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Is it time for a RailsForge?

By Peter Cooper / July 6, 2007


One of the best Ruby resources out there (if not the best) is RubyForge. It's a home for Ruby-related open source projects and acts as a default home for the hundreds of RubyGems we all use and love.

A small team, made up of Jason Perry, K. Adam Christensen, Scott Becker, and James Seaman, however, think that it might be time for a RailsForge to come onto the scene. They've set up a community survey at that anyone can fill out, and they're looking for your opinions:

At first glance, there’s a resistance to drawing a line between Ruby and Rails—that’s certainly not what we aim to do. We think there might be a strong need for a Rails-centric hub. Something to encourage growth, innovation and learning within the Framework. The main point is to aggregate information and ideas from the Rails community at large, and give it a strong base for newcomers and experienced Rail-riders alike to stand on. More than a repository. More than a blog or a tumblog. More than a wiki. What we’re thinking of is… Grand Central Station. What do you think?

I'm not keen on supporting something that might break up the community, but in RailsForge's, they might have a good case. While Ruby and Rails were nearly always used in the same sentence in 2006, this is no longer the case. I feel that the programming world, as a whole, is becoming more receptive to Ruby as a language, so perhaps having separate resources for Ruby the language, and Rails the framework, is a wise way to move into the future. This could become even more pivotal if Rails leaps off of being a Ruby-only framework into becoming a standard or set of conventions for Web application frameworks.. and that's not as crazy a scenario as it seems at first glance.

Go to and give the guys your opinions.


  1. Lyle says:

    Here's the comment that I posted at RailsForge:

    I'm not opposed in principle to your establishing a kind of "grand central station" for all things Rails. My main concern with establishing a site like this is that it will create confusion about where to host projects that are useful to both Rails and non-Rails programmers. If you're a Rails developer, and you end up "hanging out" at RailsForge, you'll probably host your project there, even if it might be of interest to the non-Rails folks. At the same time, you'll want to keep up with new projects at RubyForge so that you don't miss out on any libraries that might prove useful for your Rails applications. Likewise, the non-Rails folks will feel compelled to keep up with both RubyForge *and* RailsForge so that they don't miss out on any new stuff coming out of the Rails community.

  2. Jeremy says:

    This seems to be fragmentation for fragmentation's sake. I see no disctinct advantage to having a RailsForge, other than it's "just for Rails." This is especially silly since most Rails plugins also work with other frameworks, so hosting them on "RailsForge" is pointless since they could just as easily be hosted on "CampingForge" or "MerbForge."

    Even further, RubyForge isn't even big enough to warrant this sort of split.

  3. Jason L Perry says:

    I think we're generally moving away from the idea of RailsForge hosting anything. We generally want to aggregate what's out there and focus it through a "rails" shaped lens.

    What we're imagining is, if you've got a gem, by all means, put it on rubyforge... If it's rails related, RailsForge will pick it up, and reference it. If someone blogs about that gem, or writes a tutorial, RailsForge will pick that up.

    We don't want to split anything.

  4. Ryan Bates says:

    I agree with the above comments. Instead making an alternative RailsForge, I would love to see them use the energy to improve RubyForge. I find the site difficult to use and overly complex. If they would redesign it, clean it up, keep it simple, and make it more user friendly to visitors, I think that would be awesome.

    *survey sent*

  5. Dr Nic says:

    I'd prefer to see the effort put into reimplementing or improving the existing RubyForge.

  6. mike says:

    Even better idea would be to create RailsPAD.

  7. Jeremy says:

    If you aren't splitting it or hosting anything or what have you, then don't name it RailsForge, since it's so similar to RubyForge in name but not in nature. I know there's NewsForge/SourceForge, but I think maybe since RubyForge already exists, then RailsForge will simply have too much namespace pollution and make it confusing for people.

    Maybe something like "RailsCentral" or "Rails(x)". I don't know. RailsForge just makes me think it's RubyForge for Rails.

  8. Jason L Perry says:

    Yeah, that's pretty much the realization I've come to. The few bits of negative feedback I've gotten have been, i think, partly because of what the name implies. I chose the name a) because it would be an obvious thing people would look for when looking for what we want to provide, and b) it was available.

    We'll see what happens, we very well might not stick with the name.

  9. topfunky says:

    I agree with Lyle, Jeremy, Bates, Nic, and all. It wouldn't be too hard to build a killer Ruby-based webapp that could run the official I'd rather see effort put into that instead of trying to build a separate Rails gem repository.

    RubyForge sysadmin Tom Copeland is a great guy and has responded positively to other people who have proposed the idea.

  10. meekish says:

    Posted at

    I seem to remember from his podcast interview that Tom was open to overhauling It would be so cool to see some motivated developers focusing their energies on what has already become the de-facto standard for the Ruby community.

    Rails is a big enough slice of the Ruby community now that it would seem feasible to have a portion of Rubyforge (a mini-site if you will) dedicated to all that is Rails. Not to mention, any work done on would benefit the Ruby community as a whole; I have a feeling that Ruby will outlast Rails—that Merb is just so hot right now.

  11. Justin Palmer says:

    I tried to improve RubyForge through custom stylesheets, but considering RubyForge uses almost 0 classes or ID's, it was a huge pain in the ass. I'd love to see Rubyforge get a makeover.

  12. meekish says:

    A makeover that would perhaps include Lighthouse and Warehouse for each new Rubyforge project? That would certainly make Rubyforge the sexiest project repository on the web.

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