Coming from Perl, what I miss in Ruby the most is (surprise !) not CPAN,
but rather the community at Perlmonks (http://perlmonks.org).
For those not familiar with Perlmonks, it’s a community website that’s
actually a collection of forums, subdivided into topics, with registered
users that receive ratings from fellow users for each post / reply.
Two aspects make Perlmonks great:
It’s a true forum. With all due respect to RForum powering
“ruby-forum.com”, a real forum must at the very least support
hierarchical threading correctly, and allow to post text with simple
formatting, especially for source code.
It is very active, and the vast majority of Perl hackers hang out
there, from the nubies to the prominent leaders of the Perl community.
Thus, I know that if I have a question, I can always turn to Perlmonks
for an answer. The topics are organized logically in hierarchical
threads, and logs date years back, making everything easy to find. The
moderation system makes the signal-to-noise ratio very high (you can use
the rating of posts to filter stuff similarly to Slashdot, and the
trolls / spams can be simply deleted by moderators).
Ruby has three loosely connected community entry-points:
The mailing list - an old-fashioned (at least IMHO) way to
communicate, lacking hierarchy and formatting (try following the
discussion in one of the most recent 50+ message threads).
ruby-forum.com - a gateway to the mailing list, which disconnects
from time to time. It’s not a true forum, and suffers heavily from being
connected to the maillist, topics being split to “Re:” topics from time
to time, and long discussions are impossible to follow.
comp.lang.ruby - a mostly-nonfunctional gateway to the list, which in
itself is probably the closest Ruby has to a normal forum, since it’s
hierarchical and enjoys the excellent built-in Google search.
When I have a Ruby question, I truly don’t know where to ask it, so I
ask everywhere, which may sometime annoy people (on days when the
gateways function). I much prefer the newsgroup, but when the gateway
doesn’t work, it is much less read, so answers take a long time in
arriving. Am I the only one with this experience ?
I truly feel that a single place for the community is very important.
Ruby has a big potential for such a community because it’s a fun
language. People who code in Ruby really enjoy coding, and enjoy
discussing it. I just know that a more cohesive place for the community
to “meet” online would make Ruby and even more enjoyable experience.
Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way ?