Interview with David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) @ RailsConf Chicago 2014

David Heinemeier Hansson discusses his keynote talk and shares some of his thoughts on how Rails is used within the tech industry.

Good insight into DHH’s thinking… he slams TDD and “dogma” as “not being realistic” and (indirectly) software development as engineering and seems focused on development as compositional writing, as an artisanal creative process. Certainly a viewpoint I can emphathise with… up to a point. Given that the most often-heard criticisms around Rails centre on scalability and sustainability, this explains a lot. He seems to have a fairly consistent issue with conflating a tool, especially the first selected tool, with the practice that tool is meant to support. Hence his hostility to TDD, Kent Beck- and Bob Martin-advocated ideas of “clean code” and “clean architecture”; slamming GPL as “I don’t want to use your code if you don’t want to give it to me”… fundamentally, and consistently, missing the point.

Slamming practices based on mediocre initial tools. I don’t think anyone who learned RSpec or MiniTest first would be happy moving to the original Test::Unit. Yes, bad tools often negate huge parts of the benefit of the practice they “support”. But saying “TDD makes software worse” is just asinine.

A revealing, and possibly deeply troubling, discussion. (On the other hand, he’s got conference keynotes and book deals I don’t, so “success”. I don’t want to come across as sour grapes, but the more I work with Rails, the more troubled about it, and the ecosystem/community built around it, I become.)

(Reblogged from my Google+ post.)

Jeff Dickey

Software and Web developer. Tamer of deadlines. Enchanter of stakeholders.