I’ve been writing about how appealing I find Ruby and especially Ruby on Rails these days. We’ve struggled at both my current job and my last position in terms of what platform/s we develop on. Bowdoin was largely a perl shop with some flash in the mix; Skidmore is, unbelievably, still trying to tell everyone it’s Cold Fusion or nothing. (fortunately I’m able to bypass all that). Meanwhile though as I imagine other positions I might move to in the future and what toolsets I’d focus on, Ruby is tops on my list. At Bowdoin there were several architecture astronauts who were trying to force us into an all-Java development model. This was largely an effort to take control of the college’s web communications by the technical staff and I argued against this while I was there. I’m not sure where they’re at with it now. Anyway I got to musing on this today after running across an onjava.com interview with James Tate, the author of Beyond Java. There’s a great quote:
There are developers that can’t stomach learning servlets, Spring, XML, Hibernate, Struts and then some UI glue frameworks. They’re going to be unleashed in Rails.
He’s describing me. My first exposure to a java development framework was the cocoon project. I mean no offense to the developers, but man, I developed a life long aversion to the complexity of these frameworks from that project. We had two really smart sys admins working for us during my time with Cocoon and we still struggled with it. It’s not that there’s something wrong with Cocoon specifically, it’s that the amount of grunt work required to implement projects using frameworks of this nature is so onerous as to drive me to anything that enables me to avoid 700 line xml configuration files. I’m hardly an architecture astronaut – my basic philosophy is to focus on results, and my dabblings with rails thus far are showing me that rails is going to get me to the results even faster.