Thursday, January 03, 2008

Is Your Community a Ghetto?

By now the second volley fired by Zed at the Rails community has made the rounds. Other than being completely hilarious it seems to expose a few more steaming turds in the Rails meadow. Ah well nothing's perfect. I have played a bit with Rails and found that it is an eye-opening programming experience. I have no experience running it in production but it sounds like a work in progress. I am a happy user of commercial Rails applications and I'm pretty happy with the reliability. I'm not sure if that is due to very busy watchdog processes or that VMs and deployment environments are making things better. I'm an old C/C++/Perl/Java programmer. So I can appreciate a lot of what Zed is laying down. While the Rails community was optimizing for developer experience they really seem to miss the fact that these applications have to run reliably and scale quickly without having to throw a bunch of hardware at the problem. So while I was suffering the insults of early Rails evangelists poo-pooing the Java community, my production Java apps were running quite happily without restarts servicing lots of transactions per second. What I found interesting was the praise Zed had for the JRuby guys. Sun has poured some funds down the JRuby hole and they have a pretty good story to tell to corporate technology managers that running Ruby and Ruby on Rails applications on a Java EE stack, using NetBeans as a development platform isn't a bad idea. It's kind of funny that the community that snubbed Java, Java EE, etc. may actually be a big beneficiary of Sun's product development dollars. Still the Ruby/Rails community is very small, way smaller than the Java community, so I'd be curious to see what kind of return JRuby really does bring Sun and it's shareholders. Zed seems to be betting that Ruby/Rails is heading the way of the DoDo or at least the way of Cobol. So I guess we know how he stands on that bet. I've sort of skipped JRuby altogether and have written a few production apps using Groovy and Grails. I find the experience just as eye-opening and productive without the overhead of having to toss Java compatibility and with a gentler transition to meta object programming. At first my Groovy code looked more like Java but now it's getting more "Groovy". Performance is improving with each release. Sun has largely ignored Groovy in lieu of courting the Ruby/Rails community. They see this as a pragmatic move which they are hoping will grow their slice of the developer pie but is Ruby/Rails really a big enough market that any incursion would help Sun? I'm not sure. I wish Zed the best of luck for 2008. The guy's got balls. What a way to start the New Year. Freaking hilarious. Zed if your in NJ let me know and I'll buy you a beer. Better yet it might be fun to have you address our development team. I'll pay you better than Net-30.

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Blogger Ben Edwards said...

While I, too, think Zed's comments are funny, I have to think that he would have equally bad/funny things to say about the Groovy/Grails world. After all how can you start a flamewar without fire?

12:14 PM  

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