The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes. -Goethe

It's been about 6 or 7 months since I've done any Rails work.

I'm in a post-Rails world.

After working in Rails for 3 years, I was burnt out. I took some time off to try to learn the finer points of marketing and running a business, and then attempted to start a new business just before the market cratered. Not a great idea.

Now I'm back writing code all day and it's great. My days now consist of coming up with test cases to solve problems and then solving them.

Something is different though.

I used to write a ton of test cases in the context of my Rails apps.

Now I write high level test cases and then write code and pick and choose technologies to solve them.

I feel like this is a natural progression for those of us that practice TDD.

Take one more step back, use something at an even higher level to write tests (I'm using some Cucumber and some rSpec), and then implement a bunch of little apps to make what you want to happen, happen.

It keeps things simple, and keeps the problem from growing too large.

In my current project I've got a cluster of Nanite agents up and running with a couple of Merb apps talking to them on the front end. It's something that I never could have done if I was trapped inside of the Rails box.

Hell, it's probably something that I never even would have thought of.

I think that the Ruby world is eventually going to end up in a model like this, writing small simple apps that all talk to each other, and can be replaced or upgraded at any time.

By writing a lot of tiny apps, I've been able to solve problems now in days that used to take weeks or months.

Plus I'm not getting locked in to anything. If I want to replace my Merb app with a Sinatra app next month, it's not a huge project. If I want to swap in some code running on the Maglev Alpha that I'm playing with or deploy some components written in Clojure, I can do that too, without being intimately tied to anything.

All of my hard/long running logic is well tested, encapsulated, and most likely running in little agents on the wire.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you've been writing Rails code for a long time, perhaps now is a good time to step outside of the rules that Rails imposes upon you and look at things from a different angle.

You might find it refreshing and helpful.

I certainly did.