On 4/26/07, Steve Molitor <stevemolitor / gmail.com> wrote:
> The two hurdles to using Ruby more at my company are convincing my
> boss, and convincing the developers.  My boss is worried about the
> usual stuff:  staffing, training, scalability, etc.   You've helped me
> with the staffing and training issues, and we can do some benchmarking
> to test scalability.  (Rails should scale just fine for our needs.)

Depends on what your needs are, but with modern hardware you can
usually go a long way before you hit scalability ceiling, far enough
for most web sites and business apps.

> The objections are that Ruby is
> not used or accepted enough in the corporate world, and that learning
> Ruby won't help them make more money or more marketable (in the St.
> Louis corporate world).

I don't know about St.Louis, but personally I've been getting job
offers roughly once a month since a year and half ago. Even though
there isn't much Ruby in the city where I live, and I'm not even
soliciting those job opportunities (I mean, I'm not looking for an
indie gig for myself; ThoughtWorks is always on a lookout for Ruby
work).

There is a market for Ruby, and it is growing fast. Having Ruby on
your CV now, if nothing else, marks you as a forward-looking
technologist in the eyes of knowledgeable employers who watch industry
trends.

> If corporations start explicitly looking for
> Ruby developers they'll learn it, but not until then.

Like someone else said earlier in the thread, people with this
attitude to new technologies really belong in the legacy/maintenance
world (and will do just fine there).

Should your IT strategy be driven by an effect it would have on
someone's employability by *some other company*, anyway?

> something is going to succeed Java,

Java is very well entrenched, nothing is going to completely displace
it any time soon. Ruby partially displacing Java to a significant
degree (and perhaps  completely displacing PHP) is a trend that we are
already observing in ThoughtWorks customer base. We mostly work with
large corporations.

> Personally I'm not concerned about what the next big thing might be;

In ThoughtWorks, we are obviously betting on Ruby, but we are a
relatively large software consultancy, and it's not the only possible
Next Big Thing we are betting on. Making this sort of bets is part of
our business.

Corporate IT departments, however, do not need to speculate about such
things. The right question for you, guys, is: "(1) is Ruby big enough
and (2) will it become obsolete within the lifespan of our
application?". The answer to that question, from where I sit, looks
like a certain "yes to (1), no to (2)" since about a year and half
ago. Assuming that your planned application lifespan is less than 20
years, that is.

By the way, my personal crystal ball also says that Java will be
obsolete a good few years before Ruby. But that's just speculation
again.

> I have trouble understanding the narrow, strictly mercenary and
> corporate focused point of view.  Any ideas on convincing these folks?

Convincing late adopters to adopt is an uphill battle probably not
worth fighting. Instead, convince decision-makers that mercenary view
is irrelevant to company interests, and do not include those people in
the Ruby project team, at least not in the beginning.

Corporate-focused view, on the other hand, is entirely appropriate. In
many business IT scenarios, you really need fast time to market above
everything else. If you are like that, Ruby is presently one of your
best available choices.

--
Best regards,
Alex Verkhovsky
ThoughtWorks