Merb *is* Rails

Posted by ezmobius Tue, 23 Dec 2008 18:21:00 GMT

Wow this has been a hectic, emotional week. The Rails and Merb core teams have been silently working together towards this monumental announcement. The announcement is that Merb is Rails and Rails is Merb.

Merb and Rails are joining forces and merging the two code bases for Rails-3.0. We’re targeting RailsConf for the first cut of this magic.

When I first started merb way back in the day it was just a fun little project to hack on. But it became more serious as I explored the options. I always considered merb-core a clean room rewrite of ActionPack and I think this tended to upset some people who were very attached to rails.

Fast forward to current day and Merb-1.0 has been out for a while and there is a whole brouhaha of Rails VS Merb memes on the twitters and blogs. This has to stop as it is tearing apart the community and is very non productive.

So our two teams started talking to see if we could put our differences aside and come together for the common good. We’ve laid out a roadmap of what and how to integrate merb’s best features into rails-3.0. I think we have a great plan that will make Rails the best framework in existence. It will be a blend of the best things we have discovered while working on merb, while keeping the Rails aesthetic people have grown to love.

You can expect to get a kick ass, fast, memory efficient version of rails(merb) this spring!

Merb folks will not be left out in the cold. We will continue to support bug and security fixes for the merb 1.0.x line. And we will provide a clear upgrade path to Rails 3.0 for merb apps. We still have quite a few merb apps running internally at ey and will want an upgrade path for our own apps as well.

This is going to be a lot of work for everyone involved but in the end I think this may just be the most inspiring open source story in history.

I’m so impressed with everyone involved. All the core team members from both sides have been able to put away the weapons and egos and really come together, committed to making this transition work seamlessly.

2009 is going to be a seriously strong year for the ruby community. With everyone working together, we have such a kick ass team of smart people that this whole framework thing is going to be a solved issue.

Merb is dead, long live Merb(Rails-3.0)!

Tags , ,  | 65 comments


  1. luke said about 2 hours later:
    Brain explodes!
  2. Craig Jolicoeur said about 2 hours later:
    Huge news and good news for both groups!
  3. Chris said about 2 hours later:
    This is very exciting.
  4. Douglas F Shearer said about 2 hours later:
    Awesome news, it'll be great to see my favourite Merb features in the more widely-adopted Rails. *starts watching rails edge like a hawk*
  5. Damien Tanner said about 2 hours later:
  6. anjan bacchu said about 3 hours later:
    wow! this is very surprising. This flexibility and pragmatic workflow is probably the reason why Rails is what it is today and where it will be tomorrow!
  7. Bruno Miranda said about 3 hours later:
    This is awesome news. Congrats. Best of both worlds.
  8. said about 3 hours later:
    It's wonderfull!
  9. Justin said about 3 hours later:
    Great news. Congrats!
  10. Carlo Pecchia said about 3 hours later:
    Wow...! Definitely the best news of the year 2008... I'm really impressed about the brave choices made by both core teams: good luck guys!
  11. Ismael said about 3 hours later:
    What the...!! This is HUGE!!
  12. Zack Ham said about 3 hours later:
    This is a great early Christmas present to many including myself! Can't wait to have merb-action-args in Rails, a better router, less monkey patching, more ORM agnosticism, etc! I think this is a great opportunity for everyone with a vested interest in either camp to speak up and come together.
  13. Piyush said about 3 hours later:
    You rock! Merb rocks and Rails 3 will rock for sure!
  14. Zack said about 3 hours later:
    Mind blown. In the long run this will benefit everyone (current Merbists and Railers alike)... kudos to the huge decision Ezra and Merb core made on this one for the good of the community. Huge props guys!!!
  15. John said about 3 hours later:
    Wowzers!!! This is great news, but I'm scared the competition between the 2 frameworks has now diminished. Competition, or whatever you want to call it, is what was driving these frameworks. Having 2 choices is/was great! Sinatra, Camping, Ramaze, and other small frameworks offer choices. Are we going to be "stuck" with one choice now? I really hope not. Merb is great for certain things, and Rails is also great for other things. Competition is what drives the market. Without competition the "user" is cornered.
  16. Mehdi said about 4 hours later:
    Congratulations to the ruby community !! it's really awesome ... Rails3(Merb 2) will rock ;-) Peace and love for all
  17. Andreas Fuchs said about 4 hours later:
    Nice move. I wish you all the best in putting out rails3, and hope you can avoid the dreaded second system effect.
  18. Mikhailov Anatoly said about 4 hours later:
    It's wonderful
  19. Maxime Guilbot said about 4 hours later:
    Oh my god, ok, it's not April Fool, I am trying to believe it, that's crazy. That really shows that Merb won! Bravo!
  20. TJ said about 4 hours later:
    Nooooes! How can we continue our anti-rails brigade now?
  21. Robert Matei said about 4 hours later:
    This makes me happy.
  22. Tomás Pollak said about 5 hours later:
    TJ: You can always switch to Django... :) Congrats to the Merb and Rails team!
  23. Ponzi said about 5 hours later:
    Where's the money? I mean, come on man. There is no philosophical blending here. DHH won't put his middle finger down long enough to take input from us unclean heathens. So where's the money? Who's getting paid what? Bye bye open and democratic Merb community, kneel to the new Stalinist Rails Regime!
  24. YLB said about 6 hours later:
    Never boring.
  25. Nicholas Orr said about 6 hours later:
    As a newbie to the Merb way. This is cool. I dabbled in Rails (around the 2.0 rls) briefly and liked it then read about merb (0.3) and thought that was a nicer way to go. Finally after merb 1.0 was released I really got stuck into it. The main draw card to merb for me is DataMapper and being able to use whatever JS Framework I want. Even though I've been using Prototype heavily in other places, its been great learning about other frameworks. Looking forward to Merb(Rails 3.0) ;)
  26. Scott Ballantyne said about 6 hours later:
    Wow. This is a lot to take in. We've been using Merb for a while. while I'm happy that we'll be able to make our rails apps faster, I'm bummed about the fact that merb is going away. Here is hoping for the best.
  27. Jay Phillips said about 6 hours later:
    TOTALLY awesome, guys! Major congrats!
  28. UiPoet said about 8 hours later:
  29. Marcio said about 9 hours later:
    Oh crap! This is really bad news
  30. raggi said about 10 hours later:
    and i was starting to fear a real fracture, well done everyone for the fortitude to make the decision
  31. jesse said about 10 hours later:
    Have to say this isn't striking me as good news. Merb has a great minimalist design. How much carving up of rails will have to be done to have something that is still as good as merb? Will Rails 3 support slices? Are they going to eradicate alias_method_chain in the rails code base? Will the Rails 3 router rock as much as merb's? Will active_support become modular? WTF?

    "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." -- Antoine d Saint Exupery

    There's a lot from rails that needs to be taken away...
  32. zp said about 10 hours later:
    Congrats on the merge!
  33. rasputnik said about 15 hours later:

    I can see how this is great news for Rails, but wondered what you thought the main gain for Merb will be.

    Yehuda mentioned i18n and timezone support, but I can't see how that outweighs the extra work in maintaining what all the Rails legacy code. That's one hell of a refactor, even without the cultural issues (as @Jesse says there are bound to be some long-term Railsers who don't see what's so bad about the way they've always done things).

    The stable API was always a big draw about Merb, because it gave a promise that your investment in time was worthwhile. I'm hoping that still holds, but even then, Merb training, docs, videos, books etc. are bound to be mostly obsolete now.

    You and Yehuda know your stuff, and my instinct is to trust your judgement. It's just I don't see what was so bad about 2 Ruby web frameworks :(
  34. Ryan Allen said about 17 hours later:
    Do you get a co-trademark on Rails? What's your benefit in all of this?
  35. Ben Graver said about 22 hours later:
    Merb is dead, long live Rails!
  36. Sad said about 22 hours later:
    I think everyone working on Merb has done a fantastic job. I dabbled with Rails but it just didn't feel right--Merb does. I know I'll probably get roasted for this but any chance of someone forking Merb and keeping it going as Merb?
  37. Mehdi said about 23 hours later:
    Sad: I don't think (as for now) that their is any good reason to fork Merb ... especially if all what we love Merb for, will be in Rails 3.0(Merb2.0) ;-) My only one hope is to see the two teams work toward the same direction without big clashes/conflicts due to not only technical reasons but also for philosophical ones .... This will make the ruby (web) FAMILY (re)union :-) ... long live Rails 3.0(Merb2.0)
  38. Diego said 1 day later:
    What you guys should do is merge Rails stuff into Merb. Merb has a better core than rails, so why not merge rails stuff into merb-core?
  39. Mike Costa said 1 day later:
  40. Guy said 1 day later:
    Divorce! Maybe in 2011?
  41. sad2 said 1 day later:
    Hey Sad ... it'll probably just be a joke, but Im all for being a laughing stock for a good cause. I'm terrified of the rails team for the way they evangelize themselves... Just look at And of coure remember, rails is open source, but DDH owns it. Quote: I only grant promotional use [of the Rails logo] for products I'm directly involved with. Such as books that I've been part of the development process for or conferences where I have a say in the execution. I would most definitely seek to enforce all the trademarks of Rails. Iceweasel anyone?
  42. Iheartdiego said 1 day later:
    You are spot on, but no one in a suit and tie that calls shots knows what merb is. Rails has a name you can sell, and selling is what matters.
  43. UiPoet said 1 day later:
    Personally, I feel that I wasted much effort and resources developing merb-slices and convincing others to do the same. I, for one, love developing with Merb. Can't say the same for Rails. From the terribly out of date "documentation" scattered across various blogs to my apps breaking with each new release, my experience learning Rails left me wanting for something better. I found exactly what I was looking for in Merb and began learning to code Ruby the right way by example. I still believe that monoculture is bad and that everyone wins when there is competition. Hanging the Merb flag on the Rails ship flies in the face of this basic principal. My suspicion turns to the fact that almost every Merb core team member is owned by Engine Yard. Something doesn't smell right. It's too bad that we'll never know what developing with Merb 2.0 would be like. Merb 1.0 is solid and had a promising future.
  44. elhumano said 1 day later:
    Rails 3 + Ruby 1.9.1 = Wow
  45. jesse said 1 day later:
    I think merb was gaining mind share rapidly, and for good reason. I've been evangelizing for merb at my company for the last month, and it was really beginning to take hold. Now what? Wait until Rails 3 comes out before making a significant development investment in merb/whatever?

    I have to say that the way this was announced and planned for turned out to be a big tragedy for merb users. Announcing straight out that you're torpedoing your newly 1.0 project (with a stable api! haha) in the next six months? No, that won't alienate your growing community! jeez...

    If your going to do something like this in open source, at least do it with a clue of the way open source works. Do it by incrementally helping the rails team to improve rails, and for God's sake, don't announce the death of your own project! Merb has so much promise, which is entirely due to the core team's sensibility and taste for what a good web framework should be like. And it was *in contrast* to rails. Now we're supposed to believe that the rails culture will automatically be transformed and DHH et al will show the kind of judgment that flies in the face of much of what rails has stood for? I don't think we should forget that rails is DHH's ball, so to speak, and he's liable to take it home with him whenever he wants. Therefore I think it's crazy for merb to ditch it's own. Crazy.
  46. Leon Bogaert said 1 day later:
    I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing at the end. But at the moment I think it's great news. I really look forward to Merb 2.0 / Rails 3.0. It really came as lignthing from a clear sky. I checked twice to see if it's some kind of prangster-day. The people who know most about the two frameworks made this decision. And I'm confident they thought it through `till it hurted and made a right decision in the end.
  47. Web Laureate said 1 day later:
    awesome news. thanks for the early x-mas present. and mine to you is - let me know what you think
  48. james2m said 1 day later:
    Interesting to see the comments. I'm impressed by the timeline. Feels ambitious like the apple -> intel switch was and they came in ahead of schedule. I don't think competition is reduced through this look over the road to django for that (can't bring myself to include php or java frameworks in that statement). One of the greatest strengths of rails has always been DHH's capacity for learning and applying good practices in a pragmatic way. Having watched his behaviour on the Rest mailing list I'd say the strong opinions that so many hold as a weakness are built up by sound investigation by an open mind. With that open mind and the smart, pragmatic solutions the Merb team bring this should be a great combination to take web frameworks to the next level. I think many of us have short memories that have dismissed what rails did. Rails set the standard for frameworks and the world and it's mother jumped on the waggon to make their copy of rails for their language. Without rails merb wouldnt have had an older brother to both look up to and learn from the mistakes of. If you set a benchmark in the way rails has you are going to be measured and beaten on many measures. Luckily the rails core team have shown the humility to recognize where rails is bettered by merb and the merb team have been generous enough to bring those strengths to bear for the greater good. This will raise the bar further and keep ruby as the benchmark language for cutting edge web frameworks.
  49. pen15 said 1 day later:
    I always feel guilty returning Xmas presents, but you can have this merger back.
  50. satelliteko said 1 day later:
    Thats such a great Xmas gift to the Ruby Community. We will have clean rails core that is really fast! Thanks Ezra! satelliteko
  51. ruby::na::rails said 1 day later:
    I almost cried. Merb and Rails commiters must be Enlightened beings, not programmers! :)
  52. The Pageman said 1 day later:
    Congratulations! what a great CHRISTmas gift to both the Rails and Merb community!
  53. rywalker said 1 day later:
    Great news! Rspec & Test::Unit to merge next ;)
  54. Randy said 2 days later:
    So, meanwhile, which framework should I use, Rails 2.x or Merb 1.x?
  55. adam said 3 days later:
    Great news. Santa has been very kind this year. Randy - use the one you're currently using. With this merger, I'm sure you'll be well looked after.
  56. strange said 3 days later:
    Wow, is the new logo come? Is it possible?
  57. codaniel said 3 days later:
    I like what this guy said: gem install rack gem install merb gem install rails Also, before you do this please get DHH to drop all of this RAILS TM crap. Its really hard to see it as open and free when someone owns it.
  58. Ariel Monaco said 6 days later:
    :( I'm not sure about this. What happened to the "hacker's framework"?
  59. ojak said 6 days later:
    So what are developers to do in the interim? Develop on Rails? Develop on Merb? I've read in many places that there is "a clear path" for the Rails 3/Merb 2, yet I still haven't seen a single timeline and/or planned transition document that lays out what you can or can't expect and best practices... you'd think that some sort of master plan document would have been discussed and released with this sort of announcement (or am I missing something)?
  60. Pete said 8 days later:
    Im really not sure how i feel about this. I was really on board with merb and totally bought into the benefits of it. It feels like a lot of people have back tracked over their ideals/beliefs (competition is good; both benefit from each other blah blah blah) on both sides of the camp. Also, EY decrease investment into rubinius and now with this rails/merb merge the development goes to the rails team. Not sure if its fair to read anything into this or not?
  61. sarah said 9 days later:
    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. Sarah
  62. Fidel Guajardo said 99 days later:
    @Peter >>competition is good I agree competition is good, but the way I see it, the real competition is with other non-Rails frameworks, such as all those Java-based frameworks. Unless Rails becomes faster, many developers will not even consider using it. Merb provides this missing element to Rails.
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