What Is Ruby on Rails
Subject:   Great article but....
Date:   2005-10-13 17:08:59
From:   Oyku
Great overview. Well done. If this article was published 2 weeks ago I'd spend much less effort to convince my collegues why we have to get on the wagon.

As someone who have spent the past 2 weeks writing nothing but rails code I've got a few comments to make.

First of all the Ruby issue. If you are like me you may well be thinking of "everything is fine, but what is this ruby thing?" I'll tell you what. I only knew a language names Ruby existed when I started playing with Rails. I was a bit cautious until I found Ruby the most comfortable scripting language I've ever used. Some features will make you feel almost at home if you are a Perl person like I am. If you have coded PHP and used to is you'll find Ruby much easier to use (yes, I'm serious) The object oriented features of the language will let you code as you think. Imagine that you are using the same language for both your PHP code and your Smarty templates. e.g.

Secondly, do not compare Rails with Zope. More than half of the people I've talked about Rails brought up this issue. Yes they are similar because both use (at least at the early stages of Zope) rather less known languages, but unlike Zope, which I believe you need to excell in Python to get the most out of it, Rails does not require that. It's nothing but a incredibly well architectured framework and surrounding tools to create web applications. A decent text editor is all you need.

Thirdly, you may like all the ideas but you are wondering how fast you'll get on track right? I can tell you that if you know at least 2 scripting languages and used it professionally like Perl and PHP you already know enough Ruby to survive. Following the Agile web development with Rails book you'll be writing real world apps in no time.

Here comes the BUT part of my comment. Rails is still in its early stages you may come accross some annoying problems and need to apply patches but don't fear they are very few if you ever come accross. Ruby is the same. Don't expect the CPAN richness and maturity from gems. You'll find yourself compiling ruby extensions yourself e.g ImageMagick for instance. But again there's no need to fear it's not only easy to do, but also worth the effort.

To summarize, Rails is hot. My Rails and Ruby books arrived 2 weeks ago and I've deployed a serious web apps on a 5 server cluster yesterday and guess what? The client is happy. It's not because that I'm fast, because Rails is very well designed and flexiable.

I can write pages on Rails (HINT HINT HINT: Ruby and Rails deserves an oreillynet site of its own I believe) but I hope this will help you decide what to expect from Rails and convice you to give it a try along with this great article.