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This presentation is a case study in introducing Ruby on Rails into a highly available NASA Earth Science Data Search and Order system. The NASA ECHO system is a publicly accessible system that catalogs roughly 100M pieces of Earth Science metadata. Our metadata database is a three node Oracle RAC cluster of roughly 1TB in size representing several PBs of raw science data. The majority of the system system was implemented in Java with one significant exception: the web client used by 98% of our users was written in Perl. After over a decade of maintenance the Perl based application had reached the end of its serviceable life and we had the opportunity to build a new client application.
The ECHO team conducted a survey of modern development technologies including Flex, Python/Django, JSF2/Spring and Ruby on Rails. We chose to implement the new client using Ruby on Rails with JRuby which led directly to reimplementing multiple core pieces of the system beyond the client application.
The impacts on the ECHO team, including our stakeholders, were immediate and sometimes subtle. The technology selection caused shifts in our architecture and design, development and deployment procedures, requirement definition approach, testing approach, and, somewhat surprisingly, our project team structure and software processes.
This presentation discusses our experiences, including technical, process, and psychological, using RoR on a production system. During this session we discuss:
This presentation targets experienced developers and project managers who are interested in how Ruby on Rails can have cascading effects beyond just the development team. In addition, our experiences can provide Rails shops and consultants some insight as to how to successfully move client projects to Rails.
Dan Pilone is the founder and Managing Partner of Element 84, a consulting and custom software development company located in Northern Virginia. He has designed and implemented systems for NASA, Hughes, ARINC, UPS, and the Naval Research Laboratory. He has taught project management, software design, and software engineering at The Catholic University in Washington D.C. Dan has written several books on software development, including Head First iPhone Development, Head First Software Development, UML 2.0 in a Nutshell and UML 2.0 Pocket Reference.
Jason Gilman is a software engineer with 10 years of experience developing C++, Java, and Ruby on Rails applications. Jason has been published on the DevX website. Jason has developed several high performance query and processing implementations for Earth Science data.