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  1. #1
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    Is Rails the right solution for me?

    Hello all, I am trying to lay the foundation for a website that I am planning and I would really appreciate some feedback as to whether RoR is right for me and my needs.

    I am creating a site that will allow users to "swap" physical items. They would need to sign up for an account, be able to manage and edit their account, and fund their account with "credits" through PayPal.

    Next, they would be able to search the available items by criteria, and when they find an item they want, they can claim the item. This will then remove it from public view, place the item into a "pending" dock within the user's account, dock their initial "credit" from their account, and notify the owner that the item has been claimed and is ready to ship. This is the idea in a quick nutshell.

    I basically need really similar functionality to eBay (although not nearly on that type of scale), without the auction portion of the site? Does that make sense?

    Would RoR be an ideal solution for this type of project? I have strongly considered building this in PHP, but I want to learn Rails and thought this project would be a good fit. Either way, it will mean learning a new language, and RoR seems very interesting to me. I just want some direction here before I actually dive in to building the project. If RoR is not the right solution, what should I look at?

    I am an experienced XHTML/CSS coder, as well as a long-time user of Textpattern, so I am some what experienced with PHP. I am thinking that PHP might actually be better for this project, but RoR seems like a great choice as well.

    I appreciate any and all feedback, advice, and comments!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast crag's Avatar
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    Anything PHP can do Ruby can do better. Ok maybe not better but easier. With Rails, much less coding. So to answer, YES. The Paypal connection you'll probably have to write yourself (though there might be ruby code written for that someplace). I'm not familiar with Paypal at all so have no idea what's involved there.

    Ruby is a lang. Rails is a framework (sort of like Zope). Makes putting a site online MUCH easier and faster. Example: database fuctions/connections/queries isn't a problem in Rails. It's all done for you. Just supply the connection info (use id, password, domain/dns/path, etc) and it goes.

    You can check out the rails site at http://www.rubyonrails.org/ - including some showpiece websites that already use it.

  3. #3
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    Here are my plans for handling the PayPal/payment processing part of the project with Rails....

    http://www.activemerchant.org/
    http://www.pragmaticprogrammer.com/t...pal/index.html

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast crag's Avatar
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    Hey thanks man for those links. Now I know where to go. So I assume this means you are using Ruby? If so, good. The more people that use Ruby the better the world will be.

  5. #5
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    I am still undecided on whether to use Ruby or not, mainly because I am still looking into (i.e. features, etc.). I do think that it may be the way to go in the end though.

    I am just trying to make sure that I don't get 40-50% of the way through the project and then realize, it doesn't do this, or that is going to be a major pain to build, or "XXXXXX" language would have made this much easier to build.

  6. #6
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    I could see doing what your suggesting with Ruby. It's close to what I'm 90 percent done with (pretty much done the coding, it's just design now).

    So you could do what you want. Some great email 'ease' with rails that your going to like when you start sending out those notifications.

    You can use the notifiy_url option with your paypal buttons to only track and credit the appropriate amounts I'm sure.

  7. #7
    Resident Java Hater
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    Like I've said before, avoid PHP, is total garbage for anything other than doing trivial stuff like including headers and footers. If Ruby/Rails isn't fast enough, look at Django/Python.

    As someone who was a reasonably experieneced PHP programmer, I found movong away from PHP easy and pleasant and have NO regrets about dropping the language. Not to mention, when you find bugs in PHP (which I have filled as a few, because they aren't hard to find), then you'll find that sometimes the PHP development team can be a real pain to deal with as they never can make their mind up if something is a bug or a feature ... or maybe a a bit of both. (Once they do make their mind up, they spend even longer debating if they should document it as a feature or fix the bug on some occasions).

    Like someone pointed out, the possible issues you might have are with Payment Gateways. They can be a pain, though most shouldn't be too bad, just so long as you don't go anywhere near HSBC.
    http://virtualfunction.net - Rails Web Development
    http://squaremove.co.uk - Rails powered Property Listings

  8. #8
    Resident Java Hater
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    On the ote of learning a new language. Don't be scared. I picked up most of my Ruby is a few weeks and could write half decent production with little effort. It's not that much of a set back if any. Not to mention learning new languages is good for you as a programmer, even if you aren't going to use the language for a production project.
    http://virtualfunction.net - Rails Web Development
    http://squaremove.co.uk - Rails powered Property Listings


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