Andrew Libby on 25 Mar 2015 08:23:44 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Ruby / Rails Backwards Compatibility

Hi Rich,

I've done a ton of these over the years.  While I'm not
super up on rails 4.x, we've done a number of 1.x -> 3.x
upgrades.  The rails-upgrade gem has been instrumental.

Aside of this, the big challenge we've seen is the vitality
of various gems libraries.  If the original authors chose
gems (say for authentication) which are no longer kept
up to date they may not practical to use as is.  In those
cases you may need to replace gems, which may be a significant
undertaking depending on how much they are used.

I've rarely advised customers to throw out an app because of
an upgrade, even significant upgrades have amounted to only
a fraction of a rewrite.

As for kicking the can, I'd advise against it unless
the application lives in a pretty controlled environment.
Rails vulnerabilities are reported and fixed all the time.
Running on an unsupported version of rails (or ruby)
which does receive security updates is pretty risky.

If you're only threats are internal as with an internal
only app, kicking the can for a few years may be reasonable.
I have customers that kick the can and get away with it,
but it is risky.

I run a small consulting shop where we do maintenance on
rails apps all the time.  If we can be of any help please
don't hesitate to reach out.

Good luck.


On 3/25/15 9:28 AM, Rich Freeman wrote:
> I've managed to encounter a Ruby/Rails application that is running on
> a fairly old version of both, and I've been told that it has been
> difficult to get it to run on a supported version of both.
> I figured I'd see if anybody on the list has much experience with
> Ruby/Rails and whether this is a common problem.  Is it generally
> difficult to get an application to run on a newer version of
> Ruby/Rails than what it was originally developed on?  What is the
> upstream policy on backwards compatibility?  How do companies that use
> these technologies live with these kinds of issues?
> I'm trying to get a sense for whether it makes more sense to do a
> one-time effort to port things, and how big that is likely to be, or
> if that is just kicking the can a year or two and we really need to
> think about the sustainability of the platform.  Where I work
> Ruby/Rails really isn't a thing, which is also a problem since we
> don't just have teams of people sitting around who can work on it.
> --
> Rich
> ___________________________________________________________________________
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Andrew Libby
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