Preston Crawford wrote:
> Is something like RoR worth learning in the 
> context of being able to actually put it to use in the future?

Before I try to answer your question, a little background: I like to say 
I was "born and raised on Java." It was my first major programming 
language that I start using back in 1997 in college. All of my 
employment, including my current job, has had Java is the primary 
development language. Yet I'm now starting to hate Java.

Compared to Ruby, Java is incredibly verbose, there are just too many 
overly complex APIs, and when I program in it, I feel like my hands are 
tied. With Ruby I feel free.

I was first exposed to Ruby in early 2001, and I even attended (and 
presented at) the first International Ruby Conference. But as I said 
above my job was using Java, and I just didn't see much money-making 
potential in becoming a pure Ruby developer. Plus I had other real-life 
issues that pretty much took me away from the Ruby fold for a few years.

Fast forward to a few months ago: I hear all this buzz about Rails, take 
a look, and *BAM*, I'm reminded of how much I love Ruby.

So to finally answer your question: I think Ruby and Rails and many of 
the other cool Ruby technologies out now are totally worth learning. I 
have real confidence that the future of software development will be 
primarily in flexible, dynamic languages like Ruby.

Right now Rails is probably the number 1 way to make money with Ruby 
(the web is king after all), but I think it has really just started the 
revolution. It is bringing a lot of fresh blood into the Ruby community, 
and while every Rails developer may not expand into a full-blown Ruby 
developer, many will, and each new person will add that much more value 
to the community.

Before you know it will have a Rails equivalent in all kinds of domains:

- GUI programming.
- Audio processing.
- Video processing.
- Mathematics.
- Scientific domains.
- Game programming.
- Etc.

It is a great time to be a Ruby developer, and I think the time to get 
in is now, because all of us will eventually be known as the pioneers 
once everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.

Ryan