Thursday, October 05, 2006


Just a short rant, sorry for the interruption.

What is it with people catagorizing Ruby as a web programming language?


(Sorry for the shouting, I'll try to restrain myself from here on out.) Addison-Wesely, whose Ruby books and shortcuts I'm really looking forward to after a very positive experience with Rubyisms in Rails, has things confused. Rubyisms in Rails under a "Design and Creative Media/Flash" and the "Internet and Web/General" groupings. But they're not alone . . ..

IBM has just announced their new Web Development center, which "features technical resources for . . . Ruby, as well as Web development frameworks such as . . . Rails". Great, the Rails part I understand being in a 'Web Framework Development Center'. Why Ruby though?

Ruby does more than just build websites ‐ even James Gosling has figured that out by now!


Anonymous said...

What is it? You're "really" asking what is it with people who view it that way, or your just (forgive the pun) railing against them?

Because the truth of the matter is, for a lot of people, Ruby is just an adjunct to Rails. Ruby never would have entered their consciousness at all (anymore than Haskell or Rexx have) if not for somebody showing them a video of making a weblog tool in five minutes with Rails. That's attention getting and when there's actually some steak to go with the sizzle, as there is in the case of Rails, you get people who are hooked in by fancy demos but stay for the quality tool.

I and many other developers already have a favorite language, Java in my case, that works quite well for various needs. But the method of web development that went with that language was inferior to Rails. Hence, plenty of developers have been attracted who have little or no interest in Ruby itself, but came only for Rails.

If you are expecting this to change or hoping to make it change, I'd get busy showing how you can build some other kind of software faster and easier with a framework like Rails that corresponds to some other frequent need. Otherwise, expect Ruby to always be seen through a certain filter by a large audience.

gnupate said...

it's just a rant, but yes a rant with some desire to help shift momentum. I can appreciate your desire to stick with Java (I don't share it, but I can appreciate it).

And, yes, you're right. The key to fixing the problem (as I see it) is helping people see that Ruby can do more than just build Rails based websites. I think there are several options here: Ruby is a great language to build other tools in (see Rake).

A while ago, I started working on a web testing framework (load and capacity testing, not functionality), the RFuzz project has superceded my work, and I'm hoping to get involved in improving that.

Charles Nutter has done some work around building a bytecode generation DSL in Ruby. I don't know if that's the way he'll go in the end, but it's an approach worth looking at.

There are alread some spaces where Ruby shines, it's just that they're lost in the glare of Rails.

Ben Bleything said...

Word. This is really starting to annoy me, especially as I get less and less interested in rails development.

ippa said...

I guess it's their loss though? :) For the ppl who dont see the strength behind ruby in non-rails projects.

I've done PHP for WEB and Perl for the backend / info harvest / other small scripts for about 8 years of webbiz.

I haven't even done ruby and ror for a year yet but Im in love with both of them. Web and backend uses the same AR-models.. 1 language instead of 2 as before etc.

Anonymous said...

I think it's like what can happen to tv actors.

As soon as they appear in a popular serie, most people see that actor as the character from that serie for the rest of their career, regardless of other appearances he or she has had.