I’m pleased, tickled, elated, excited, and just plain happy to announce that I’ve decided to join the kick-ass folks at Engine Yard. Their focus is on-demand deployment and management of Ruby on Rails applications on Amazon EC2. They’re movers & shakers in the Ruby & Rails worlds (Engine Yard are the folks behind Merb & Rubinius, and are heavily involved in Rails).
I’ve had a mostly fun year & a half or so at Google. I met some cool people, who I will miss, and had some great food, which I will also miss (JC, both of those apply to you).
The reason for the change is that Google wasn’t taking my career where I wanted it to go. I took Chad Fowler’s words to heart (which were something I’ve tried to follow but sometimes get distracted from) “What would you rather be doing?“
I decided that what I’d rather be doing was: writing code, in Ruby, with awesome people, while contributing to the Ruby community, writing, and speaking. Being able to do all that in San Francisco… bonus.
So, here begins a new chapter in my career.
Thanks for all the well wishings & congrats from folks.
I was working on a post on the idea of us being professional, and that that even means. Mike Hill (@geepawhill) beat me to it. Go read his post. While you’re there, check out his other posts… it’s all good.
In his RailsConf keynote Bob Martin channeled Ward Cunningham to say that Smalltalk died because “It was too easy to make a mess”.
Whether Smalltalk is dead is the subject of much debate. Technically it’s not. There is ongoing development on the language and tools (notable by Cincom). But for all intents and purposes, it is no longer a commercially viable language. That said, it’s cool, and was a great context in which to learn OO. For that I am forever grateful to it.
I, personally, don’t think that “being easy to make a mess” was the cause of Smalltalk’s downfall. Sure, it was easy… but it’s easy to make a mess in any language. I have to agree with James Robertson that Smalltalk makes it easier to clean up your messes.
I was a serious Smalltalk user ‘back in the day’.. in the late 80s & early 90s: ObjectWorks, VisualWorks, Digitalk. I used it both in industry (some early CDROM shrinkwrapped products as well as client server) and academically (for my MSc thesis work). It was a wonderful language and environment. I saw firsthand, a few things that I believe lead to it’s demise:
- The unfamiliarity of the language and environment,
- The incompetence of the company tasked with commercializing it (ParcPlace), with their ridiculous licensing/royalty demands, and
- Arrogance, but not so much of the community, but of the environments themselves. It was beautifully cross platform, but at the expense of a truly native environment. In fact it was quite late into the game that you had windows out on your desktop instead of in it’s own self-contained world or even with simulated platform look & feel. As I said, that changed, but I believe it was too little, too late. There were some native implementations that were reasonably good.. but none approached the power of those descending directly from the PARC codebase. And Squeak, the shiny new smalltalk, goes back to that we-are-the-world arrogance.
So.. no… I don’t think what “killed” Smalltalk will kill Ruby. We’ve learned a lot since the 80s… a lot about how to keep a system healthy. The TATFT attitude is part of it. Notice I said attitude, and not practice.
We still can learn a lot from Smalltalk, specifically from it’s toolset. When we finally have good, useful Ruby IDEs they won’t look like Java IDEs. They’ll look like Smalltalk IDEs.
So… Smalltalk dead? Yes, no, does it matter? Smalltalk lives on in Ruby.
As I’ve mentioned on Twitter & Facebook, I’m back to doing Ruby & Rails fulltime.
Joining Google took me out of the Rails community & largely out of the Ruby community. At least until very recently when I joined a Rails project (yes, at Google.. who’da thought).
As noted on my blog last spring, I had the rug pulled out from under me with a sudden onset of diabetes.
With all that I pretty much pulled an Austin Powers and went into cold storage for a year & a half.
Well, I’ve thawed out and am back at it… Ruby, Rails, and hanging with peeps at conferences. Look for me on speaker lists before too much longer.
After GoGaRuCo and RailsConf, I’m back, motivated, and enthused like never before.