Nathaniel Talbott: Why Camping Matters

“you can make input tags manually, did you know that?”

  • rails is boring, so you can focus on interesting business problems, camping is offbeat so you can focus interesting technical problems
  • rails is daunting to hack on, camping is easy to hack on, it’s ruby
  • rails encourages conformance, camping encourages experimentation

hacking is fun

  • we need to feed our inner hacker
  • we need a variety of food, make sure you are doing different things, don’t such pound on rails
  • hacking needs to be something you are passionate about

regular, varied and appealing

balance getting good with learning

rubyconf = hackerconf – solving hobyist
railsconf = pragmatistconf – solving business

rubyconf = vitality
railsconf = momentum

Go hack something!


Started slow during the coding, in my opinion, because I have already played with Camping. I enjoyed the talk of the differences between rubyconf and railsconf simply because Brandon and I were talking about the same topic yesterday at a Starbucks.

Rails is awesome. It allows you to focus on business problems and solutions. I have to be honest though…it’s getting kind of boring. The more conventions and the easier Rails gets, the more boring it gets. Go try out camping, merb, sequel, and datamapper. Start learning something new in ruby. Keep getting paid to do rails and keep solving problems quickly, but force new ideas in. Don’t just continually take orders.


  1. Michael Michael

    Nov 02, 2007

    There is a new micro-framework called Sinatra that you may be interested in too.

    Camping hasn’t been updated in over a year. I’m sure there has to be something to improve/add since then!

  2. Couldn’t agree more with Michael. Camping is for all intents and purposes dead. Sinatra is, imo, much cleaner and easier to use. It’s also ORM agnostic, so you’re not married to ActiveRecord. You should check it out (I’ll be pushing a tutorial on it to my blog soon)

  3. My opinion is that rails is boring on purpose. It lets you focus on the interesting stuff. For instance rails makes basic stuff easy. Now you can focus on database design and implementation, user interface design, user experience, website look. That’s why I love rails. Its make the tedious and boring stuff about a website quick. That way you can work on the fun stuff. For instance look at backpack. Most of the new features they’ve rolled out have been dealing with user experience. Most of which required no rails coding at all.

  4. @Michael and Nap – Yep, saw sinatra. Not attracted to it from some reason. We’ll see. My side projects are now going into merb. Merb is lots of fun, especially with Sequel as the ORM. I’ll be writing about that here before too long.

    @Brian – Agreed. I like that about rails as well, however, I occasionally like to step out of conformity and think for myself. :)

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Authored by John Nunemaker (Noo-neh-maker), a programmer who has fallen deeply in love with Ruby. Learn More.


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