[Nitro] I, Nitro

s.ross cwdinfo at gmail.com
Fri Nov 2 20:23:10 EDT 2007

On Nov 2, 2007, at 5:25 AM, Dan North wrote:

> - Documentation, documentation, documentation. It doesn't have to  
> be clever or comprehensive. Just a solid walk-through of creating  
> an application. The answers are mostly there amongst the original  
> videos, the cheat sheets and the tutorials. It just needs shaking  
> down and presenting in a clear and consistent way. I would choose  
> some "typical" users  and target them. Initially target an  
> experienced ruby programmer writing their first web app in nitro.  
> Then something like a "nitro for rails developers" track.

The documentation is the common thread, and the cure is twofold:

- Yeah, write some cool new tutorial documentation. Something a  
person could do in a couple of hours that's more than stupid-simple.
- Find all the outdated documentation and encourage everyone who owns  
it to update it to current tools/standards

I keep looking at Nitro and Og and saying, "I want to do my next app  
using Nitro and Og," but they don't sit still long enough for me to  
build up any muscle memory. If a reasonably stable release appeared  
and everyone went into "no new features, no api changes, no tool  
changes" mode for a month or so, I believe it would help people who  
now feel the Nitro/Og ecosystem is a bit slippery right now.

The other common thread is identifying the competition: Is it Rails?  
Is it Merb or PLONE? Perhaps a more interesting thing to look at are  
these questions:

- What does <insert framework name here> do well?
- What pisses people off about <insert framework name here>?
- Why could Nitro/Og do these things better?

I'll get the ball rolling on this last bit.

- Rails does greenfield apps incredibly well
- Rails pisses off people who use FK constraints in their databases
- Rails has nice generators and rake tasks
- Rails routing pisses off people who have better things to debug  
that their routes
- Rails has good hooks for alternative template languages
- It would really piss me off not to have Haml and Sass
- Rails is dirt simple to deploy with Capistrano
- Buying extra memory for my server to run my keen new rails apps  
pisses me off
- Rails makes testing a snap (and includes some support in generators  
and rake tasks)
- Support of only Test::Unit pisses me off. I use rSpec.

I don't know enough about Merb or PLONE to comment on them, but I'll  
betcha there are some things that people will swear are great and  
others that expert users get pissed off over each time they bump into  

I'm sorry if this seems rambling, but what brought me to Rails was  
that there were homegrown tutorials out there that worked. You could  
gem install rails and there were no gem version conflicts. You could  
rails foo and you got a foo app. You could script/generate scaffold  
bar and you got a bar thingie. Migrations only made that better. Og  
should be even more capable than that. The point is, everything  
worked. And reliably. And in pre 1.0 versions. Nitro/Og's friction  
has been the "one thing broken" problem that stands in the way of  
going straight through that AHA! tutorial experience.

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