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 announcement is actually for a totally different
project. :slight_smile: 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