Rails Rant

Posted by Tyler Maxwell on April 23, 2018

I have to start with a confession; I love Rails. It’s interesting how some of the most powerful ideas reduce to timeless and simple concepts. A place for everything, and everything in its place. This seems to be how best to understand the convention over configuration concept. Having a strong underlying structure, a solid foundation, allows for a superstructure that is awe inspiring. It is said that all good writers must have a through understanding of grammar and principles of composition; you have to know what the rules are before you can break them effectively.

Ruby and Rails coupled with Flatiron’s structured curriculum, have been exactly what I have needed. Before joining Flatiron, I struggled to teach myself web development. I used online resources, but they all lacked the structure I needed. All the resources I used, had one thing in common. This commonality is one that many would see as a strength or a selling point. They all had a page full of links to various learning paths. You could study anything from PHP to VR.

This array of choices is what kept me out of web development. When I was in my twenties I wanted to become a web developer. I don’t know if I would have used that term or if that was a term twenty years ago, but I was always intrigued by technology. I took a class at my local community college in C++. I was told this was a good place to start. I was completely baffled and bemused. I left the idea there twenty years ago.

Structure is key. I ‘attended’ the Rails project prep study group and found myself needing structure. The rails project is where you are expected to put your best foot forward. There is magic in structure.

Every successful business is a well designed system. McDonald’s is one of the most successful business in history. I would wager that their most devoted customers would admit that the food isn’t that good. I think it is barely edible. However, McDonald’s is amazingly consistent. A Big Mac will taste and look exactly the same whether you buy it in San Diego or Bangor or anywhere in between. My point is that McDonald’s has become a billion dollar enterprise selling mediocre hamburgers because it is done consistently.

Rails has reinforced for me, the importance of structure in everything. I am writing this blog about an hour before it’s due. This has been my structure and I am coming to realize it is a poor one.