March Hackday Report: Rails 3 and more

By | March 30, 2010

One Click Orgs is moving from our original platform, Merb, to the new Rails 3 framework (the result of the merging of the Rails and Merb projects).

Why Rails?

Merb has served us well since One Click Orgs’ first commit, back in December 2008. We’ve produced a solid beta release on it. But with the recent release of the Rails 3 beta, and with the One Click Orgs 1.0 release not a million miles away, it was time to make a decision on how we move forward.

Although some standalone version of Merb will probably continue to exist in the future, Rails 3 will be getting a lot more attention, as the official successor to Merb 1. Rails itself is already a more popular framework, and with that comes more developers who are familiar with it, and wider community support for hosting and troubleshooting. If One Click Orgs wants to attract more developers to the project, and be straightforward to set up and install, then moving to Rails makes sense.

If those were our only goals, of course, you might ask why we don’t switch to something like PHP, which everyone knows and which runs everywhere. We did consider this, but the Merb/Rails way of doing things has let us produce quality results quickly, and we’d like to continue with a similar set of tools. Merb 1 and Rails 3 are more similar than they are different, and moving to Rails is more akin to switching dialects than it is to rewriting the entire codebase from the ground up, which would be a major undertaking.

So, with a bit of effort now, we’re able have confidence in future support for our platform, retain our existing investment in experience and code, and potentially open up One Click Orgs to a wider audience of developers and users.

Hackday Progress

Our work to move to Rails 3 is now substantially complete. We’ve just had our March Hackday at The Trampery, where Charles, Colin, Jan, Martin and myself tested out the latest work on the Rails 3 port. We managed to fix a lot of the glitches with it, and just a few issues remain to be sorted before the Rails version of One Click Orgs becomes our next official beta release.

As well as the Rails 3 work, David Bovill (who, through LocalEyes, is also one of our beta users!) worked on prototypes of a mobile voting interface and a system for graphing the distribution of proxy votes. And, finally, we were joined remotely by Russ Garrett of the London Hackspace, with whom we’re working on the early stages of our 2.0 roadmap.

Remember, you can follow and participate in the development of One Click Orgs by visiting our GitHub project, joining our dev mailing list, or dropping into the IRC channel.


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