Hobo is the future of Rails
I’m probably much too new at both Rails or Hobo to make this kind of comment, but just from what I’ve seen so far, I think that Hobo is where it’s at.
The thing that really got me was this: In a previous post, I made a comment that something I would like to see in Netbeans’ RoR support is something to help ease the work of migrations. A kind man by the name of Tor Norbye (who appears to be the lead developer on Netbeans’ Ruby and Rails support) replied and asked what I meant by that, but I couldn’t really explain, because at the time I didn’t know myself.
Now I know. All along, it was Hobo’s approach I was looking for. One of the things Hobo introduces to Rails is the fact that you define the attributes of your model inside the model’s code. What Hobo does is to use this information to produce migrations for you. To me, it just makes sense that the model definition should live inside the model code. Although you could argue that the nice thing about ActiveRecord is that it requires no mapping from the DB model to your code (like some ORMs do), you still have to define the relationships between the models anyway, so why not just the attributes as well? After all, you’re not any less DB-portable because of it, and you were going to define the fields withing the boundary of Rails anyway, weren’t you?
Anyway, that just touches on one aspect of Hobo. Before I discovered Hobo, I almost wrote a blog extoling the virtues of HAML. It was only when I was Googling for HAML support in Netbeans that I stumbled upon a comment in a blog post where someone spoke about DRYML stomping HAML through the floor, which led me to Hobo. I still think HAML is pretty neat, and I haven’t even begun to comprehend DRYML yet, so I can’t really comment on that.
In my opinion, the thing that makes Rails great is the way you can develop websites with minimal effort. From what I’ve seen so far, Hobo takes that to whole new level by allowing you to declare more than you program, thereby reducing the amount of repetetive work you would do from building one website to the next.
Anyway, Hobo is not at a 1.0 release yet, and its creators aren’t guaranteeing that things won’t change. So whether it’s a good idea to run out now and build your website with Hobo now is not certain, as upgrading might break your existing developments. Having said that, you could probably build a good site now and never upgrade, or recreate it quite easily (and migrate your DB if need be).