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Moving back - Israel and the United States.

During the past couple of months i have been busy on arranging a move back to Israel and making it as smooth as possible for both myself and everyone involved in Nautilus6. I have been in the US for the past 2.years and i can honestly say i have achieved what i wanted in this country, recession or not it was THE most important and valuable decision i have ever made.

Preface

This post is basically meant for Israelis, why them? because Israel holds some of the highest ratio of talent/web developers ever, but due to some reason which i will specify later something get screwed around the way and the state of web in Israel (most of it) is equivalent to the situation that the internet jargon refers to as “like it’s 1999”.

This post is meant to show the situation of things as they are, through the eyes of someone that broke out of that cycle and tried to make it in a different way, hopefully helping others to achieve the same thing and by that making the Israeli web, products and internet related community a better one.

What i was missing in Israel

I am developing web applications since 1998 (except a 3.years.long period between 2003-2006 in which i served in active army duty). Being an auto-didactic person i basically learned everything i knew back then from books in hebrew, friends who knew a little better and by simply trying it myself. My efforts ended up with Dealcenter.co.il who was sold in late 2003.
You can all see, sucks really bad codewise, even if considered as something i did in 2001-2002 and i am afraid, it is still a considered as a valid standard in the Israel websites view, here is for example YNet one of the top news portals in Israel.

Sad. i knew.

Israel is considered as the growing ground of many successful startup (ICQ is the best worldwide example, but there are a lot more) and basically is even referred to as the Startup nation so why the level of product is usually that low?

Why israeli web sucks?

We all remember the browser wars. a silly tech war that all it did was basically set the internet and advancement back for a couple of years. Israelis, RTL language users to be precise suffered a little more than the rest of the internet users. As RTL language users, we had to use unbelievably stupid methods in order to code using our native language to Netscape, basically printing and storing all text backwards. yes. !sdrawkcab stxet eht lla gnirots.

IE on the other hand didn’t have that problem and provided a better solution in that day as a browser, a solution that basically drove all the Israeli developers to code specifically to IE something we see that exists up till’ this day.

Microsoft did nothing to fix the problem, instead, Microsoft endorced that behavior by providing almost no choice for people to code for IE, use explorer (worldwide actually) and even took over parts of the educational syllabus in Israel which even now-a-days, contains Microsoft specific studies. and that’s the main reason i believe that is causing almost every developer in Israel to code only for IE, work with Access as a database and choose .Net. Israel is not a “Startup nation”, it’s a Microsoft nation.

But what about those bad practices? using tables for layouts? inline style? i think the source of this problem is the Hebrew reading material which is old, outdated and basically wrong.

The books show examples on non-semantic, table-packed, standard deprived code which they designate as “Valid”, “Professional” and “correct”. The evil syllabus does not stop at those books but also in colleges and private schools that aim to teach “Web development” but teach barely 2 hours of CSS, 1 hour of basic HTML, and 20 hours on how to drag/drop controls on Visual Studio.

Sadly i have seen more than i would have wanted to, pages that weigh more than 5mb, completely wrapped with .net’s VIEWSTATE and contain more than 900 db queries. (900!!!).

Bad practices are everywhere, but the problem is that in Israel there is no authority which will guide the herd into the right direction.

.. and why the Israeli web is awesome?

Because there are people who try to make it better, i got to know a few excellent people in Israel that are capable of providing an excellent solution and also share my view that something needs to be done in order to make Israel a better place for web developers and internet users. Elad Ossadon, Lionite and a few more very good examples for people who know web as it supposed to be, not as a “OMFG LET’S WRITE THE NEXT FACEBOOK IN TABLES”.

Why am i coming back?

For the time being, Nautilus6 is successful even beyond my wildest dreams i had in mind when i started it 8 months ago. I owe a huge part of my blooming as a good manager (i hope, results say so) and better programmer to the Ruby on Rails community and specifically to the RailsBridge.
The RailsBridge members helped me close the gap between what i thought i can do to what i now know in every step of the way: making better products, choosing the right tools, opinions and the most important i think, the approach.
RailsBridge showed me that learning and asking for help is not something you can fear from, and giving back either by giving a daily average of 1.hour on the #rubyonrails channel to help newbies, sword fighting with Radar on one of the bugmashes, getting the best slides on rails/ruby from Brian Hogan, occasional enlightenment by Mike Gunderloy or an occasional “do this the right way” talk with Eric Davis, Dan Pickett or Pratik (i think the estimated cost of a chat with all those people on a business rate would cost about 2000$/hour, and they do it because they love to help).

The list of people that i had and still have the pleasure of working with in RailsBridge is too long for specify each, i urge each and every one that is working with Ruby on Rails to come and see how it’s like on our IRC channel on Freenode (irc.freenode.com, #railsbridge)

I am coming back to Israel to form the exact some model. Join those people around and try to make a better, fully focused community that will divert the general population direction towards a better internet, on all it means:

  • Forcing standards. actively.
  • Providing guidance, courses and tutoring for developers.
  • Breaking into the educational system and provide a better selection than the current “only Microsoft tools”.

While Nautilus6 will continue to exist in its current status and form in the US, another branch of Nautilus6 will be formed in time in Israel and will assume responsibilities for all of the above.

Finally, i can say i had fun most of the time and i hope to continue and be an active part of that awesome community, form something better in Israel and hopefully,

retire by the age of 30. :)

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ELAD ENV

Variable Value
LINKEDIN
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
GITHUB
WWR
IRC
{ 'irc.freenode.net' => [ '#rubyonrails', '#railsbridge', '#ruby', '#mootools' ]}
SKYPE
eladmeidar

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