After a number of comments around the conference regarding the near fanatical religious nature of the guys on the Ruby stream, i had to attend. I was not disappointed. If you broke the panel down into individuals i believe you would get a very balanced discussion around the sessions subject, When is Rails an appropriate choice however as a panel lead by Nic Williams, was in my opinion hindered. Why? well Nic is quite obviously an intelligent guy, with alot to offer, but on this occasion (maybe due to the fact that it was the end of the day), all he offered was general sweeping statements, about the greatness of Ruby; which may well be true, but a little backing up would have been nice. The problem for me was, i really wanted to know when rails, would be an appropriate choice. I came away with comments regarding the fact that it does not run the same on Windows as Unix, and you start to get worried business sponsors; especially if there development team are stocked with Windows PC’s and there not that keen to run Virtual PC for development purposes. Couple this with the only use pushed was for CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) apps and you don’t feel particular informed. Does this sound like a recipe for world domination?
I actually was happy with my view of Ruby and Rails before i went. I think its a great language and framework for the right problem, CRUD applications. I also think that Ruby’s usefulness has been expanded into the Java world by JRuby and the IDE integration in Netbeans and INteliJ. The tie ins with Java, allow it to be used clearly as an external DSL (Domain Specific Language) that can augment the general problem solving capabilities of Java with a fantastic and agile language like Ruby. It would have been nice to expand my knowledge beyond what i knew, rather than just be told ‘Rubys Great, use it’ for an hour.