Morph Labs have been supporting RubyLearning.org for some time now. Satish Talim of RubyLearning recently caught up with Guy Naor (CTO Morph Labs), who was kind enough to spare time answering questions posed by RubyLearning.
Guy Naor is a veteran of the computing and technology world since 1981. Guy’s technology experience spans evolution and revolution eras, where he was involved with multiple companies and projects, working in a wide variety of computing platforms from mainframes to hand held devices as well as dozens of languages and operating systems. In his most recent role, Guy served as CTO of Famundo, a Web 2.0 start-up. Prior to that, he led the development of Goldmine software for four (4) years and had served as an advisor and a consulting architect on a variety of Web 2.0 products. Guy has unparalleled experience in Ruby on Rails (Web 2.0 technology) and is an active member of the open source community, where his libraries and education materials are used worldwide.
Satish Talim>> Guy, a warm welcome to you. For the benefit of the readers, could you tell us something about your self?
Guy Naor>> I am a long time veteran of the computing world. I started as a teenager back in the early 80’s with the earliest personal computers. Since then I programmed and managed development on a huge number of operating systems, languages and frameworks. After many years writing applications on Windows in C++, I decided to switch to web development. Those were the early days of Ruby on Rails, but after a comparison with the rest of the options, and although it was new and lightly documented, I decided to start my web development career using Rails. I am very passionate about technology and it’s real life application. In my spare time I do marathon running, scuba diving and traveling with my family.
Satish Talim>> You are one of the co-founders of Famundo, which is revolutionizing the way families manage their busy lives! Can you tell us more about Famundo?
Guy Naor>> Famundo is a Rails application that came out of my and my partners needs. Having three kids and a busy work life, finding ways to make it easy to manage the hectic family life was a big thing for me. Having roots in CRM systems (I managed the development of GoldMine for four years), I realized a family is not that different from a workgroup in a business. There are different rights, data separation, scheduling, documents, contacts, etc… So we set out to make those always online and available. Famundo is growing constantly, and new versions improving the product are coming out all the time.
Satish Talim>> You are also the CTO at Morph Labs, which is a provider of Platform as a Service for web applications. Can you give us more details?
Guy Naor>> With the experience gained from Famundo and other projects I consulted on, and with a long time of mentoring developers on Rails, I realized that although we have a lot of great developers and ideas, deployment and system management is still hard and complex. It also requires a completely different set of skills from that of developers. When Amazon came out with EC2, it was clear that Grids/Clouds are the future for deployment of web applications. Together with Rails structured deployment and migration tools, we set out to create something that will make deployment as easy as Rails made development. The result of that is the Morph PaaS offering. It made deploying a Rails application a 5 minutes process. And we provide the users with a fully managed, monitored and redundant system. Using a specially designed architecture, we were able to make the offer so cost effective, it’s cheaper to host with us on EC2, than trying to go directly with EC2. It’s a lot simpler, and doesn’t require any special skill. Following the introduction of the Rails platform, we partnered with Webtide and created a similar solution for Java web apps. With a fast moving development team (our own code is all Rails and Ruby based) we are planning on many additions and new features and capabilities.
Satish Talim>> You provide mentoring to enterprises on switching to and developing with Rails. According to you, what have been the major obstacles in the Enterprise adoption of Ruby / Rails?
Guy Naor>> The main obstacle is lack of experience and skills. Enterprises need a lot more time to evaluate and learn how to deploy new technologies. We are seeing great momentum in the last few month, and a lot of Enterprises trying Rails. First on a smaller scale, but as the economic advantages of Rails become clear, it increases penetration. We see a big future for cloud computing in the enterprise. Both public available clouds like Amazon’s EC2 and internal clouds, configured with systems similar to the Morph PaaS platform to facilitate both Intranet and Extranet application deployments and management.
Satish Talim>> Guy you are an active member of the open source community and have contributed code and a plugin to the Ruby on Rails community. What advise would you give Ruby / Rails developers to follow this path?
Guy Naor>> The Rails community is very open and accepting. I had great experience with the community, and have seen many project start from a small contribution and turn into large and popular plugins and gems in a very short time. The secret is to learn Ruby and Rails well (many people forget that Ruby is at the root of it all, and skip learning it deep enough), and have courage to release your code. We are still at the early stages of Rails, and there is still a lot of place for new additions and ideas. And the community really loves to try new things. Much more than any other OS community I was involved in. I also suggest really learning the actual Rails code. I contributed some patches that were accepted into both Rails and Capistrano. But more than I helped the community, working on those patches helped me understand and learn Rails. Reading and understanding the Rails code is something every Rails developer should do from time to time.
Satish Talim>> How do you keep your skills sharp and keep up-to-date with the latest developments?
Guy Naor>> I continue to both code, mentor and code review the code we write at Morph. No matter how much management I have to do, I will always code. This is something I love to do, and help me have intimate knowledge of everything we do. It also helps my team, as they get mentoring and help with knowledge that come from real world experience, not only from theory. In addition to all that, I also read blogs and books related to all the technologies we use, and to new ideas and technologies.
Satish Talim>> According to you, what’s the future of Ruby / Rails?
Guy Naor>> I see a great future for Ruby and Rails. Enterprise adoption will grow at high speed – we already see a big demand for Rails developers. In two years I expect Rails to be accepted as standard language for enterprise development. I do not see it pushing Java out, but more of thriving side-by-side. I am a big believer in tools diversity and in choosing the right tool for the job. It’s the reason I always learned new languages and tools. I also see a lot of frameworks similar to Rails appearing and taking hold (Grails, PHP frameworks, Python frameworks, and new Ruby frameworks – Merb for example). I see all those developments as a sign of Rails maturing and getting into the “big boys” league.
Satish Talim>> Thanks Guy for sharing your views with the RubyLearning participants.