Remember in Back to the Future when Marty was playing Johnny B. Goode and got a little carried away and started really rockin' out? That's how I feel when I'm front-end programming with Opal. I may be getting lots of sideways glances from my peers, but your kids are gonna love it!
Not only that, but it integrates right into the Sprockets pipeline for use in Rails and other projects, and it includes a handy-dandy wrapper around jQuery so that it's easy to do all the fun DOM manipulation, event handling, and 3rd-party plugin setup we all know well.
But what about the children?
Those crazy kids listening to the devil's music!
One other issue which is simple enough to fix with better education & documentation is the perception that Opal is an all-or-nothing proposition. That either you write your front-end in JS or in Opal.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I have yet to develop a project fully in Opal—to the contrary, in both major projects where I've used it thus far, it has had to exist in a world with plenty of existing JS code and even interop with it. That's not a bad thing. (Just keep on eye on your compiled asset bandwidth needs!)
This is really just the beginning
Opal's momentum as an ecosystem definitely seems to be taking off, with new libraries and frameworks coming out at regular intervals. The Opal project itself is processing through PRs on GitHub on a frequent basis and the chat room on Gitter is quite busy. In fact, my inability to quite keep up with all the updates and new stuff coming out was the impetus for starting the Opalist newsletter.
Starting with a bi-weekly cadence, Opalist will feature the latest news, tutorials, gem updates, front-end innovations, and more in a simple email newsletter. Like many of the other great link list newsletters out there, I hope it will be a great way to stay fresh on the Opal ecosystem and learn more about Ruby's "latest frontier" aka the world of the web browser (and beyond!).
I hope you bookmark Opalist, subscribe to the newsletter, and enjoy receiving the publication as it comes out. Please let me know in the comments section if you have any thoughts or suggestions. I'd love to hear from you!
Many thanks to the Opal team for creating one of my favorite open-source projects of all time. I can hardly wait to see what comes next!