At Sun, I’m in the Developer Tools group. Someone asked “Which tools does the Ruby gang use, anyhow?” I said “Hmm, TextMate, Emacs, Vi, recently some Eclipse and NetBeans.” They said “How do you know?” I said “Uh.” They said “Why don’t you ask?” So I did. Here’s the write-up, in another fragment, which is more commenter-friendly I think.


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From: Ola Bini (Nov 20 2007, at 12:41)

You realize that the first question is highly annoying for someone who does both?


From: Tim (Nov 20 2007, at 12:48)

Why, Ola? It seems to me like there are two fairly discrete groups of people in the community; those who work only on Rails and those who work outside it at least sometimes. The group, like me, who never goes near Rails, is pretty small I think.


From: Iain (Nov 20 2007, at 12:50)

vim is awesome out of the box, with it's double awesome for rails.


From: Kevin Lipe (Nov 20 2007, at 12:53)

C'mon, Tim, everyone knows ed is the standard editor.

Seriously, though, I've found myself wondering what most "normal Ruby programmers" use--more accurately, wondering whether or not myself and my TextMate-using brethren are in a miniscule minority. It'll be interesting to see how this survey turns out.


From: Ben Bleything (Nov 20 2007, at 13:29)

I'm with Ola. I have three distinct roles that I play:

1) my day job, where I write pure Ruby with no Rails at all

2) my consulting, which is primarily Rails

3) my hobby programming, which is a mixture of both

I consider myself a Rails person (for 2.5 years!) but 80+% of my time is spent doing non-Rails. What do I pick?


From: John Cowan (Nov 20 2007, at 13:37)

Does "ex" count as vi-family?


From: Tim (Nov 20 2007, at 13:44)

Ben: OK, now I see the issue. Instead of "I'm a Rails person", it should say "All my Ruby-related work is in the Rails context" or some such. Clearly you're in the second group for this survey.

Still, looks like most people are figuring it out.


From: Ola Bini (Nov 20 2007, at 13:47)

Actually, I don't think that's the case. I would say it's a fairly large proportion of Ruby developers who are not into Rails. That isn't the most visible community, but still, they are there. Especially in the non-English parts of the world.


From: AkitaOnRails (Nov 21 2007, at 03:46)

Here's a word from Brazil :-) We just had RejectConf SP'07 and I was very surprised that we had quite a bunch of macbooks around. Actually almost all the presenters used his mac and the screenshots were all Textmate. So it is getting traction even outside the US, that's for sure.


From: roberthahn (Nov 21 2007, at 05:24)

I'm looking forward to the 'so what?' part of this -- is Sun thinking about building a set of dev tools for Ruby?


From: Mihai (Nov 22 2007, at 05:41)

You should have added OS question too.

I think it matters because only OS X users have TextMate, others don't. It's interesting to see the breakdown by OS.


From: Giles Bowkett (Nov 22 2007, at 10:12)

I'm with Ben and Ola. And Rick, and Ara, and everyone else on ruby-talk who's objected to the first question.

I think if you post a survey to a community, and the community objects to the way you phrase the question, you ought to consider that as feedback. If your goal is to understand the community, and the community says you're asking the wrong questions, there's a good chance that re-examining your assumptions will help you achieve your goal. I mean, it's pretty logical.


From: J. Hilts (Nov 22 2007, at 15:03)

Used to use vim, but now it's all TextMate, baby.


From: Nando (Nov 24 2007, at 01:48)

Initially I used Vim to edit my Ruby programs, but Netbeans 6 plus JVi is just the best of all world!


From: Paul W. Homer (Nov 27 2007, at 13:51)

The survey results aren't allowing comments, so I drop one here:

I can't believe that vi is making a comeback. Way back, I would have guessed that emacs would survive, but not vi. So many people wished it ill will because of its modal interface, it seemed like it was destined for the bit bucket.

It was always my favorite, I love its sleek lines and fast curves. Emacs requires too many fingers to coordinate their behavior, I am just too clumsy.

It just goes to show how an excellent implementation like vim, can bring back an old friend from the brink of extinction. Next: Logo!



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