On Apr 19, 2008, at 11:33 AM, Phillip Gawlowski wrote:
> Depends on your definition of large. Twitter runs on Rails. But  
> nothing
> like Amazon, or let alone Google.
>
> I have the feeling that most Rails applications are deployed in
> intranets, to fill a particular, well-defined need, but nothing as
> "general purpose" and exposed as Amazon yet.

The implication of this post, intended or not, is that there are tons  
of large-scale public facing sites, none of them running any Ruby  
code. There are relatively few large-scale public facing sites,  
period, as compared to the number of Web sites out there now. There's  
no indicator of how much Ruby code is in use performing non-Internet  
related tasks. The point is, when Amazon, Ebay, and Google got their  
start, Ruby would not have been a language that came to mind as a  
first choice. Consider that these three date back to the mid-90s!

The corollary implication, intended or not, is that none of these  
sites could benefit from Ruby or from Rails. The answer to that is not  
clear. Much of the code on larger scale sites has been C/C++ or Perl  
up to this point. Taking Moore's Law into account, it seems feasible  
that at some point, improvement in Ruby's performance characteristics,  
along with increase in affordable hardware capability would make Ruby  
just as obvious a choice as C/C++ or Perl were when the initial  
decisions were made to use them on these large sites. That point could  
be now. Amazon is using Rails for some of their new stuff -- not sure  
exactly what -- and I know it's on everyone's radar.

There are a number of Rails apps that are handling large traffic  
volumes, and Twitter is not the only one. Distilling all Ruby-backed  
sites to Twitter isn't fair to the technology, as there are millions  
of pages served a day by Rails apps, as well as by some of the less  
mainstream frameworks like merb, iowa, ramaze, etc. I don't have a  
handle on that, but it's worth noting that the absence of a huge  
catalog of "humongous site success stories" implies narrow adoption or  
failure. (BTW: A number of the US political candidates, including at  
least one of the presidential ones are running Rails applications.  
They get lots of traffic :)

Just my $.02