Thomas Fuchs is the #78 Rails committer.

With his wife Amy Hoy, Thomas runs two SaaS apps: a time-tracker called Noko (formerly Freckle), and Every Time Zone, which is an easy way for distributed teams to make sure they’re all talking about the same thing when they schedule a meeting. He’s the author of the phenomenal early JavaScript visual effects library Scriptaculous, an early performance-optimized jQuery clone for mobile called Zepto, and the excellent (if no longer current) book Retinafy Your Web Sites & Apps. He also co-authored (again with Amy Hoy) a trio of books on JS performance called JavaScript Performance Rocks!. These books were released four years before the now-classic High Performance Browser Networking by Ilya Grigorik.

An alumnus of the Rails core team, Thomas has 104 Rails commits and racked them up between 2005 and 2008. The majority (87.5%) happened in 2005 and 2006, very early days for Rails. At that time, we didn’t have Webpacker, NPM, Yarn, Bower, or even the asset pipeline — let alone React, Elm, or Vue — so Rails bundled Prototype and Scriptaculous as included files in the Rails gem and wrapped them in Ruby helper methods. Thomas made it possible for us to embed JavaScript in our ERB templates using Ruby code like this:

<%= draggable_element("my_image", :revert => true) %>

Although we write front-end code today using very different techniques than we did back in the day, Thomas’s work on Rails was instrumental in changing the entire culture of web development. The tricks you could do with Ruby-wrapped JS in early versions of Rails are probably the ultimate root of the entire concept of the “full-stack developer,” and Thomas built a ton of the code that made it possible. Big thanks to Thomas Fuchs for his pioneering work!