Harshdeep 2.0

January 14, 2009

The Making of Latest in Music – Ruby on Rails

Filed under: Latest in Music, Programming — harshdeep @ 11:28 am

Last week I unleashed www.latestinmusic.com to the unsuspecting world. Keeping in touch with music is never going to be the same again. You don’t go finding the new songs, they come to you (in your RSS reader).

Coming back to Planet Earth, it’s a modest little site that I thought would be useful for me. Hopefully it would be useful to others as well. It took me less than a week to build it. This being my first web application, I was learning as I went – a seasoned web developer would probably take less than a day.

I used Ruby on Rails for development. The decision was primarily based on all the hype that the platform has been getting for simplicity and elegance. In my case, the hype turned out to be completely justified. Ruby, as a language, is sheer pleasure to write code in. Rails takes care of the mundane low-level things like maintaining connections with the databases, providing a set of powerful abstractions to work on top of. It does take some time getting used to and there is definitely a lot of scope of improvement in documentation, but once you cross the initial hurdles, it lets you be very productive.

One of the hang-ups that I have from my desktop/mobile development experience is the availability of an all-encompassing IDE like Visual Studio, XCode and Eclipse. Nobody should have to do serious development in Notepad anymore. Thankfully I discovered Aptana RadRails pretty early. It’s not without its share of annoying bugs, but I think it does the job pretty well. You can edit Ruby code, JavaScript code, layouts in .html.erb files and css stylesheets in the coziness of the same IDE and it lets you visually debug the code while running the application locally. TextMate is a popular choice of Ruby developers but it is available for Mac OSX only. Aptana is cross-platform.

The next question was where to get the application hosted. I first tried GoDaddy because I’d used it before to register domains. They do support Ruby on Rails but for some reason I could not get my app running with them. I tried contacting their customer care and they duly told me that it’s not them, it’s me.

Being a newbie, I thought it would be easier for me to host my app with one of the new hosting providers that focus exclusively on Ruby on Rails apps. Surely enough, I could set it all up with HostingRails in a couple of hours. Their FAQs section turned out to be particularly useful.

Overall, it was fun working with Ruby on Rails. I’ll hopefully use it for more projects.


1 Comment »

  1. […] — harshdeep @ 2:12 pm This is the second part of the Making of Latest in Music trilogy (here is part 1). Latest in Music is a Youtube mashup that scrapes the listings of top songs from various […]

    Pingback by The Making of Latest in Music – Using Youtube API « Harshdeep 2.0 — January 27, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

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