I think there is an opportunity for an alternative to Capistrano for managing deployments in the Rails world…. Jamis Buck recently blogged that that he was exhausted and done with Capistrano, hitherto the dominate deployment tool for Rails apps.
On the local #rubycodejam IRC channel I was roundly criticized for my lack of sympathy towards Jamis, my point was that Jamis wouldnt have burned out if hed built a really solid community of contributors around Capistrano. The biggest lesson Ive learned from my involvement in ASF is that community is key to longevity for an open source project. While technical excellence opens the door to adoption, for a project to become long lasting you need community because community is what fosters new energy and new blood. Without community you have a collection of individuals who inevitably move on to new challenges or burn out. I point to my own experience as a committer on DBUnit as an example. While no longer active, as my interest and energy waned for the project I made sure to recruit new committers who have moved the project forward, including a point release done just a week and half ago.
In the Capistrano world there isnt really the sense of community… While I am sure the folks who follow and forked Capistrano may disagree, I dont see anywhere on the Capify.org site a list of contributors, although it is in the changelog.
At any rate, enough with the rant….. Is there the opportunity for a new project to take over????
Ive been using Vlad the Deployer, and really loved it. Except that it doesnt run on Windows. Which doesnt bother me and my beloved MacBook. However Jim uses Windows, and does a fair amount of our systems work, which means deploying software better work for him! But it seems that he is finally giving up on Capistrano.
Hopefully Vlad will gain support on Windows, and build on the community they already have!