Hampton Lintorn Catlin

Rhodes To Ruby

Just kind of wanted to give a quick update about the work I’ve been doing at Wikimedia (aka, Wikipedia). First of all, we have beta launched the open web interface for browsing Wikipedia on your WebKit (or similar) based mobile device. You can check out en.m.wikipedia.org to see what I’m talking about. Its currently beta and represents the bit of code called wikimedia-mobile.


I was working on the iPhone native app and about to deploy it in late January, when I got contacted by Rhodes Mobile who have a framework they have developed that allows you to program a local “web server” like thing on a mobile device. The deal is, once you build it, it can basically run on iPhone, Android (soon), Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. Yes, you heard me right. Write once (in Ruby!) and run on all major smartphones.

I knew I didn’t have the free time to go learn a new framework and write something that would be up-to-par, so they graciously offered to build a basic app for Wikimedia and then release the copyright to us. Things are going very well with the development, and in the next few weeks we should be rolling out an official Wikipedia iPhone app and soon after that start hitting other platforms.

Not only do I get to only manage two projects and hit all the phones I wanted, but I get to do it in the same language.

We aren’t 100% committed to it yet (have to see the final result), but things are looking extremely promising. The framework definitely is robust and interesting, but it does lack some of the sleekness and simplicity that I look for in Ruby projects. However, I can’t really complain. The framework does more than I could have ever asked for.

I highly recommend checking them out if you are looking to deploy a remote-synchronized-data app and would like to deploy on more than one mobile OS.


Mar 10, 2009
Chad said...
I was looking at the Rhodes framework info, and if it is true that we're looking at a unified Ruby framework for mobile phones (smart ones, at least), it might appear as though my work on a native Android client are for naught. Perhaps you and I should combine intellectual forces :)
Jun 16, 2009
Avi Bryant said...
Hey, that's the Dades Gorge. I have nearly the identical shot :)