Giles Bowkett wrote:
> I know Rails makes use of Ruby's flexibility in its object system, as
> well as its reflection features, but how much of that is key, and how
> much of that just happens to be the case? Do any of the copycat
> frameworks enjoy similar productivity? If so, do the languages of
> successful copycat frameworks share features with Ruby that the
> languages of unsuccessful copycat frameworks lack?
Try 'em all out, and see for yourself. I, for one, don't care. That's 
not meant to be mean; I'm just lazy, and limit the things I try to 
things that are easy to try and things that get recommended to me.

> Between "The Pragmatic Programmer," which advocates frequently
> learning new languages, and Bruce Tate's "Beyond Java", which spread
> the idea that Java's day is probably over, there's been a lot of
> interest in linguistic diversity recently in the general programming
> community. A conclusive answer to the question of whether or not Rails
> actually requires Ruby would go a long way to determining whether this
> interest in linguistic diversity is justified, or just a fad.
Of course Rails doesn't require Ruby. It'll also run on Puby, which just 
happens to have the same language syntax and semantics as Ruby, as well 
as the same standard library. There's a Duby port in the works, but 
because it requires semi-colons, they've got a lot of work to do.

Rails-equivalents are being made in every language. Are they "good 
enough"? I dunno; I haven't tried any of them. Is it possible to 
replicate Rails in another language? Dude! Rails is not the holy grail. 
It is possible to kick Rails's ASS in another language. And someone 
will, eventually. Maybe not in Java, but there are a lot of programming 
languages out there, and believe it or not, Ruby's not the only one that 
supports metaprogramming. (My money's on Io, but we'll see.)

Oh, and as for whether "this interest in linguistic diversity is 
justified, or just a fad" (clever), my vote's on both. Ob. Alan Perlis 
quote: "A language that doesn't affect the way you think about 
programming is not worth knowing." (Hint: That quote's not new.) At the 
same time, most of the blogospherity on language diversity is driven by 
Rails, and that'll fade.

Devin