not to say i’m not into killer web apps of course - i’m just
jealous that i haven’t got one :0)

Steve

On 7/17/06, Stephen B. [email protected] wrote:

As for examples, how about http://www.rapidreporting.com/? According to

Steve

DHH on the matter:
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.lang.ruby.rails/22562

Rails scales well, Rails with caching scales unbelievably. Steve is
right, it’s easy to throw servers at a problem but as Brooks points
out on the Mythical Man-Month you cannot throw programmers at a
problem. People don’t scale well at all, so even a little scalability
on a machine’s part is a welcome bonus.

Show your boss shopify though, very cool stuff in my opinion and
fairly new; I think it’s within the last 6 months.

Cheers,
Chuck V.

On Jul 17, 2006, at 12:46 PM, Ken McMyre wrote:

Please, I’m not trying to flame - its just that these are the same web
apps I showed my boss 6 months ago and I certainly don’t want to go
back
and show the same ones. Surely there are more large scale RoR web
apps
out there by now? I see PHP powering a ton of big sites, I was kinda
expecting RoRs to have a little more by now.

You’re not going about this the right way.

Rails works the way you make it work (for the most part)
and it relies on multiple technologies (LAMP clustering
primarily) that are tried and true in the large scale
world.

There’s nothing to discuss, nothing to prove, other than
that the Rails community can produce some apps that MANY
people will use. But that’s not your concern, right?

As DHH put it at one point (paraphrased): There’s nothing
worth talking about with respect to Rails scaling, because
it’s BORING.

You need to remember that Yahoo and SlashDot are amazing
because:

  1. They’re REALLY BIG.
  2. They were REALLY BIG in the 90’s, when computers were
    like dinosaurs compared to the current systems we have.

Nobody I’ve talked to with scaling experience has any
particular concerns about Rails’ scalabillity. Yes, there
are some areas that could be improved, but they’re just
matters efficiency, not scalability.


– Tom M.

Also, you may have shown your boss those apps 6months ago, but all of
those examples have increased their traffic dramatically in that time.

Besides the 37signals apps I’ve never seen such a list … can anyone
offer up
some examples? We’re a rails app and OUR CUSTOMERS frequently ask us
for
examples of other successful apps using RoR.

Not surprisingly, they’re looking for reassurance that this cutting edge
tool
will meet their needs in all facets, not just performance and
scalability (e.g.
reliability, security, etc).

A list of sites would be most helpful because they’re not interested in
hearing
a technical breakdown (e.g. requests per/xyz, jargon, jargon); they want
real
world examples.

Thanks in advance.

Isn’t Shoppify a fairly huge web app? Or at least potentially so?

It’s not about where are the BIG web apps? PHP has been around MUCH
longer than rails, as a result many of the new web ideas were done in
PHP, because that’s when the web was really taking off. My guess
would be that if rails was around at that time they would be done in
rails. I’ve programmed in PHP for over 7 years. I switched to rails
about 6 months ago and will never look back at PHP.

In the past 6 months my company and I have made 2 programs in rails
that are making us well over $30K a month. Doing those apps in PHP
would have taken us a good 8 - 10 months each.

Take a look at basecamp. David said he did that in 2 months.

Comparing PHP to rails in terms of big web apps is an unfair
comparison because PHP has been around for so much longer.

Thank You,
Ben J.
E: [email protected]

A good list is here…
http://wiki.rubyonrails.com/rails/pages/RealWorldUsage

Among the big names are odeo.com, penny-arcade.com, calendarhub.com,
writertopia.com, streeteasy.com and so on. Most of these have traffic
that would make the average sysadmin blush.

However if you are looking for names that everyone knows. Like ibm.com
or microsoft.com. Then no. There are no names like that. But those
sites arent exactly using cakePHP. All sites like that spend millions
on their site and can afford making their site in assembly if the feel
like it.

On 7/17/06, Brittain [email protected] wrote:

Rails mailing list
[email protected]
http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails

Besides the 37signals apps I’ve never seen such a list … can anyone offer up
some examples? We’re a rails app and OUR CUSTOMERS frequently ask us for
examples of other successful apps using RoR.

in terms of VC-funded bay-area music-related web2.0 things, theres Odeo
and Mog, and probably 50% of the sites on techcrunch that arent using
JAVA or PHP are using rails. as far as enterprisey, rick bradley has
talked about the conversion of a large app to rails:
http://rewrite.rickbradley.com/pages/moving_to_rails, and presumably
ThoughtWorks (and others) are using rails in enterprise situations. as
far as really big, AOL is using Rails for the frontend of Revolution
Health, rewriting the UIs of various acquired apps in Ruby…

im sure theres otheres, these are just the ones im aware of from reading
this list, and job interviews etc…

On Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 01:33:16AM +0000, Jon Gretar B. wrote:

A good list is here…
http://wiki.rubyonrails.com/rails/pages/RealWorldUsage

Among the big names are odeo.com, penny-arcade.com, calendarhub.com,
writertopia.com, streeteasy.com and so on. Most of these have traffic
that would make the average sysadmin blush.

i doubt that. theres praobly more people that have blogged about these
sites than there are dedicated users.

care to Alexify your statement?

However if you are looking for names that everyone knows. Like ibm.com
or microsoft.com. Then no. There are no names like that.

People havent heard of AOL, Amazon? even IBM and Apple have some
articles up on their sites. in Apple’s case this probably grew out of
the desire to sell more hardware to alpha geeks, but in IBM’s case it
was likely extracted from usage scenarios.

Ken McMyre wrote:

Ok, Rails has been out for some time now.

Please, I’m not trying to flame - its just that these are the same web
apps I showed my boss 6 months ago and I certainly don’t want to go back
and show the same ones. Surely there are more large scale RoR web apps
out there by now? I see PHP powering a ton of big sites, I was kinda
expecting RoRs to have a little more by now.

I think the large scale apps are under development, soon to roll out, or
just too small to be well known yet.

By the time they are large, the competative advantage to using RoR will
have eroded because anyone in a highly competative space will be using
it or something as close to it as possible in the Java/PHP world.

Big companies and well-known brands are conservative when it comes to
technology choice. They will wait for the technology to mature while
their techies use it for internal and side projects. Startups are in a
better position to take advantage of RoR and naturally they are unknown.

I have more or less bet my company on it and I’m surely not the only
one.

Talk to me in six months.

Steven

On 7/18/06, carmen [email protected] wrote:

On Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 01:33:16AM +0000, Jon Gretar B. wrote:

A good list is here…
http://wiki.rubyonrails.com/rails/pages/RealWorldUsage

Among the big names are odeo.com, penny-arcade.com, calendarhub.com,
writertopia.com, streeteasy.com and so on. Most of these have traffic
that would make the average sysadmin blush.

i doubt that. theres praobly more people that have blogged about these sites than there are dedicated users.

I think penny-arcade has a few readers…

On 18 Jul 2006, at 22:00, Steven wrote:

expecting RoRs to have a little more by now.
Big companies and well-known brands are conservative when it comes to
technology choice. They will wait for the technology to mature while
their techies use it for internal and side projects. Startups are
in a
better position to take advantage of RoR and naturally they are
unknown.

I have more or less bet my company on it and I’m surely not the only
one.

Talk to me in six months.

Indeed, also keep in mind some rails applications out there are used
in private environments (i.e. the general public doesn’t see them).

We will be starting development on a very large application (code-
wise) in the coming weeks, but nobody will ever hear about it because
it’s customized development and will be used in a closed environment.
Already we tested performance of rails for a few of the critical
components (with lots of hits, selects, creates, updates, deletes on
very large datasets) and rails stood up very well and it wasn’t even
optimized with caching. And all of that on a simple PowerBook G4 867,
just imagine what it will do on a dual Xeon dedicated server.

I have faith in rails as do my co-workers and things keep getting
better, so…

Best regards

Peter De Berdt

Ken McMyre wrote:

Big companies and well-known brands are conservative when it comes to
technology choice. They will wait for the technology to mature while
their techies use it for internal and side projects. Startups are in a
better position to take advantage of RoR and naturally they are unknown.

Hi Ken,

I tend to disagree with this statement somewhat. In our experience
running workshops we’ve seen many large companies attend our Rails
training specifically. For instance the last Rails workshop we did in
London was attended by the likes of American Express, BBC, Rolls Royce
and Reuters. And they weren’t sending just one person but in some
instances four or five people. I think that’s very encouraging for
Rails.

I know that these companies don’t have any web apps to show for this but
they are definitely embracing the technology, or at least plan to very
soon.

Just thought you’d be interested.

Gill
[email protected]

When considering scalability it is worth considering Gall’s law

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never
works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over
with a working simple system.

Rails keeps things simple, so adheres to this law.
----- Original Message -----
From: Peter De Berdt
To: [email protected]
Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2006 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: [Rails] Re: Rails - where are the BIG web apps?

On 18 Jul 2006, at 22:00, Steven wrote:

Ken McMyre wrote:
  Ok, Rails has been out for some time now.
...
  Please, I'm not trying to flame - its just that these are the same 

web
apps I showed my boss 6 months ago and I certainly don’t want to
go back
and show the same ones. Surely there are more large scale RoR web
apps
out there by now? I see PHP powering a ton of big sites, I was
kinda
expecting RoRs to have a little more by now.

I think the large scale apps are under development, soon to roll 

out, or
just too small to be well known yet.

By the time they are large, the competative advantage to using RoR 

will
have eroded because anyone in a highly competative space will be
using
it or something as close to it as possible in the Java/PHP world.

Big companies and well-known brands are conservative when it comes 

to
technology choice. They will wait for the technology to mature
while
their techies use it for internal and side projects. Startups are
in a
better position to take advantage of RoR and naturally they are
unknown.

I have more or less bet my company on it and I'm surely not the only
one.


Talk to me in six months.

Indeed, also keep in mind some rails applications out there are used
in private environments (i.e. the general public doesn’t see them).

We will be starting development on a very large application
(code-wise) in the coming weeks, but nobody will ever hear about it
because it’s customized development and will be used in a closed
environment. Already we tested performance of rails for a few of the
critical components (with lots of hits, selects, creates, updates,
deletes on very large datasets) and rails stood up very well and it
wasn’t even optimized with caching. And all of that on a simple
PowerBook G4 867, just imagine what it will do on a dual Xeon dedicated
server.

I have faith in rails as do my co-workers and things keep getting
better, so…

Best regards

Peter De Berdt



Rails mailing list
[email protected]
http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails

Steven wrote:

keep it stable and running on expensive and beefy hardware yet those
were safe and “mature” technologies at the time. I’ll bet the whole
thing would have worked much better on RoR if it had been around. It

Having been in I.T. professionally for more than a decade, I’ve long
noticed
the corporate bias in favor of “mature” technologies, as though there’s
something magical about the fact that tools are older. Of course, the
newer,
more “immature” tools are developed precisely because of perceived
shortcomings in the older tools, or because alternate ways of looking at
problems have created new solutions. To the extent that newer tools are
developed to overcome perceived shortcomings in the older ones, that
seems
to me a good thing, not something to be fearful of.

If “mature” technologies were always the panacea that some think they
are, I
suspect we’d all be writing Web apps in COBOL or assembler.

– Tammy

Gillian Carson wrote:

Ken McMyre wrote:

Big companies and well-known brands are conservative when it comes to
technology choice. They will wait for the technology to mature while
their techies use it for internal and side projects. Startups are in a
better position to take advantage of RoR and naturally they are unknown.

Hi Ken,

I tend to disagree with this statement somewhat.

That was me… not Ken.

In our experience
running workshops we’ve seen many large companies attend our Rails
training specifically. For instance the last Rails workshop we did in
London was attended by the likes of American Express, BBC, Rolls Royce
and Reuters. And they weren’t sending just one person but in some
instances four or five people. I think that’s very encouraging for
Rails.

I am sure that there are many internal projects. And companies like you
mentioned have budget to send their techies to training for
whatever-is-hot whether or not they are actually using it.

I know that these companies don’t have any web apps to show for this but
they are definitely embracing the technology, or at least plan to very
soon.

I’m sure they are!

Just thought you’d be interested.

I think there is some confusion regarding what is meant by a
“large-scale” app.

The original poster seemed to be looking for something he could point
his management to in order to increase their comfort factor that someone
out there is using RoR successfully in a “large-scale” app.

[To anyone:] What would qalifiy as large-scale in your mind? My
current site is used within a professional community and has 10k+
registered users. It is not a consumer site yet and I would consider
this small. But it has to scale to 10x that or more within the next
year. I am comfortable converting this to RoR.

A couple years ago, I consulted for an also-ran in online travel and
they were doing about 1 million searches and 3000 bookings per day on a
messy Java/ Perl/ Oracle application. It was everything we could do to
keep it stable and running on expensive and beefy hardware yet those
were safe and “mature” technologies at the time. I’ll bet the whole
thing would have worked much better on RoR if it had been around. It
would have required 3-4 programmers instead of 10+ and much less
hardware.

Of course their problem was that most of the programmers learned on the
job, building that as their first major system. That is not a recipe
for stability and scalability no matter what platform you are on.
Everyone has to learn somewhere but I believe experience does count for
something.

Steven

This forum is not affiliated to the Ruby language, Ruby on Rails framework, nor any Ruby applications discussed here.

| Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Remote Ruby Jobs