[Mongrel] Some architecture questions for my mongrelian friends

Kevin Williams kevwil at gmail.com
Fri May 16 18:01:40 EDT 2008

I love Ruby, open source, and all that. However, I work with C# and
Java in a Microsoft-only shop. Well, MS-only until I wrote a
distributed cache in Java on Linux - the revolution has begun!

Anyway, we have discussed this scenario at work, many times. How do we
replace the old VB6 COM and ASP code that hides in the corners with
something ... better? The long and the short of it is, if they insist
on using Windows and/or SQL Server, especially if they insist on
stored procedures, you're screwed. Short of replacing the OS with
Linux, the database with PostgreSQL or MySQL, and running with all the
good Ruby/UNIX tools you've mentioned, you'll never get the app where
you want it to be or where they want it to be.

If you must use Windows, you might go with .NET 3.5 and an MVC
framework like Monorail or the not-yet-final ASP.NET MVC (there are
others, too). There are just enough Ruby-esque features in .NET 3.5,
like lambda expressions and extension methods, to keep me from poking
my eyes out with a spork.

If you get them to agree to Linux servers and a more Ruby-friendly DB,
I think you could do them a favor in the long run with lower costs and
easier maintenance. The OS and DB are the keys, in my opinion.

Good luck!

On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 2:34 PM,  <public at misuse.org> wrote:
> Hey,
> I'm working on a project, and mongrel may be part of the stack, but I've got
> some more general questions and ideas I'm hoping to run by this list. The
> people on this list have a broader knowledgebase and more experience than
> any place else I know - plus a general friendliness and willingness to help!
> I'm working with a company who has a really antique application stack.
> Literally from 1998. IIS + ASP + MS SQL server. They want me to help
> "modernize" things. In the abstract I'd say, "get a really good .NET team
> and go that route." But they want me to help. All I work in these days is
> Ruby. And that's all I want to work in. :)
> So my questions are like this:
> 1) Can I in good conscience start migrating this company from IIS/ASP to
> Mongrel/Ruby/Merb/ORM (or something like that)? They have roughly 2-3M page
> views per month.
> 1.a) No matter how good they think I am, wouldn't it be smarter to move
> forward with M$ since that's what they've got already? I don't want to be
> the guy who screws them deeper into the hole by really confusing their
> stack.
> I hate it when new dudes come in with their "stack" and bias development
> based on their preferences withou considering what's already there. I'd
> rather walk away from this if Microsoft is really their odds-on smart choice
> (i.e. I don't need the money - I have some personal relations that led me
> here). All I want is the company to be successful.
> 2) Their MS SQL setup is relatively fine. Lots of wacky stored procs which
> bug me but mostly it's fine. Am I crazy to try to run MS SQL against
> Ruby/ORM? Seems like there are some people doing it?
> 3) If I do this, I'd plan to segment this site into two separate boxes and
> run the Ruby on a Linux box (and maybe outsource that management to a group
> like EngineYard). Then have the LB's split traffic between the boxes based
> on url patterns. Again: crazy? unwise? Currently they're at rackspace which
> knows poodle about Ruby/Mongrel afaict.
> Context: The front-end site is not impossibly complex. But there is "deep"
> integration with some backend admin processes which run a large part of the
> business: some crm, PPC, finance/accounting, email and billing: all
> partially implemented and built in hand coded ASP. It's a real tangle and it
> breaks all the time right now. I want to get most of these processes out
> into third party systems with much narrower points of contact between the
> production DB's and the specific admin services. This can only happen
> incrementally over time. This is in addition to the front-end websystem
> migration.
> Budgets for this work are not tiny but not enormous. Ditto timeframe. Maybe
> $250k over 6-8 months.
> Any tips or advice on taking on large migration projects such as this would
> be appreciated. Advice such as "run!" is welcome also. I realize there are
> no definite answers - I'm just looking for experience or advice on how to
> reach conclusions here.
> I realize this is horribly off-topic and impossibly vague. And I wouldn't
> ask for this input, except that I highly admire and regard the capabilities
> and experience of many people who are on this list. I can't think of a
> smarter mail list who could help advise on this. Any assistance at all will
> be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks!
> Steve
> p.s. Anyone who has possible interest in this project professionally can
> also contact me directly off-list.
> _______________________________________________
> Mongrel-users mailing list
> Mongrel-users at rubyforge.org
> http://rubyforge.org/mailman/listinfo/mongrel-users


Kevin Williams

More information about the Mongrel-users mailing list