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Ruby’s Top Hitter in 2008 – Jeremy McAnally

By Peter Cooper / December 16, 2008


Note: This post is a part of Ruby Inside’s Top 10 in 2008 series. To learn more or see the other awards, read this introductory post.

Jeremy McAnally - One of Ruby’s Busiest Hackers of 2008

jeremym.pngJeremy McAnally (Twitter @jeremymcanally) is a Huntsville, Alabama based Ruby developer who has been developing software for about 10 years and now works for popular consultancy ENTP. He takes Top Hitter (no, not Hitler!) for being, in Ruby Inside's opinion, one of the most consistent releasers, challengers, and driving forces in the Ruby and Rails worlds this year. His releases span many media - two books (Ruby In Practice and The Humble Little Ruby Book), a magazine (The Rubyist), libraries (context, matchy, dcov, and more), and a blog (his blog - omg blog!! lol!!).

Jeremy cites his overriding goal as making things simpler by solving complicated problems with beautiful implementations. In this sense he has done very well. His latest significant project, rg, a Rails application generation template system, has been integrated into the Rails core and will make life a lot easier for Rails developers in the future. Jeremy was also the driver behind one of only two successful efforts to launch a Ruby print magazine in 2008 with The Rubyist (the other being the German Rails Way). With context and matchy, Jeremy has also taken a good shot at making Test::Unit an attractive alternative to RSpec.

If we all kept releasing and trying as many things as Jeremy has in the last couple of years, the Ruby community would be awash with all sorts of amazing projects. For this, he easily takes Ruby Inside's slightly awkwardly named Top Hitter accolade.

Mini Interview

We caught up with Jeremy for a short interview to find out what he's been up to, what he has planned, and who he finds interesting in the Ruby world..

Ruby Inside: How and when did you get into Ruby?

Jeremy McAnally: I was working on a project and needed dynamic typing. I found Ruby and *loved* it, but the serial library wasn’t working with my hardware, so I ended up using Python instead. I rediscovered Ruby a few months later when I saw an article about Rails and haven’t looked back since (except one unfortunate liaison with PHP but we won’t talk about that!).

How have your Ruby & Rails related projects progressed in 2008? Any surprises?

I’ve had a lot of surprises this year. I honestly didn’t think The Rubyist would ever actually come to fruition, but here we are. One issue out and another on the way.

After a lot of false starts for projects (an RDoc replacement named docr, a Rake replacement named lake, and a few others), I ended up with a few solid releases of some testing tools (context, matchy, and stump). They’re still taking shape, but a lot of people seem to really enjoy using them as much as I do. I’m really interested to see where they go; it makes me feel good to be using simple code to write beautiful tests!

What plans / outlook / projects do you have for 2009?

I want to keep pushing my testing tools forward, but I also have a few other places I want to go. I want to get back to contributing to Rails (and I’m working on a few interesting things in that realm right now); I want to work on simplifying many of the core tools we depend on these days (and work alongside those who have already started doing so, such as the folks who’ve release minitest, thor, and so on). Other than that, I’ll have to see what presents itself. :)

Outside of Ruby, I plan on doing some iPhone work also. I’ve started hacking a few apps, but I want to extract some pieces of those into some open source libraries. There’s a very small amount of OSS code out there for iPhone, which means there’s plenty of territory to cover for those who are willing to do the work.

What do you think other Rubyists should be learning or checking out in the new year?

I’m not totally sure. I cast a fairly broad eye across the Ruby ecosystem, but I think the most interesting thing I see right now is Adhearsion. It’s sort of a sleeper project, but I think when it hits critical mass, it’s going to be huge.

Have any Rubyists have made an impact on your work in 2008?

I’ve been really interested to see all the fun and interesting Ruby tricks out there (simple example: the new #try stuff in Rails). Some of them are really elegant, and they’ve taught me a lot about Ruby objects and how to effectively expand their behavior. As for blogs, I’ve really been loving Mike Gunderloy’s blog. He’s a fairly recent addition to my blogroll, but he always has interesting links. Ben Bleything also has a lot of interesting projects, and, as I’m sure you’re ware, Giles always has really interesting and sometimes disturbing posts.

Thanks Jeremy!

Projects and Links


  1. rick says:

    We at ENTP are all comrade developers, so the 'top hitler' title fits :)

  2. Geoffrey Grosenbach says:

    Congrats to Jeremy!

    Also, I have 10 quid on Josh Goebel winning "Top Goebel". Don't let me down, Peter!

  3. Pratik says:

    Congrats Jeremy! Much deserved.

  4. Martin says:

    If I could get the hororee to answer any of my emails on how he is actually going to bring the quiz/contest from theRubyist, Issue 1, to a close, I'd be more of a Jeremy fan.

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