Moving on from Rails and what’s next
It’s been more than 6 years since my first commit to Ruby on Rails. I had just gotten my first full time Ruby position, was excited to move away from PHP, and wanted to give back. Since then I made 1452 commits to the project. Today, I am finally ready to move on from Rails.
In 2014 I started working on the Active Record Attributes API. We got to a working implementation fairly quickly, but it took many more months and thousands of lines of code to get to an implementation that I was comfortable shipping. By the time Rails 4.2 came out, I had ended up rewriting a significant portion of the library, which meant I was spending more and more of my time maintaining that code and fixing other issues.
Around the time that 4.2 was entering beta, I decided it was time to try and take this commitment full time. I spent the next 4 years devoting as much of my professional time as possible to the success of Rails, supported by wonderful companies like thoughtbot and Shopify.
A lot has happened during that time. I created Diesel, an ORM for Rust. In April of last year, I began managing the operations of crates.io, which eventually led to the creation of the crates.io team which I co-lead. I also started to find myself less able to effectively contribute to Rails. It became clear that I have a different vision for the future, and that I would never make it onto the core team.
In October I left Shopify, and stopped working on Rails. Stepping away from Rails was a difficult decision for me. For a long time, “Rails committer” was a big part of my personal identity. Most of my close friends came from the Ruby community. I stared at this confirmation for a lot longer than I should have.
The plan was originally that I’d spend a few months focusing on crates.io full time to work through our backlog before finding a new job and cutting my open source work back. It became clear that a few months wasn’t going to cut it, and I’m in a position where I can meaningfully contribute to the Rust organization. So my job search ended, and I decided to figure out a way to focus on Rust full time.
The problem is that working on MIT/Apache licensed software doesn’t exactly help pay the bills. That’s why I’m asking for your help. I’ve spent the last 5 years having a single company sponsor my open source work. This time I’m going to try something different. Right now my goal is to get a handful of medium sized grants from larger companies to support my work on crates.io. If you work for a company that might be interested in helping sponsor me, please reach out.
If you’re interested in contributing in a smaller fashion, I’ve also started a patreon, which you can find here. My goal is to devote 100% of my time to Rust, but I’m available for part time contract work in order to make ends meet as needed.
This is an exciting new chapter in my life, and I’m excited to see how it works out. Thank you to everyone who is helping support me in this goal.