David Heinemeier Hansson, a 26-year-old Copenhagen native, has built a “framework” to help Web developers be more productive and has released the package of tools through an open-source project.
His software, Ruby on Rails, only out for a little more than a year, has started a buzz among the legions of developers and high-level executives that track the trend-driven world of software development.
Hansson’s quest to build a practical and productive Web development framework demonstrates how a single person can shake up the status quo, even in a development world where a few companies dominate.
The trick, said Hansson, is to “slaughter the holy cows,” the well-understood ideas of computer science that dictate how programmers work. In many cases, software vendors design products for difficult problems, an approach that leads to excess complexity, he said.
His goal with Ruby on Rails is not to create a sophisticated development framework that the engineers at Google or Amazon.com will flock to. Instead, he has focused on creating templates and designs that tackle the unglamorous problems, such as making database modifications, that the great majority of Web developers face every day.