Forum OpenACS Q&A: Interview with Jason Fried - president of 37signals (creators of Basecamp and Ruby on Rails)

Ruby on Rails is the open source web application framework we extracted from Basecamp. When we built Basecamp we didn't know we were building Rails at the same time, but that's exactly how it happened. Basecamp came first; Rails was born from Basecamp. Basecamp was the divine chicken, Rails was the egg.

I had some natural hesitation about using Ruby at first ("What the #@!* is Ruby?" "Why don't we just use PHP--it served us well before?"), but David Heinemeier Hansson, the first engineer on the Basecamp project, cogently made the case and I bought it. I'm thrilled with the results.

The way I look at it is this: I want developers to be comfortable with their development environment. I'm a designer and a business guy, not a developer. I'm not going to push PHP or Java or whatever just because I've heard of it. I'm going to defer to David on this. And if David chooses Ruby, then Ruby it is. It's all a matter of trust. If you don't trust your developer to choose the right environment, then how can you trust him to build the best application? Trust is critical here. And, further, why would you dare impact your developer's morale by throwing him or her into a language where he can't be as productive or as satisfied? You only get good work from people who enjoy doing the work. I'll take a happy average programmer over a disgruntled, frustrated master programmer any day.