After my quick interview with Yehuda and Kevin the other day. I wanted to post a couple more points of view. David Heinemeier Hansson (@d2h) and Jeremy McAnally (@jeremymcanally) were good enough to weigh in as well.
What kinds of benefits do you think the Rails and Merb communities will see from this merger?
DHH We get to join the best ideas into Rails and make those ideas available to a much larger audience. We also get a bigger, better team for pushing Rails forward.
Jeremy I think this can only be good for the two communities. Bringing Merb's sensibilities to a large, mature codebase will not only open up a lot for the framework technically, but I honestly think we'll see a lot of innovation and, dare I say, *synergy* between the two cultures. There's been a lot of squawking about monoculture this or competition that, but honestly I think we'll see a lot more come out of working together rather than arguing with one another.
I have my own apprehensions about adding someone to the core team who isn't actually *using* Rails every day. One of the biggest wins for Rails was the fact that was and still largely is extracted from working code changes, additions, and extensions from working production code. Adding people to the team who aren't "practitioners" will create a slightly different dynamic I think, but I'm not sure if it'll end up being a good or a bad thing. I trust Yehuda is a very competent Ruby programmer, so I don't doubt that the code will be good, I just think the perspective may not be the same.
The competition for the top spot in the Ruby Web Framework space has been good for everyone. What's going to happen now that the two big fish represent one, even bigger, fish?
Jeremy As for non-Rails web frameworks, I don't think it means much. Frameworks such as Sinatra, Ramaze, Mack, and so on all have something fundamentally different to offer technically, whereas Merb and Rails were very technically similar in their goals. This similarity is why it makes sense to merge Merb and Rails, but it's also why it won't affect the other frameworks.
DHH You should look as competition being much larger than just the Ruby sphere. There are a TON of choices in this world to do web-based software. Everything from .NET to J2EE to PHP. In that picture, Rails is still a comparably small fish.
Where else in Rubyspace do you think this kind of merger would be possible and helpful?
Jeremy I'd like to see the ORM's become a little more singular. I'm hoping something like Active Relation or (a much simpler version of) Sequel or Ambition will create a Rack-like interface for ORM's to hook into so we can have different DSL's on top of a core that's super fast and tight.
I'd also like to see a merge in the realm of these extension libraries. There's Active Support, facets, extlib, this, that, etc. etc. that all do basically the same thing on one scale or another. Ideally we'd have some sort of core library that lazy loads/installs each piece or something so you don't have to have a gigantically huge library but still get the same functionality. Having a ton of hands working on these libraries will speed them up and make them more efficient.