Some years ago Ruby in conjunction with rails was an absolute hype. In the Rails User Group in Zürich we had meetups with 30 people every two weeks. The meetings every two weeks have been retained, but often we are just five to ten people now. Is the great time of Ruby over or is it just a temporary decline? Is Perl 6 now taking over, since it is ready?
Perl 6 is cool and could challenge Ruby and it is now getting more and more towards production readiness. This will happen next year. This is what we will say next year. But Perl 6 is or will be very cool, stay tuned… What about Perl 5? At least Allison Randall still likes Perl (5). But it has other areas of strength than Ruby, so I will leave my opinionated writing focused on Ruby.
There are also approaches to move back from the server to the client and put more functionality into the client and make the server less relevant, at least the percentage of development effort of the client gets more and of the server gets less.
Then we have more contenders. Java is not dying so soon and it is still strong on its web frameworks, JavaServerFaces and one million others, not so bad actually.
And the idea of rails or at least its name, has been taken over by the groovy guys to develop groovy on grails, which integrates nicely with a Java enterprise backend.
PHP was always the ugly baby, why did they implement a second Perl based on the subset of Perl they understood? Well, I am not advocating PHP at all, but there are some pretty decent PHP-applications that are working really well with high load, like Wikipedia.
The unequal twin of Ruby, Python, is doing pretty well as well on attempting to get a web framework called Django. I have not investigated it at all, but it seems to exist.
So, where is ruby and rails? Ruby is a beautiful language, that has done many things better than any of the languages mentioned here:
It is easy to learn.
It has a nice and complete and consequent concept for object orientation.
It allows all the functional programming, most of it pretty natural.
It allows extending, even operator overloading for new numerical types.
And it has a useful and easily accessible web framework like rails and actually some contender as alternative web frameworks, like camping, sinatra and some others.
And the development effort and the amount of code needed for a certain functionality is still lower than in Java or C# or COBOL.
We will see.
Read more in this discussion on Quora.
For those who are interested, I actually teach Ruby and it is possible to arrange trainings for two to five days, depending on the previous knowledge of the participants and the goals.
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