Ruby Mendicant 2.0 (An Effort To Make RubySpec even more awesome)


#1

Hi folks,

For those familiar with Ruby Mendicant
(http://majesticseacreature.com/mendicant/), this is actually a
totally different project. But it does have to do with community
funded open source development, and since the title has a nice ring to
it, it’s worthy of being the subject line for this post.

For those who know and like RubySpec, and would like to see it more
accessible to the community at large, get ready for something totally
sweet. But first, a quick synopsis:

== Synopsis ==

I would like to spend 8 weeks of this summer hacking hard on building
a nice community resource that builds on the RubySpec project. It
will be a web based search and reporting system for displaying the
RubySpec sources for every class and method that it covers, as well
pass/fail data across implementations and ruby versions. Though it
was hit with an ugly stick, here is a mockup that shows one possible
use of such a system: http://is.gd/OvDW
The full scope of the project will likely support more features than
what is shown there, this shows just one aspect of the project.

I plan to work openly with the Ruby community and Ruby implementers to
come up with a decent roadmap, and then go to work on it. This
project will be partially supported by the company I do most of my
work for, Madriska Media Group, but I’d like to bridge the gap with
community donations. $500/wk in exchange for 10 dedicated hours of
work on top of whatever Madriska funds (along with my spare time),
would put me in a good position to be able to do this. I’ll do
these in two rounds of $2000 drives, one that’s already open, and
another that’ll open on July 15th.

There will be a roadmap out by June 15th, but if this is enough
information for you and you trust me, here’s a pledgie link:
http://pledgie.com/campaigns/4640

== Details ===

I’ve taken funding to work on open source several times before. I
worked on Ruport as a GSoc project in 2006 (which lead to the
beginnings of our Rails support), and brought you Prawn via the Ruby
Mendicant project in 2008. If you donate to this project, I’m pretty
sure you will not be let down. But incase you need convincing, here
are some additional details on this project, along with its
motivation.

MOTIVATION:

When researching for a talk titled “Where is Ruby Really Headed?”, I
realized that question was fairly impossible to answer. Instead, a
better question to answer was simply “What is Ruby right now?” and it
turns out that’s a tough cookie too. If you want the whole story
about what I found out, go ahead and watch this confreaks video of my
talk:
http://goruco2009.confreaks.com/30-may-2009-11-00-where-is-ruby-really-heading-gregory-brown.html

But researching the alternative implementations really gave me a lot
of opportunity to learn about some of the side projects that have been
developed that have the potential to be absolutely invaluable to
Rubyists, no matter what implementations they’re using. RubySpec is
one of these bi-products, and to me, represents one of the coolest
innovations in Ruby to date. Brian F. does a better job explaining
this than I could, so please check out this interview with him for a
good answer to why RubySpec matters and how it can be valuable as a
community resource:
http://blog.rubybestpractices.com/posts/gregory/006-brian-ford-rubyspec.html

I really want to make it so that every Rubyist can learn from whats in
these specs, and I also want to bring their results to the forefront
so you can know what it means when someone says they have a compatible
implementation according to the RubySpec. Truth be told, I hope my
project is a stop-gap that gets more and more people to hack on
RubySpec itself, but it seems like it’ll be nice to lift up some of
these results so that people stop thinking that RubySpec is just a
tool for implementers.

TIMELINE:

Right now, I’m just in the formative stages. I’m trying to solicit
feedback, get some early supporters to donate, and begin sketching out
the roadmap.

By June 15th I’ll have a plan laid out publicly, after talking with
implementers and community members. By July 15th, I’ll have a
working alpha implementation of the web app that’ll provide the search
and reporting functionality
Depending where we’re headed with things, I’ll either spend the time
from July 15th to August 15th on window dressing, or I’ll keep hacking
on core functionality in hopes of an official launch on August 15th.

RESOURCES:

To donate:
http://pledgie.com/campaigns/4640

To ask questions:
http://groups.google.com/group/ruby-unity

To learn more about RubySpec:
http://rubyspec.org/
http://blog.rubybestpractices.com/posts/gregory/006-brian-ford-rubyspec.html

To keep an eye out for up to the minute updates about this project:
http://github.com/madriska/unity
http://twitter.com/seacreature (This is also my personal account
though, so be aware of some noise)

Similar to Ruby Mendicant, I value transparency very highly here,
about the whole project.
So please do let me know of any concerns you might have. Unlike the
Mendicant project, funding can come in while this project is already
under works, so feel free to hold off until you’re pretty sure you can
get behind what I plan to do.

Thanks, and PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!

-greg