Welcome to Ruby Code & Style, and welcome to 2006. I'm a bit late in wishing all a Happy New Year, and perhaps more than a bit late in wishing all a hearty Welcome! to Ruby Code & Style. I confess the reason in each case is the same: I'm busy, often busier than I expect or want to be. I don't mean to offer that as an excuse; no doubt a good number of readers are thinking, “Yeah, so am I.”
Busy is usually good. Most people are busy because they're working, hopefully at something they love and enjoy. Of course, people are often busy with things they don't particular love or enjoy, but have to do to meet their numerous responsibilities to family, friends, and whomever else.
The downside of busy is that it makes it harder to take on new tasks, to pursue additional goals, however laudable or compelling. So when busy people make time to take on an extra task, volunteer their scarce time and effort, step up and lend and hand when many others are clamoring for their attention, it is a noteworthy event.
That is the case with Ruby Code & Style. I expect most readers have already scanned the list of names on our advisory board; there may be names you know and names that are new. You may or may not be familiar with their work, but I can tell you something about each and every one of them: They're busy. Yet they've made time to help get Ruby Code & Style off the ground and onto the Web. To all those who made that extra effort, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks. Special thanks go to Shashank Date, fellow Ruby hacker and RC&S editor, and to Bill Venners and Artima.
Ruby Code & Style is perhaps another indication of the continued growth of the Ruby community. It used to be that finding Ruby information or articles on the Web was near impossible. One could conceivably maintain a list of all known links. I know; I started doing it with ruby-doc.org a few years go. I've since given up trying to track the stray tutorial or occasional how-to. There is now no way, and little reason, to handcraft a list of available Ruby resources. There's no longer anything stray or occasional in finding information about Ruby.
As thrilled as I am at this avalanche of Ruby information, it also points to real challenge for Ruby Code & Style. Each day it becomes easier for people to publish on the Web. Not all of it is good, but a good deal of it is—or at least good enough. For Ruby Code & Style to stand out, to find and keep an audience, it needs to offer something that cannot be found in sheer volume.
I believe that something is the compelling technical authority available from our authors and board of advisers. No other Web site or publication can begin to offer the technical savvy afforded by this stellar roster.
There's a second, more critical factor, too. Ruby Code & Style is a true community-supported endeavor. Our mission is to serve the Ruby community by providing a forum for publishing high-quality technical articles for Ruby developers, all freely-available via the web. The people doing the heavy lifting at Ruby Code & Style are doing it because they want to see the zine thrive and prosper. It is not simply an attempt to jump on the Ruby bandwagon and try to make a few bucks recycling the same material that is readily available elsewhere on the Web. In fact, the zine is being bootstrapped with contributed time and articles. To the extent the zine generates revenues, we will be able to pay authors. (And money has started to flow in, as we already secured our first advertiser.) Nevertheless, our main goal is community service, and we plan to keep at it in good times and bad.
I fully expect that the quality of work at Ruby Code & Style will continue to far surpass what is offered elsewhere. I say this because, while many publications may be eager to run yet another introductory article, or one more beginners' how-to, or “Ruby for people who don't actually use Ruby”, they are still shy about hard-core Ruby. We're not. We welcome it. We're a Ruby publication, produced by and for real Ruby hackers.
We know Ruby. We are the Ruby community.
To achieve these goals, we need your help. If you have an idea, or if there's something you'd like to see, let us know. If you're a reader, tell us what you like and don't like. Tell us what works and what doesn't.
Most important, if you think you have an article in you, consider writing for Ruby Code & Style. You will not find the same opportunity elsewhere to have your article tech reviewed by some of Ruby's best and brightest. Since Ruby Code & Style is on the Web and free, you'll reach a far greater audience than subscriber-only outlets. Bill Venners and Artima are known and respected; this is not some operation popping up from out of the blue.
While monetary compensation is still a work-in-progress, you'll receive payment in other ways. We can assure you a large audience of informed readers who understand and appreciate your work. Since Ruby Code & Style is on the Web and free, you'll reach a far greater audience than subscriber-only outlets. Moreover, the exposure may help you in your career. Ara Howard, one of our initial authors, said, "I've received three job offers as a result of my Ruby Queue article being published in Ruby Code & Style and in Linux Journal. Writing for someone like Artima or Linux Journal is rewarding to the author from a self-promotion point of view." But perhaps most important, you'll be helping the Ruby community by sharing some of the wisdom you've gained in your experience with Ruby.
I know everyone is busy. I also know that some extra effort now will pay itself back over and over by seeing to it that Ruby Code & Style thrives and prospers not just in 2006, but for along time after. Consider it an investment in your, and Ruby's, future.
Thank you, and thanks to the Ruby community for helping to make programming fun again.