David Heinemeier Hansson is the creator of Ruby on Rails, co-founder & CTO of Basecamp, best-selling writer, Le Mans class-winning race automobile driver, household man, frequent podcast visitor, and inspirational convention speaker.

Ruby on Rails was created by David in 2003. From the day Evrone was based, in 2008, we have been using the Rails open-source net framework each day. It has helped us write actually stunning code for our initiatives 1000’s of occasions. Along with creating probably the most helpful instruments in software program growth, David has achieved many different spectacular feats, from writing the books “It Would not Have To Be Loopy At Work”, “REWORK” and “REMOTE: Workplace Not Required”, to racing within the FIA World Endurance Championship. In 2014, he got here in first in his class within the 82nd working of The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most prestigious sports activities automobile endurance race. He additionally received the WEC championship within the GTE-Am class that yr.

In 2020, we invited David to talk at RubyRussia, Evrone’s 11th annual Moscow programming convention. Previous to the occasion, we received an opportunity to speak to David in regards to the world of software program growth and his strategy to writing phenomenal code.

David Heinemeier Hansson at WEC championship

The Interview

Evrone: Hey David, it is a pleasure to be talking with you right now. Let’s begin our interview. What’s one of the simplest ways for a median developer to determine if they should begin with a “low JavaScript” strategy and evolve their software later, or they should use Angular, React or Vue from the beginning? What resolution technique would you suggest?

David: When you’re constructing one thing that appears or tastes like a vanilla net app, like Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, no matter, then I feel minimal-JS is the best way to go. It isn’t no JS, simply minimal. When you’re constructing one thing that is extremely interactive, like a recreation, or a photograph modifying app, or something that is extra of the single-screen-tons-of-state selection, then wanting right into a full SPA is sensible.


Evrone: As codebase and crew develop bigger, what components of the standard Rails software would you suggest to maneuver into microservices? Given {that a} enterprise needs code growth group, however rewriting the complete product from scratch is just not an possibility.

David: It is a delusion that should you weren’t writing software program nicely sufficient to maintain you from making a multitude the primary time round, that you will be any higher at it the second time round. You must be taught new habits, then apply them to the place you reside. Sarah Mei gave a fantastic discuss on this by at RailsConf 2018. She was talking about how the codebase wasn’t one thing we construct anymore. A codebase is a spot the place we reside, and our purpose is to make it livable for ourselves and for all the opposite individuals who reside there. After we write code, our purpose is not to complete it and transfer on, our purpose is to make it sustainable, livable for the crew that inhabits it.

You are able to do all of the rewrites you need, however should you do not change the little stuff that received you there within the first place, you may simply find yourself with a tangled community of microservices, similar to you had a tangled community of sophistication definitions in your monolith. Your code is actually an inside house, occupied by individuals. The essential a part of the software program is the system. It is the code and the individuals collectively and they’re inseparable. The extra we are able to take into consideration software program as an interconnected system of code and folks, the nearer we’ll get to a breakthrough. The nearer we’ll be to a revolution, to a paradigm shift. And most significantly for us, maybe, the nearer we’ll be to having the ability to construct codebases that we’re excited to work in.

Sarah Mei Founder at RailsBridge & LivableCode

Evrone: Wow, that sounds mind-blowing, and we couldn’t agree extra! What strategy would you suggest whereas selecting between monkey-patching and different code composition patterns? What ought to we contemplate so as to not flip freedom patching into a multitude of conflicting overrides?

David: Freedom patches are for creating general-purpose dialects of the language. Lively Assist is stuffed with freedom-patches. It isn’t for creating app-specific adjustments.


Evrone: You have got seen a number of Ruby code for positive. In your private opinion, what makes code good or shitty? Something that’s apparent for you at first look?

David: If the code is poorly written, often it smells earlier than you even look at the logic. Indentation is off, types are blended, care is just not proven. Past that, studying the right way to write nice code, is a life lengthy pursuit. As I stated in my RailsConf 2014 keynote, we’re not software program engineers, we’re software program writers. “Writing” is a way more appropriate metaphor for what we do more often than not than “engineering” is. Writing is about readability and presenting info in a clear-to-follow method in order that anyone can perceive it.

There is not any listing of ideas and practices that someone might be taught after which they’ll routinely produce clear writing each time. If you wish to be author, it’s not sufficient simply to memorize the dictionary. Simply realizing the phrases obtainable to you, realizing the patterns of growth is just not going to make you developer. You must develop an eye fixed. You must determine that a very powerful factor on your system is readability. Whenever you do determine that, you can begin creating an eye fixed.

The one option to change into programmer, the place, by definition, I outline good programmers as someone who writes software program with readability, is to learn quite a lot of software program and write quite a lot of software program.

David Heinemeier Hansson Ruby on Rails creator & co-founder at Basecamp

Evrone: That’s completely true. You already know, often, it is onerous for non-programmers that run corporations to understand the concept of “technical debt”, “structure” and rewriting the identical app a number of occasions to get the higher code. As each a programmer and a businessman, how would you suggest to promote these concepts to businessmen with no programming background?

David: I do not consider in rewriting an app for technical causes, in virtually any case. Sarah Mei’s keynote illuminates why. However I do consider in rewriting if you need the applying to do one thing essentially completely different. I spoke so much about that in a chat at Enterprise of Software program Convention USA.

We have been rewriting the code for Basecamp, not as soon as, and not even twice, launching the brand new variations of Basecamp. For positive, it’s stunning to develop outdated together with your clients. That has quite a lot of advantages, and, additionally, quite a lot of disadvantages. You must have some type of renewal, as a result of issues cease transferring and at one level you simply have a really outdated buyer base, a really shrinking new base of shoppers, and “a bucket”. Prospects transfer on from their job they usually depart your software program. 

The issue is, should you don’t pour in new water, finally there received’t be any water left within the bucket. You must make adjustments whereas issues are good, which is the toughest potential time to make a change.

No one’s going to remain thinking about engaged on the identical actual implementation of their concepts of fifteen years in the past without end. It simply doesn’t work out like that. However, should you proceed to resume it, should you proceed to let your finest concepts have an outlet, of their pure type, you’ll be able to have a brand new inexperienced area and you’ll have your stunning little home on it and every little thing is great. So please, rewrite your software program.

David Heinemeier Hansson Ruby on Rails creator & co-founder at Basecamp

Evrone: And our signature “time-travel” query! When you had a chance to journey again in time to the place you began extracting Rails from Basecamp, what one technical recommendation would you give to your youthful self?

David: I would not wished to have recognized a factor. Ignorance is bliss.

David Heinemeier Hansson


We’re thrilled to welcome David to talk at the RubyRussia conference in 2020. Our crew right here at Evrone can be wanting ahead to the persevering with evolution of Basecamp, and, in fact, Ruby on Rails. The extra highly effective the framework turns into, the higher the options we’re in a position to craft for our shoppers and companions. When you’ve got an thought for a venture and are thinking about utilizing Ruby on Rails, our builders are at all times pleased to debate the probabilities with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at in your venture’s growth, be at liberty to go away us your contact data, and we’ll be in contact quickly to see how we will help you attain your purpose.

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