Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stepping over the stones

Yesterday I headed on up to what's affectionately referred to as the Business Center. It's where a lot of our hardware is located and also serves as offices for some of my colleagues who aren't quite in the same organization as me yet I have to deal with them regardless. They're nice enough folk but their mindset is a bit different than ours. They would argue that we don't necessarily "get" the grand plan while we would counter that our direct interaction with customers, as opposed to just fellow employees, doesn't allow us such a luxury.

So in the bi-weekly meeting that I attend up there I dropped the bombshell that I was planning on using Ruby on Rails in the rewrite of our web portal. Now understand that our current version, which was written before I started working there, is nowhere near what was promised to upper management in terms of capability and speed. Add onto that the enormous costs and the fact that the final product still hasn't been delivered and you can see how the people I answer to would be a bit anxious to get something rolling.

But naturally my colleagues didn't see it that way. Immediately a furor was raised over how I was going against the ingrained standards of the company and how difficult it would be to support an application written in an "alien" language. They made it seem as if it was Sean vs. The Holy J2EE Standard. Regardless, I know that the way to get Ruby through the system is not with direct confrontation. I did plenty of that at my last job and would much prefer to build bridges here. So I'm going the other route: I'm gonna charm 'em.

Upon return to the sanctuary of my cube I immediately set about creating accounts on my Linux box for each of those programmers who raised an objection. I then gathered all the helpful tutorials and links that I used when I was learning Ruby on Rails and put all the information into a nicely formatted, kindly worded email. The idea is that once they see the true power of this amazing framework they will better understand why I am going this route. I don't expect to make converts out of them overnight but I do hope that they drop their blind reluctance to it and give it the chance it deserves.

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