Karl Oscar Weber

So you want Ruby to grow?

A very flat looking pinkish Ruby shape thing, with a few other rubies fanning out beneath.

So you like Ruby, and the Ruby community, and you want it to grow? What should you do?

1. Write stuff for beginners.

Always, and first, and primarily, and when you think you've done enough, write more for beginners. I cannot tell you how important it is to write for beginners. The stagnation of new Ruby developers, junior developers, can be attributed to a lot of factors, but the primary factor is that the moment a beginner makes it out of the getting-started page, everything else is for Computer Science Majors/Ruby lovers/Expert Developers. Basic concepts are ASSUMED, which I guess makes sense, but also mildly complex concepts are also ASSUMED. All of this assumption means that practically any tool that Rubyists write for one another is not user friendly.

"But I understand this KOW! This stuff is easy for me."

Right Right Right, but you're not a beginner. If you've been in the Ruby game for about 2 years things start to make a lot more sense. But if you haven't been doing it for that long it's just still a little magical and hand wavey. A lot of Ruby's utility comes from it's metaprogramming abilities, but those take some time to truly grasp.

So please, write stuff for beginners, write more than just "Documentation". Write Getting-started guides, How-to guides, Common use cases documentation, plus examples in standard ruby and with at least 2 frameworks. Bonus points if neither are Rails.

Also please review some basic Ruby stuff when talking about your framework. Dig in a little. Don't assume that we know how this works. We don't. Make it easy to be successful with your code.

2. Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

I know that some folx don't think it's important. Those folx are wrong. and Stupid. Expanding Ruby means finding people that are overlooked, under-appreciated, and then supporting them. I don't know if ya'll have noticed but almost all tech people are hella white. Just whitey tighties all up in here. Me too. Male, White, Heterosexual, Cis-Gendered, Heck I'm even Christian. I know across the pond and out East it looks a lot different.

Growing Ruby requires building strong community outreach, training, retention, and promotion of folx that don't look like, think like, or talk like the majority of Ruby developers today. I'm serious. If you look around at the current "tech" landscape today. What people are using to make their websites and apps. You won't notice that folx are making these decions based purely on the merits of a technology. It's based on Culture and perception. A whiteness centered culture has driven folx to widely adopt some bad tech. This is a direct result of prioritizing the needs of young, childless, single, white men. People who can work for hours or days on a problem because they hav nothing else to do.

Getting more folx to use Ruby, means going against the grain of tech culture itself.

Give these folx raises, a seat at the table, Hell a piece of the table. Bringing people in to Ruby that aren't already there means accomodating them. Increasing the realm of what's possible. What does that mean? fewer hours? more flexible work schedules? More mentorship? It means doing whatever it takes to bring these folks into the community. Including financial help. Drop a couple of Ks a year, at least, to sponsor, promote, or support under-represented folks coming into the Ruby community.

Forge strong connections with beginners, help them to build their professional networks. We're not getting hired based on our resumes, that almost never really happens. And if that's not the case then we ought to be helping, maybe even focusing on building these relationships with newcomers.

Also NEVER dictate what a donation or support should be used for. People know what to use their money on. Once you give them money, it's theirs.

There is this really silly... assumption? phrase? The best person for the job. The best person for the job doesn't exist, also who cares. We need to find people who are motivated, and kind. Folx that want to grow and improve. The junior developers of today, are the staff engineers of tomorrow. A beginners perspective sheds light on the spaces infrequently seen by an expert. The entrance.

Don't take my word for it. Read Kim Crayton.

3. Promote Framework diversity.

I am biased because I've been performing Necromancy on Camping for over a year. But sincerely, do your best, BEST, to promote framework diversity. A mono culture breeds in weakness. Everyone using Rails when they use Ruby means that only a certain narrow band of problems are easily addressed. It means that different perspectives or priorities are ignored.

Like Motoko Kutsanagi says: "If we all reacted the same way, we'd be predictable, and there's always more than one way to view a situation...It's simple: overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It's slow death."

So too goes the Ruby way. Overspecialized in a single monolithic framework, All Roads, well rails, lead to… well rails.

Some Great alternative frameworks and tools:

The monoculture is really bad, but there are great signs of this changing. The rise of Hanami and Roda as framework alternatives. The steady march of progress with RACK and it's associated projects. Sinatra just got a brand new release. Phlex, a new templating and component library, seemingly brought to life from nothing in about six months by Joel Drapper, and it's fast as hell. The joy around writing with ruby hasn't abated, and genuinely feels like it's accelerating.

4. Teach more than just Ruby!

This is a big one! Most of what we're doing is making websites. There is no ruby on a webpage. I bet you didn't know that it was just a bunch of HTML,CSS, and Javascript. But it is. Like for reals.

Recently I had the necessity to make a mostly static website, I tried out Bridgetown for the first time, and it was great. Almost no hickups, and I used just regular old HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Almost no JavaScript also. Kids these days think that you need complicated build processes to get a site online. Every "Hello World" or "Crud App" looks so bad because they are devoid of styles. Exceptions to this are few.

If you want to get folks to adopt Ruby, make it easy for them to understand the problem they have, and to find the solutions to the problem they have. Teach the whole enchilada. Top to bottom. Give examples and use cases. I know ya'll know how to do this stuff.

Teach around the problem. Keep folx in your documentation and solve as much of the problem as you can. Hell it will be reference for yourself in a few weeks when you forget something basic anyways.

5. Excise harmful folx

Kick em out. Are they being Racist DumbHasHasses? Show them the door. Are they taking credit for other folx work? Get outta here. Genius is a myth, aint nobody got it.

Harmful, bigotted, and prejudiced folx drive away the exact people you want to bring into the community. They gatekeep and centralize power and influence. Centralized systems have a single point of failure. When it comes to people, it makes a community brittle, poised to either break and fracture, or pull the whole lot down a darker path. Harmful folx narrow perspective, and thus, awareness of what's possible or important.

This may not be a completely bad thing though. The majority of the reason I'm working on Camping, and focusing on this community, is sheer rage at the idiocy of some folks here. A combination of Rage and Sunk Cost Fallacy.

My dad always said that sometimes anger can be a great motivator. Something won't get fixed until you get angry enough to go fix it yourself. That's why I'm here folks. I'm hella Angry.