The new Ruby Toolbox is ready!

7 Oct 2011

After a (too) long private beta period, the new, completely rewritten Ruby Toolbox is finally ready!

There's a huge amount of great new features to be explored and explaining all of them would probably bore you to death, so here's just a quick and surely incomplete list of what you might want to look for while browsing the new site:

  • New relative scoring system that treats Rubygem downloads equal to Github popularity. Click on a project's score to find out how it's calculated.
  • Projects do not have to be hosted on Github any more - any Rubygem is just as good.
  • Much more detail provided for all projects, including gem releases, first and last commit dates and much more
  • All Rubygems included, with urls equal to those at rubygems.org - for example /gems/simplecov-html
  • Finally, a search! You can search for Projects and Rubygems easily. OpenSearch integration is provided too, so you should be able to add it to your browser's search engines with one click.
  • Categories are now assorted in groups so browsing the site gets easier
  • Better project and category popularity graphs. Project graphs show the popularity score over the last 12 months so you can see how popularity has changed over time.
  • Easy sign-in using your Github account via OAuth
  • Anyone can post Resources like Blog Posts, Screencasts or Presentations on projects either via our form or the bookmarklet. Find them on the (new...) individual pages of each project or on the Resources list and it's corresponding RSS feed. You can vote resources up, which will eventually be incorporated into the ordering of resources.
  • A project suggestion form so it is easier for y'all to get your projects listed.
  • Like projects. Right now this only lists them on your account profile page, but you can expect customized feeds and much more from this soon - For now pile up what you like so you're ready to go once the new stuff arrives.

Since starting to build the new site, project additions to the old one were very rare, so apart from all the new functionality, you will also find a lot of projects and categories that have been missing from the old one. Just to give you some rough directions, the old site had 778 projects in 112 categories, while currently the new site has over 1000 projects in 142 categories.

One major painpoint that I did not manage to fix yet is the overall too big appearance of the site. Please use your browser to zoom out one or two steps. From the usage data of the previous site I figured I could go for a 1200px width layout with the new one, but actually ended up building a too-large 960px thing out of that nasty 960px habit. I'm well aware of the issue, but resizing all the paddings, margins and font sizes across the site is quite a hassle at this point. It will be fixed though, it's just not something I want to postpone the release any further for. Thanks :)

The site is now completely using SSL. It's possible that the DNS records have not updated all over the world yet, so if you bump into trouble, please try again a little later. Also, on Android the GeoTrust SSL certificate used will throw an error. This is pretty stupid, but after ignoring the warning you should be fine. I'll look into how to avoid this from popping up.

Finally a note for everyone who sent me a mail suggesting a new project over the last couple of months and did not get a reply: Sorry! I usually try to reply to every single mail as soon as possible, but I eventually grew a bit tired of disappointing people telling that ActiveAdmin is present on the new site and the old one is not being updated. If your project is not listed on the new site or something else is wrong, please send me your mail again or try the new project suggestion form right away!

I hope building this thing was worthwile and the new site proves useful to you. Now please go ahead and fill it with life!

Comments

Josh wrote 2011-10-07 23:34:06 UTC:

Hi, Christoph. The new Ruby Toolbox looks great! I really appreciate the effort you put into this. I look forward reviewing my bookmarks for useful tools that are missing.

Speaking of which, the suggestion form URL displays a 403 error when the user is not signed in. I'll submit this issue to the support site.

Thanks again for your work.

Michael Hutchinson wrote 2011-10-08 00:26:18 UTC:

Congratulations! I also appreciate all of your hard work, and think it provides a valuable resource to the community.

Thanks!

Jacob Gillespie wrote 2011-10-08 00:28:07 UTC:

LOVE IT!!! Thank you for the awesome improvements - this website is my go-to tool for finding the best gem for task X and it's great that it has been greatly improved. Love the new design too!

Thanks again and keep up the good work!

Ryan McKern wrote 2011-10-08 06:43:09 UTC:

Any chance that some whitespace could be added to the CSS properties for the 'container' class? If your browser window is smaller than ~1200px, all of the content beneath your container div is smashed up against the left edge of the browser window. Other than that, hey, awesome & thanks!

Aditya Ramachandran wrote 2011-10-10 06:22:29 UTC:

Just a suggestion/request, would it be possible to have categories with a description with collapsible gem listing below? I really liked the two column listing you had previously.

Sergio Rubio wrote 2011-10-10 12:52:26 UTC:

Beautiful, thanks!

I need the horizontal scroll in my 1024x768 laptop though...

Mark Wilden wrote 2011-10-10 18:14:38 UTC:

The site looks excellent. Just one comment: the script typeface is too hard to read. That's fine for the site title, because we don't need to read that. But when scanning a list of gems, the script typeface gets in the way. For example, I thought my gem - lll - was not here because the title appeared like a lowercase w. Any time the user skims to find something, a highly-readable sans-serif font should be used.

Michael Bodnarchuk wrote 2011-10-10 20:51:21 UTC:

Great update!

But default font shouldn't be such extraordinary as it is now. Really hard to get along with it on large pages. Also with fast switching between pages you can see how the font draws and that's annoying.

Can you use standard sans-serif fonts for 90% information on site?

Martijn Heemels wrote 2011-10-10 21:15:40 UTC:

Looks great. Excellent work!

Joel "The Merciless" Meador wrote 2011-10-11 04:30:23 UTC:

Congrats on the relaunch, Cristoph! It looks and feels excellent!

Sebastian Georgi wrote 2011-10-11 09:10:14 UTC:

Could not have been done more thoroughly or better. Contratulations to the best coworker there is!

Ravil Bayramgalin wrote 2011-10-11 10:43:41 UTC:

Very good work, I hope it will become the ultimate resource to search opensource ruby projects.

Patrick Helm wrote 2011-10-12 20:39:06 UTC:

+1 Thank you Sir for this great website.

Dom wrote 2011-10-14 00:13:01 UTC:

What a great job! Well done.

Thomas Kienlen wrote 2011-10-14 07:32:24 UTC:

Thank you very much for this website !!! That's really handy, and well done ... congratulation !

Paolo Montrasio wrote 2011-10-14 09:51:26 UTC:

Not sure I like it because it's harder to see what's popular, but please make the layout liquid. This is how I hacked it up with a user style in Firefox (need the Stylish add-on): https://gist.github.com/1286705

It's not perfect (the ellipsis thing still doesn't work on FF, some % widths don't fit well together) but it's a 5 minutes work and at least I can look at this site without having to go fullscreen.

Anyway, The Ruby Toolbox is a great site and an invaluable tool. I heartly recommend it to any Ruby developer.

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