I would not consider CGI obsolete.  Unless you are referring to ruby's 
CGI library.  In which case, I still wouldn't consider it obsolete, but 
because of rails I imagine it has fallen out of preference.  (though I 
don't know what the rails equivalent is, I'm sure there is an 
alternative in the rails world).

I think a lot of people come to rails because they consider it easier. 
I've heard people come to ruby because of rails.  That's an argument 
that disappoints me; ruby is an excellent language and deserving of more 
credit than just rails.

Not being a rails user, the next paragraph may be wrong.
Rails is a framework for web application development.  Personally I 
don't like the cost of running rails.  I understand it does run as its 
own server.  And code written for rails will not translate because it 
relies upon the framework.  Conversely, code written in ruby can more 
easily be translated to another language if necessary.  And rails takes 
over storage; my impression is that by default it is easy to use MySQL, 
but if you wanted to use mongo instead that would be more difficult.

A straight cgi application need not 'connect the dots with shtml.'  This 
is the manner in which I use ruby.  I write cgi scripts that puts html 
to the client.  And I use ruby's CGI library to read what gets sent.  I 
don't use rails or shtml.

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