Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Ruby phenomenon

The recent Ruby phenomenon is very interesting. Lost of people (including me) are first attracted by a killer application (e.g., rails and watir), then start to learn this foreign language (considering the majority programmers are only familiar with "curly braces" languages, like C++/C#/Java).

Both rails and watir are in a very competitive market. To develop web applications, there are big players like J2EE and ASP.net, even PHP has a larger user base than ruby. To do web application testing, javascript and vbscript have been used for years. Believe me, no matter how good ruby is, most people would like to stay with the language they know. Lots of credits should go to rails and watir.

So what makes rails and watir successful? One philosophy: make simple things simple and complex things possible. Everyone knows it, but it is quiet hard to achieve.

We can build very complex web applications with J2EE and .NET, while they have simplified the job greatly, comparing with developing in portable assembly(I am talking C :)), there are still lots of tedious works. On the other hand, there are some RAD tools which can help us to build an eCommerce site without a single line of coding, adding additional features soon becomes painful.

Rails and waitr do lots of things behind the scene, making good choice themselves without bothering us. Meanwhile the simple and powerful ruby language enable us to do complex things without too much works. Now that's a real beauty!


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