A skateboarder though?

by Gregory Brown

So, I recently added Agile Web Development with Rails, Second Edition to my wish list. I have to admit though, I almost pulled it right off when I saw the new cover art. I mean, I suppose the rock-star coder marketing has been instrumental in fueling the hype wild success of Rails, but now, I think the line has been crossed.

Of course, I say this partly in jest but I really do think that the framework has always been able to stand on it's own merits without having to typecast itself as being the 'cool' choice for 'hip' programmers.

On a tangental note, I met a guy last night at a friends house who thought Ruby consisted entirely of Rails views. He said, "I don't really like tag based languages". Sigh.

Note: If you are about to leave a comment saying. But it's a grind rail! Don't. Many people already have and I was aware of this when I first posted this.

30 Comments


2006-06-10 10:00:03
Yea, the Pragmatic Programmers choose terrible covers. More examples:
Gregory
2006-06-10 10:04:38
Hehe, beware the mighty sword of AJAX.


It does say something for a publishing company when the biggest beef people have are with your cover art, though.

JEG2
2006-06-10 10:25:56
I agree that the skateboarder and sword are not my favorites, but I really like the other two covers posted above. The Pragmatics also did my favorite book cover, though I am obviously biased.
pate
2006-06-10 10:51:48
I'm not going to get into the cover war. Your tangental note at the end is a real concern to me though. I've worried for a long time that people coming to Rails will not learn that there's an entire world of Ruby hiding underneath the covers. That this is already happening (and has been for a while) is something the Ruby community should be concerned about, and trying to prevent going forward.
pate
2006-06-10 11:11:15
Oh, and Anonymous ... that's a mortar and pestle on the cover of Rails Recipes. A mortar and pestle is an important part in many kitchens, particularily those that blend there own spices. I don't see that as being a bad image for a recipe book at all.


(Sorry, I wasn't going to get involved in this, but I just couldn't help myself.)

Gregory
2006-06-10 11:13:39
pate:


When I first saw that, I thought... ooh, let's make some guacamole and get down to the Rails party!


But anonymous, I laughed pretty heavily when I saw your comment. :)

rick
2006-06-10 11:32:03
I think Dave was just trying to get away from the train metaphor that's been done to death.


I think my rockstar coding book would have a cover like this:

Daniel Berger
2006-06-10 14:09:14
Don't blame me, man. I voted for a bikini babe on the cover, but NooOOOOoooo.


:-P

E
2006-06-10 16:14:52
Maybe was unnoticed, but:


Rail
"Any long piece of metal or stone that is fit for grinding. Rails can be round or square, though square rails are common only in skateparks, where they are built for riding on. Skaters grind along rails. Rails that skaters commonly ride are handrails and curbs."


from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skateboarding_Slang


:)

Greg
2006-06-10 17:44:06
I used to skateboard actually. I know what a rail is in that context. I just think the switch of context is intentional, and vaguely lame.
James Britt
2006-06-11 10:14:06
> I mean, I suppose the rock-star coder marketing has been instrumental in fueling the hype wild success of Rails, ...


I've gotten the feeling that Rails is targeted at the more general developer, the one who doesn't want to have to pull hacks out of his (or her) ass in order to get the job done. The "rock stars" (a description I loath) are off writing their own frameworks, tools that let them do things on their own terms.

Gregory
2006-06-11 10:35:35
James:


I agree that the general developer is the *actual* target audience of rails, but marketing tends to lean towards portraying Rail development like it's some sort of wild sexy party. I actually saw an advertisement from a head hunter that said something like "Looking for rockstar coder to develop sleek new media based web 2.0 application in RoR"


I would prefer sticking with the train analogy. It'll get you where you need to go, reliably. But of course, hype would curve it otherwise. I mean seriously, since when did developers show up on covers of magazines?


It just seems to me that the notion that Hackers == Flashy Rock Stars is something straight out of that awful movie and should be rejected, not embraced by the community.


But now I'm getting a bit overzealous. It just frustrates me especially because other developers my age seem to very quickly fall into this ever increasing tendency to care about how 'cool' their particular toolset is. It's just sad really.

Joe Grossberg
2006-06-11 16:19:54
What's the skateboard sliding along?


Rails.

Gregory
2006-06-11 16:21:16
I don't think anyone missed the analogy.
Justin
2006-06-12 06:06:02
I think the cover is a play on the word "rails".
Coward Anonymous
2006-06-12 08:45:18
> it's a grind rail! Don't. Many people already have and I was aware of this when I first posted this.


But they're wrong: it's a rail grind.


;)

Brennan
2006-06-12 09:25:30
I would prefer sticking with the train analogy.


But how much agility does one associate with trains? I think the grinding skateboarder better expresses the ability to use Rails with creativity and agility.

Gregory
2006-06-12 09:31:59
But how much agility does one associate with trains? I think the grinding skateboarder better expresses the ability to use Rails with creativity and agility.


That's a very good point. It's a much more positive light than I first saw the symbol in.


But I don't know, I tend to think of users of Rails as train passengers, which in say, New York City, would make them far more agile than someone in a car. I guess I have a bias in really liking trains (Hell, I ride em enough!) :)


I also *thought* the Rails analogy was about how the framework lays down tracks for your application, letting you focus on where you want to go, not how to get things moving. To me, that analogy was fine and didn't need a more hip spin.


But thanks for your perspective, it was insightful. :)

Keith
2006-06-12 11:21:13
Look, you can either choose between a rockstar or a fat dude with a big hat...


Manning Ugly Cover

Gregory
2006-06-12 11:57:50
That almost seems to go under the anonymous comment 'Get high and learn about rails', though I do love dblack and think that is a great book :)
Chris
2006-06-12 12:09:17
If were aware that he is grinding a rail then your argument that the image represenets "cool" and "hip" seems weak at best.
Gregory
2006-06-12 12:30:56

If were aware that he is grinding a rail then your argument that the image represenets "cool" and "hip" seems weak at best.


Personally, I think 3rd edition should bring back the train, but in style. Do you think it'd be possible to put spinning rims on a locomotive?

anonymouzer
2006-06-12 16:32:09
Hey,


I think a lot of ruby on rails developers belong to the skate-generation (late 80's, early 90's...) Seems to be a perfect fit, not?

Gregory
2006-06-12 16:55:41
I grew up among skaters. And it's just my opinion, but no, I don't think so. It's programming dude. It's only cool to geeks.


Then again, if what you say is true, I don't want to even think about what the Forth generation was like ;)

James Britt
2006-06-13 19:08:02
> I mean seriously, since when did developers show up on covers of magazines?


Um, that magazine puts developers on the cover quite often. It's, you know, a developer magazine.


:)


Seriously, all props to David for the cover, but let's wait until a Rubyist makes the cover of Time or Forbes before wetting our pants.

Gregory
2006-06-13 19:11:49
I just don't see the point of putting a programmers face on the front of anything, even if it is DHH.


But that's getting sort of far away from my original (tounge in cheek at best) comment.

Gregory
2006-06-13 19:14:47
wait. Seeing the Ruby Kaigi T-Shirt, I stand corrected ;)


orderthruchaos
2006-06-14 10:17:27
I believe that, due to the turn-around time between editions 1 and 2 of the book, a change in image on the cover is necessary to help the consumer ensure that they are getting the correct version (once it is in print and sitting on the shelves of B & N, for example). I don't think that the change was uncalled for, or too much of a stretch.
Gregory
2006-06-14 10:24:24
My vote still goes for a pimped out train for 3rd Edition.


People took this post waaaaay too seriously! ;)

Nate
2006-06-22 14:18:16
I personally love the "fat dude with a big hat"
Manning Ugly Cover


But, I think the next edition of this book should have the same fat dude with a big hat wheeling a skateboard over a shinny rail.