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Ruby on Rails is excellent but no Java killer

Over the past few months I’ve been playing with Ruby on Rails, and while it’s an innovative solution to small- and medium-scale web development problems, it’s not really the Java killer that everyone’s harping about. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I love everything about Rails — it’s actually elegant.

As an expert Java engineer, an expert Perl programmer, and intermediate Ruby programmer I have come to the conclusion that I would start projects with Rails, get them prototyped, and if the user community was small and the number of engineers on the project remained small I would keep it in Rails. However, Ruby, like most other scripting language doesn’t have the ecosystem for “programming in the large” in such a way that I would select it for general enterprise-wide use. As an Enterprise Architect I wouldn’t rest large-scale complex mission critical requirements on Rails.

If your project can benefit from Ruby and Rails, definitely use it. If you have fun using it, more power to you. If you love your job because you’re now using it, that’s wonderful. But please lets keep our enthusiasm for this technology, and all others, firmly grounded in applicability to a suitable purpose. Java is platform, Rails is a web development framework. The Java ecosystem, training, engineering talent, architecture talent, and third party support can not be matched by Ruby (yet). That’s just reality and just saying “yeah, but Rails is better” won’t change anything.

Even though we may love Rails, lets make sure we don’t start confusing our bosses and clients by tossing it in to the ring everytime a web application requirement comes up. If you’re starting a Web 2.0 company, give Rails a shot. If you’re creating an enterprise application to be sold into a Fortune 500 company, stick with Java (or .NET).

2 thoughts on “Ruby on Rails is excellent but no Java killer

  1. I dont know its a matter of critisism or moulding yourself towards java.

    1. You clearly told you are technology expert. HOW CAN YOU COMPARE A PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE WITH A FRAMEWORK?

    2. Doesn’t matter whether to kill java or not. Rails is much powerful. Unless you know principles behind it clearly.(RAILS RUNS ONLY ON TRACKS) I did 6 realtime projects including 2 social networking and 2 ecommerce rest others. all were successful. (TWITTER.COM/ LINKED.COM/SCRIBD.COM/YELLOWPAGES) thats not a joke to use ruby on rails.

    3. “programming in the large” in my view means uncontrollable , complicated., mostly failure. Unless if it has written tests properly.
    Ruby can do those things, Very clean, Test Driven Code,.

    4. I think you dont know one thing? Microsoft and Java much worried about ruby and they started mending with jruby and iron ruby.

    5. Ruby and ROR are becoming the MAC’s/Linux’s frontend programming and framworks.

    6. From Rails 2.0 its ready for enterprise level.

    7. I know ruby 1.8.6 is slower only on windows. Turn it on linux…its a killer. Take.ruby1.9… its own virtual machine.(YARV) see the performance.

    8. People have general tendency towards only microsoft and sun. They need to comeout with that mentality., its like my religion is great.

    9. Software Engineering principles, made programmers lazy. Agile makes programmers sharp, attentive, immediate problem solving, Future Driven Development, TDD, BDD and what not.

    10. Microsoft and sun is for people who wear suits. Rails is for people who wear torn jeans . Shouting for good practices and striving for excellence at RAILS CONFERENCE. SEE YA AT RAILS CONFERENCE.

    11. No hard Feelings, Very soon you are gonna see Ruby and ROR will be embedded in database itself. kidding? and why not.

    HAIL MOGAMBO ! EVIL STILL PERSISTS.

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