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Monday, December 08, 2008

An Open Letter to Aptana, re: RadRails

Dear Aptana,
I just wanted to give you my $.02 about Aptana & RadRails.

I'm an eclipse guy from my java past, so radrails was my first stop looking for a rails editor.

I was pretty happy with the free version. It worked ok.

Everything was fine until HAML came along as the new hotness and I couldn't find a good HAML syntax highlighter.

Then somebody here bought Aptana and said that in the beta releases there was a HAML editor.

We bought 5 licenses for ~$500 total.

But me and the other guys are getting pretty close to tossing this whole stack.

  • Every time Eclipse freezes up 'Saving the Cloud model' I think about switching to textmate.
  • Every time I have to click away from the useless Rails Search to the slow as nuts Aptana search. I think of switching to I don't know what.
  • Every time there is a bug that doesn't allow me to type { to start a line, I assume that none of you actually uses this to develop rails apps on a day to day basis.
  • Will clicking f3 to go to the method declaration? Or will it freeze up for 2 minutes? It tough to predict.

I could not care less about rails helper GUI things that run script/generate for me. Or run my rake tasks. None of us could. We use the command line and it's fine.

I could not care less about 'the cloud'. Or Jaxster. Or pretty much any of the other features that you seem to be working on. Are you an IDE company or a hosting provider? I have a hosting provider. I have no idea what you are doing in this space.

What we want:
  1. Faster search.
  2. Awesome Git Support.
  3. Code completion that isn't brain dead. (I saw Josh Susser present some awesome ideas on how to make this happen! (registering observed classes with the meta callbacks that happen when you run tests))
  4. And as much refactoring support as you can make happen.
Code Editor + Git support + the standard eclipse outline, problems etc views.

We will pay for this. We paid $500 for HAML syntax highlighting for goodness sake, but I feel like what you're doing and what I want are diverging. Quickly. Maybe that's just the way it is and it'll be a better future for us both, but I can't say I understand it. I feel like you guys should be making the killer rails IDE but instead you're doing things that have no value (to me) and driving me away in the process.

Thanks for absorbing my rant. Personally, I know I appreciate hearing from users, even if they're frustrated and I figured it's more useful to send it your way than to grumble silently here.

good luck,



Ray Krueger said...

I'm not sure if it meets all of your requirements or not, and try not to laugh to hard at this thought...
Give Netbeans 6.5 a serious look. I've only just started messing with it, but I was immediately impressed. That may fade if I use it more, who knows, I haven't had time :(

Jeremy Weiskotten said...

TextMate FTW!

Unknown said...

@Ray yep, I just downloaded it, but I need to spend some quality time with the videos before I'm able to be productive. I hear good things about RubyMine too, but remapping my fingers is never fun.

Anonymous said...

Double on Netbeans. It's good, and works awesome for me in my mix of Java, PHP and RoR's. TextMate-color theme highlighting as plugin - love it -- Eclipse certainly gave developers hard time with that kind of simple "luxury" ;-)

I am a little bit worried of Netbeans's support of SVN. It does have it, but I am worried of it's ugliness. It may be my configuration, and that my dev time shares between IDE and console, but Netbeans does not index project properly after my changes from console, and when doing commit - it does not commit actual files, until it finds them (it may happen in days, when I "enter" folder through Netbeans). Insane.

But it's minor one really.

Unknown said...

Huh, that's interesting that you don't like the NetBeans SVN support. That was something I did quite like for Eclipse, but now I'm on git (and thus back to the command line). I've found that NetBeans is much better with git than Eclipse when dealing with git changing files beneath it. I wonder why you're not seeing the same thing with SVN?