The business benefits of Ruby and Rails

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Vahagn

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Aug 13, 2009, 9:43:25 AM8/13/09
to Rails Activism
Hi,-

I'm new to this group and would appreciate some advice on the
following:

Those of you who have a business offering Rails development, how do
you sell the benefits? Is the main business benefit speed of
development / agility, speed of prototyping, vendor independence, or
something else?

I find it a bit tricky to nail down because the customers (especially
the end customers) do not buy a technology, they buy a solution to
their problems. Then there are enterprise customers who already have
IT investments and their reasons for choosing a particular technology
can be very specific. I have heard that Ruby and Rails are starting to
make it into the enterprise. So you do you use / enforce that trend?

I have been playing with Ruby and Rails for about a year and now am
thinking of making a living out of it, so I guess what I'm asking
about is "how do you promote Rails to your local community"?

Thanks!
Vahagn

Matt Aimonetti

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Aug 13, 2009, 1:59:14 PM8/13/09
to rails-a...@googlegroups.com
Welcome Vahagn,

 This is actually a hard question to address as it depends on the market you are after, your own skills and interests as well as what your clients requirements and needs.

I think you are right when you say that clients don't buy technologies, they buy your services. If you are more efficient using a technology such as Rails, that's what should matter to them.

The best way to advertise locally is to build awesome products that are quickly developed, powerful and flexible. Most clients won't care if you use Ruby or write your website in assembler. They care about the end result and the bill. Try going to local tech meeting and present your work. Giving talks about Ruby/Rails at local non-ruby related meetings can also be very valuable.

Now, if a client asks why you don't use PHP, Java, Python or .NET, I think it's up to you do explain your own reasons. For your information, some huge sites are running on Ruby without any issues, think about hulu.com, yellowpages.com, wikipedia mobile, photoshop online and many more. Some top 100 companies such as Sony also use Ruby on a daily basis and Apple, Microsoft and Sun invested large amount of money on Ruby.

My personal approach is to create a relationship with the client and show to him/her that they can trust you. The technology you will use shouldn't be the main argument in the discussion of a project.

I hope it helps,

- Matt

p.s: you might also want to consider using JRuby, IronRuby or MacRuby depending on the specific needs of your client.

Vahagn Hayrapetyan

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Aug 14, 2009, 5:12:23 AM8/14/09
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Hi Matt,-

thank you for the awesome answer. Many valuable insights in there for sure.


The best way to advertise locally is to build awesome products that are quickly developed, powerful and flexible.

That would be the ultimate - especially if one can master the art of quick development without sacrificing quality, power, and functionality - but that is exactly the edge that Rails gives one (the promise of speed and quality). My first Rails project took about 4 months to build which is understandable because I was learning Rails (and Ruby) at the same time. I guess for business showcasing that development span would be a bit longish though.

It would be great to keep learning about the business of Rails. There are Rails business meetups in several cities around the globe, London for instance. If there are other venues or channels I'd be glad to hear about them. And yeah, I know there are the conferences...

Cheers,
Vahagn

John Yerhot

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Aug 19, 2009, 2:46:41 PM8/19/09
to Rails Activism

> Those of you who have a business offering Rails development, how do
> you sell the benefits? Is the main business benefit speed of
> development / agility, speed of prototyping, vendor independence, or
> something else?

For us, I think it is a bunch of things - but development speed and
emphasis on testing are probably the most important. We were also
lucky enough to have someone that was in a decision making position
that was technically savvy enough to understand these benefits. I
think that was key.

> I find it a bit tricky to nail down because the customers (especially
> the end customers) do not buy a technology, they buy a solution to
> their problems. Then there are enterprise customers who already have
> IT investments and their reasons for choosing a particular technology
> can be very specific. I have heard that Ruby and Rails are starting to
> make it into the enterprise. So you do you use / enforce that trend?

I work in a small division (15-ish people) of a very large company
(8,000 + employees). We have other divisions doing Java and Perl, but
we're almost exclusively Ruby/Rails now. So, yes, it has made it into
the enterprise.

> I have been playing with Ruby and Rails for about a year and now am
> thinking of making a living out of it, so I guess what I'm asking
> about is "how do you promote Rails to your local community"?

I think Matt hit this one on the head - do awesome work.

Best of luck to you!

Vahagn Hayrapetyan

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Aug 20, 2009, 3:37:26 PM8/20/09
to rails-a...@googlegroups.com
John,-

thanks for your input, I appreciate it. I have also recently heard stories of Rails making its way into the enterprise. Some of those stories are rather funny. For instance I have heard of a large consultancy that uses Rails to rapidly prototype apps, after which point they re-code the apps in Java for production! (At least they've got a foot in).

What I feel is missing is a sort of a mastermind group / knowledge base of using Ruby, Rails, and generally Open Source in the business world. Not necessarily enterprise but business in general. One could argue that such groups are best developed locally, such as this one:

http://www.meetup.com/Rails-Business-UK/

One would possibly be right, but I still feel a Rails business knowledge base across countries and industries would be a valuable, timely initiative.

Any thoughts on that one?

Cheers,
Vahagn

Mustafa Ekim

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Aug 20, 2009, 4:07:14 PM8/20/09
to rails-a...@googlegroups.com
Hi,

As someone who established his own business on Turkey, I am closely
interested in getting this type of feedback from rails community.

Each day we are becoming a much more Rails dependent business because
first we have already started to serve many rails web sites as a service
to our customers and second we are still starting new business on rails.
Among those applications are SMS APIs, IVR applications, Scheduling
script lets and so on.

Unfortunately I still do not observe any efficiency that rails brings to
our business. When I think what it would look like or how long it would
take if we had did all in asp.net, I am generally confused because you
can never know without really doing it.

I certainly do not agree on the claim that rails is ideal for fast web
application development. We have certainly not gained any time yet.

But oppositely to what community claims, we think that rails will bring
efficiency when the projects gets bigger because rails push us to a good
structure.

but as a service provider who has to deal lots of third party
applications, we are experiencing some difficulties when we have to
implement something that is not a rails way. for instance the ISP
provider make a GET request to post the messages to our servers. we can
handle this but we get away of the rails way. it was just a small
example.

The real reason we are still on rails is because we still believe that
it WILL be a very fast application development framework in the near
future. So we are investing on rails

I would like to hear what you are benefiting from rails?

thanks!
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