Looking forward to 2016

Dec 19, 2015 · 3 min read

2015 has been one the most fun years regarding my career by far. While continuing improving my Ruby and Rails skills I was already using Facebook's React to code small components for the projects I was working on. This gave me the ability to start creating more and more sophisticated and dynamic UI's. If your'e into React then you'll know that the next level is using a Flux implementation to manage the state through all of your components. My first choice was Marty.js and it changed for ever the way I used to code the views. Instead of creating plain haml views and adding some components to them, now I could move all that logic to a cjsx view component which made a lot of a more sense.

So without even noticing it I was starting to focus my development more and more into the front-end and it's separation from the back-end. The missing piece of the puzzle was react-router and with it I was able to create my first single-page applications, leaving my Rails back-ends as mere JSON API's. If I wanted to make them even more independent I had to stop Rails being in charge of managing and building my assets, so I started to use npm and webpack for this. Now I could install new libraries from the command line and require them where needed. Awesome.

Suddenly sad news came, and Marty's development was stopped. But every cloud has a silver lining, and while looking for an alternative I met Redux, which was even easier to use than Marty. Rails 5 was also announced, and ActionCable was it's most interesting feature to me. Finally websockets on Rails out of the box. But to make them work you need to have at least Redis and a multithreaded server like Puma, which are dependencies I might not need or want for certain projects and I felt a little upset about the path my favorite framework was following.

I have to admit that even though I was very excited about using the front-end stack I've been mastering all over the year, I was also starting to get bored and loosing interest on coding back-end stuff using Rails. And this is something I haven't felt for the last years. But one day Victor (thank you bro!), my teammate at Diacode, told me about the Elixir language and the Phoenix framework, and a new era has started for me.

Now I'm so excited about coding back-end stuff as I was back when I started with Ruby and Rails five years ago. Elixir is a functional programming language based on Erlang which has a all of it's benefits like immutability and concurrency with a friendly syntax very similar to Ruby's one. It's kind of difficult at the beginning to change your mindset from object oriented programming to functional programming, but once you start to get used to it you feel like it's even easier and that what happens in the code is also easier to understand.

Phoenix is it's most popular framework and it not only has the good parts and standards Rails brought to web development, but also some cool features like assets management and building via npm and brunch/webpack, and websockets out of the box done right (with no external dependencies or restrictions), you can start coding modern, realtime and functional applications in just a couple of minutes.

Right now I'm developing at Diacode our first Elixir and Phoenix single-page, realtime application using as front-end stack npm, webpack, React, Redux and ES6. If someone had told me this a year ago I wouldn't have believed it, and I feel like a kid on Christmas day.

This is why I love what I do. This is why I love my profession. This is why I'm looking forward to 2016 and I can't wait to see what it brings.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Coding Year!