Selling Ruby on Rails to the Masses

One thing I would recommend Andrew is, "Never throw pearls before swine."

Meaning, if you are working with or leading a group of developers who are vehemently opposed to any new technology like Ruby, Python, etc. then don't bother. It's not worth it to convince them since the threat to their jobs and ego is too much.

In my opinion, you're better off hiring a group of new folks who are interested in learning the new stuff, then a mentor to train them, and then use the previous group as maintainers. Eventually the previous group will either find new jobs, join the new group willingly and eagerly, or be happy to keep the old systems working. I think the best people for this are folks with degrees NOT in computer science who are smart and can already code.

My only word of caution is that when the old timers join the new group you've got to watch for saboteurs. I actually worked on a project where a new sysadmin got caught purposefully crashing our servers. He at first was just killing the processes and changing file permissions (Samhain is your friend), then him and other sysadmin friends would just walk over to the box and turn it off.

I worked with another guy that would spend all his free time finding flaws in RoR and then come to work ranting about them or demanding we use these features so he could demonstrate how screwed up they are.

So just watch out for this. It happens a lot more often than you think, and many times it's just not worth going to the trouble to use possible saboteurs.

Hope that helps.

"Selling Ruby on Rails to the Masses"

Do the masses need Ruby On Rails?

The scenarios Zed describes are not uncommon any time a new technology appears and sometimes you might save yourself a lot of heartache if you just keep it to yourself until the Old Guard retires or dies. Or, you can work a few hours a week on your own time and develop something that shows them why you think Rails is the way to go… if it works, great. If not, and you’re still stuck on the idea, start looking for a new place to work, somewhere you’ll be happier. (Better yet, work for yourself.)

Just for perspective: this battle has been going on forever. Starry-eyed hippie engineers would get hired right out of college babbling about some fancy new language called ‘C’ or ‘C++’ or something equally absurd, and the Fortran and COBOL and Lisp guys would feel The Fear - if this new technology became a focus, they’d either have to learn this strange new language or face becoming irrelevant. And the new hires, to whom the new language Just Made Sense, were left wondering where all of the hostility and resistance to change was coming from. Now those same guys are staring at you wondering where you get your crazy ideas.

-foobario

@Zed:

That’s really great advice and extremely well-put. I’ve seen that stuff before too and it’s not fun at all. IT is a changing industry, and it’s so strange to me that people resist change.

The real test for us is to be willing to adapt when RoR is replaced by something better. (!!GASP!!)

From: rubyonrails-talk@googlegroups.com
[mailto:rubyonrails-talk@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Zed A. Shaw
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 3:55 PM
To: rubyonrails-talk@googlegroups.com
Subject: [Rails] Re: Selling Ruby on Rails to the Masses

My only word of caution is that when the old timers join the
new group you've got to watch for saboteurs. I actually
worked on a project where a new sysadmin got caught
purposefully crashing our servers. He at first was just
killing the processes and changing file permissions (Samhain
is your friend), then him and other sysadmin friends would
just walk over to the box and turn it off.

Wow, I'd love to hear more about this. They did this because they felt
the new project/technology threatened their jobs, or did they have other
motivations?

I worked with another guy that would spend all his free time
finding flaws in RoR and then come to work ranting about them
or demanding we use these features so he could demonstrate
how screwed up they are.

What happened to this guy? What was his preferred platform (if any)?

So just watch out for this. It happens a lot more often than
you think, and many times it's just not worth going to the
trouble to use possible saboteurs.

You're scaring me Zed.

- Dan

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