Anyone Interested in ActiveRecord Hackery?


I’ve been maintaining a bunch of gems that integrate deeply with ActiveRecord for going on 5 years now. I’m really proud of some of the things I’ve built, and glad that some of them have even made their way into Rails core, in a manner of speaking.

That being said, chasing a moving target is tough, and apart from Ransack, which the good folks at Spree Commerce use, and have taken up maintaining through the heroic efforts of Ryan Bigg, there’s been very little in the way of help from the large community of users. All of that has conspired to result in a very exhausted me. I feel a fairly huge sense of responsibility to maintain some of these gems, even though in many cases I don’t use them myself anymore, and I haven’t been doing a great job of it, lately. When I find myself with some spare time to hack, and instead of working on things I’m interested in, I’m fighting a losing battle against ActiveRecord, and resenting the time spent, it’s time to optimize for happiness.

So, what happens next?

I’ve moved Squeel, Ransack, Polyamorous, MetaWhere and MetaSearch to a new org I created on GitHub, activerecord-hackery. It will be devoted to what it sounds like: gems that do ActiveRecord hackery. I’ve done this so that hopefully I can gather up some intrepid folks who understand the “mission statement” of these gems can step in and take over day-to-day maintenance of them. MetaSearch and MetaWhere have long-since been replaced by Ransack and Squeel, so I’m especially looking for someone to take on primary maintenance of Squeel. Preferably someone who works at a company who has a vested interest in seeing it maintained, as with Ransack. Reach out to me on Twitter if you believe you are that person.

So you’re retiring from open source, or something?

No, I’m not retiring. There are some things I’ve been wanting to experiment with on the coding front, but the sense of that any spare time to hack should be spent on these previous creations instead has stood in the way of exploring the other things I would like to build. At 36 years old, with a number of family and volunteer commitments, I just don’t have the amount of time I’d like to play around with everything that interests me these days. This is just my attempt at clearing my plate a bit so that hopefully one or more of these other ideas has a chance at actually getting built.

How do I get started?

The simplest thing would be to visit the issue tracker of one of the projects in the “ActiveRecord Hackery” organization, and see if any of them seem like something you can fix. I’m happy to give whatever guidance I can, so hopefully you won’t feel like you’re getting dumped into the deep end.


First, thanks for reading, and especially thanks if you are considering pitching in right now. Second, I appreciate each and every user of these gems, and I hope that this post hasn’t left you feeling betrayed in any way. It’s my sincere desire that anyone whose life as a developer has been made easier due to these gems is able to continue using them for as long as that remains the case.

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