Jim Freeze <jim freeze.org> wrote:
> I've seen others make this same comment. I find it interesting
> that at RubyConf 2001 (the first Ruby conference) I heard multiple 
> times that Ruby was not ready for web development.

Yep, I remember that. It is pretty amazing that a web framework could all of a
sudden make Ruby so much more marketable. The irony about myself is that it
took hearing about Rails from a coworker (and we don't even do web development
professionally) to bring me back into the Ruby fray. Not that I'd abandoned
what is still my favorite language, I just found it hard to keep up when I have
to do Java at work.

> I know rails is new, but I'm not sure that the language has made
> any significant changes to justify such an about face in opinion.

I think I'd have a pretty good perspective on that since I was around in the
RubyConf 2001 days and have been pretty much out of the Ruby community until
now. I agree, not too much has changed in the language (though I love
Enumerable#inject.) Even the list of libraries isn't that different. Though I'm
certainly aware of the additions that made RubyGems Part Deux easier to
implement than when I made the first RubyGems (of course I never really got
past prototype stage.)

> However, I think it is a lesson in how people can take
> their own opinion (or a common opinion) and believe in it as fact.
> 
> Rails has opened the eyes of to many to what they could not see. 
> David and his RubyOnRails is to Ruby what Michaelangelo and 
> Michaelangelo's David are to a large of stone.

While the metaphor is colorful and amusing, I don't think I'd even go so far as
to say that. David is no doubt a smart guy and Rails is a cool system (from
what I've seen, I'm still a Rails newbie), but I think the success of Rails has
more to do with its simplicity and utility than any inherent "artistry."

David had a problem (implementing BaseCamp using Ruby), and he just solved his
own problem by creating Rails. I think too many people create solutions that
are looking for a problem instead of solving real problems.

> The only difference is that Ruby has more value than a large rock. :)
> 
> It is also clear that some people just see the statue.
> But me, I see the process. I am waiting to see what gets
> created when another Michaelangelo comes along and finds Ruby.

I think Rails is just the tip of the iceberg. There are too many brilliant
people involved with Ruby for it not to have a bright future. The problem maybe
that too many of those people are "too close" to the language to create the
next Rails, so I agree we may need new blood to move forward. Or more of the
old hats need to learn how to step back and see Ruby from a fresh light.

Ryan Leavengood


		
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