Technology Series – The opening of Gigafactory 1 surfaced some impressive facts about this engineering wonder

So what is the Tesla Gigafactory besides clearly being a factory?

As its name implies, Gigafactory is an insanely big factory (actually is going to become a lot bigger), and it will produce batteries for the electric vehicles of Tesla Motors. That is not surprising considering the massive volume of around 500 000 vehicles per year that Tesla wants to produce towards end of the decade. This ambition is steered by Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy and to achieve that goal, Tesla wants to produce electric vehicles in sufficient volume to force change in the automobile industry. This apparently was not feasible to do using existing battery manufacturers so the true entrepreneur he is, Elon Musk decided to build his own factory. In his own words Elon said: “It has to be big, because the world is big”.

And while the plan was announced in 2014, last month the first part of the factory had its grand opening! The event emerged quickly in the press but then somehow got lost in all that sports events and probably holidays rolling out. For those of you who want to enjoy the video of the grand opening, here you go. Below I have put some interesting facts announced during the event.

  • The Gigafactory will be powered by renewable energy sources, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.
  • The factory current size is just 14% of its planned size. This article gives a good idea of construction progress with new sites starting already.
  • When complete, 93 Boeing 747 jets would fit inside, or in other terms 50 billion hamsters. 🙂
  • Design improvements allowed to increase initial battery production capacity per year from 50 GWh to 150 GWh.
  • When the factory is complete it will produce a higher amount of lithium-ion batteries than the world produced in 2014. And Tesla wants to build several of these factories.
  • In order to fit the maximum machinery in the factory and increase production speed, the engineering teams had to reinvent the battery production process.
  • The result: the factory strongly resembles a modular integrated circuit and claims a 5-10x increase in production capability. In Elon’s words: “… revitalising manufacturing”.

Technology Series – Is Ruby dying?

For those not into programming Ruby is a programming language. Ruby on Rails is a software library that extends Ruby and contributed hugely to its stellar adoption.

Many famous platforms are based on Ruby – Airbnb, Twitter, Basecamp, Kickstarter. Ruby programmers are probably the most tightly knit community of all programmers. But what is actually happening with Ruby.

There have been plenty discussions on the topic but they have intensified since 2015. If we discard the opinions of the hardcore proponents and opponents, it seems that there may be some sentiment in the direction, why would otherwise so many developers be asking this question.

Some arguments are based on counting the internet searches for each language, others on repository counters (repositories is where the programming code is kept), third on more or less established indexes.

I actually looked at the popularity index TIOBE. Although it clearly shows that Ruby spiked in 2009, and then gradually faded away, it re-captured some positions in 2016.

Tiobe index ruby

A striking fact though is the adoption of Ruby is way under Python, PHP and Javascript, and ranks just above Delphi/Objective Pascal. If you do not believe me, check the ranking. That was quite a surprise for me.

Tiobe index of programming languages

No longer the new kid on the block
Besides, many of the comments I read point out Ruby is no longer the new kid on the block. So in a way it has lost some of its initial momentum, and that tendency is not being helped by the surge of interest for Python and Node.js software development.

May be the worst part is that good Ruby developers are hard to find and when you find them they are already working on an exciting project.

High cost
When you snatch a top notch guy, it usually comes with high price tag. Although many new business consider RoR as their first option, the cost combined with lack of available developers, makes them consider other options soon after.

Bottom line
I do not want to sound like I agree with such a strong statement but I see indications pointing to a decline. In my humble opinion, this is mostly thanks to the maturity of PHP and Javascript that bring a horde of skilled developers plus fast and feature rich frameworks. Still, many languages and frameworks have managed to recover and build on their community and the Ruby one is probably the best of all. Also no language dies out suddenly, especially with such a substantial codebase and famous companies using it.

If you happen to be into programming, what do you think?