Dr Nic

RadRails vs TextMate – Railsconf 2006 talk

At Railsconf, there were several sessions dedicated to 5 minute “lightning talks”. Most 5 minute units of time were used by presenters to show off their product/service. I took 5 minutes of everyone’s time to do the opposite.

When everyone comes to Rails for the first time – http://www.rubyonrails.org – they see DHH’s videos where he uses his Mac and a cool IDE to do wonderful things with Rails. The new person probably doesn’t distinguish immediately what part of the demo was Ruby, what was Rails, what was the cool IDE, and what was the Mac. But it looks cool. The IDE in question is called TextMate. The consequences of this technical demo quadrella were obvious at Railsconf, 90% of laptops were Macs. I’m sure 100% of IDEs used on the Macs were TextMate.

I’m in the 10% of laptops. TextMate isn’t available for my machine, and I’d never see TextMate up close. Doing its thing LIVE. So I had someone show me. For my own amusement, I followed along with my RadRails IDE, seeing if I could do what he did.

He used shortcut key combos to autogenerate text – “snippets” in TextMate. I found I could do the same in RadRails (Ctrl-Space activates the “templates” feature within Ruby and RHTML views).

He had a snazzy black background with multi-coloured fonts. My friend Brett had built a theme for RadRails to look the same as TextMate.

I forget the rest of the demo. I was too busy stroking my copy of RadRails like a pet puppy, and thinking “RadRails is free. TextMate is $46. That seems odd.”

So when I stood up at the Lightning talks, I used 5 minutes of 150 peoples time, to tell 90% of them that they wasted $46, and to inform the other 10% (hmm… 15 ppl) that they could use RadRails. I did a demo. It was fun.

If you have access to the videos that have been made of Railsconf – and I strongly recommend spending the $100 to get access to them if you didn’t go – you can see me revving up the crowd.

Day 3. Lightning Talks. 2nd last speaker.

Great conference. Buy the videos.

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4 Responses to “RadRails vs TextMate – Railsconf 2006 talk”

  1. choonkeat says:

    I’m a lazy bum and I want your color and snippets!! (any way pass it around as external files?)

    Thanks for the slick demo btw, was looking for exactly that in the actual RadRails talk but it didn’t happen.

  2. Dr Nic says:

    @choonkeat: agreed. I’ll bundle the theme styles from Brett here soon, and write something up about templates/snippets for RadRails in the future.

  3. nicholas says:

    Unmentioned was the several minute startup time of Eclipse. Given how much people in our industry are paid, those $46 will pay for themselves quite quickly. :-)

  4. Dr Nic says:

    Perhaps you could include “IDE initiation and launch sequence time” fee in your contract quotes? :)