Even as someone who only dabbles in programming and has never used Ruby, I’ve always had reservations about it simply because I perceive it as a small player and I can’t point to any large-scale, mission-critical, high-traffic web apps built with it. That’s not to say you can’t build this type of app with Ruby — I’m just not aware of it being done. Joel seems to have similar reservations: “For Serious Business Stuff you really must recognize that there just isn’t a lot of experience in the world building big mission critical web systems in Ruby on Rails, and I’m really not sure that you won’t hit scaling problems, or problems interfacing with some old legacy thingamabob, or problems finding programmers who can understand the code, or whatnot. I for one am scared of Ruby because (1) it displays a stunning antipathy towards Unicode and (2) it’s known to be slow, so if you become The Next MySpace, you’ll be buying 5 times as many boxes as the .NET guy down the hall.” Joel considers C#, Java, and PHP to be “safe” choices for web applications, and says that Python is “on the border, about to cross the line from an ‘interesting’ choice to a ‘safe’ choice.”
I’m no programmer, and I’ve never worked with Java, but this post does outline some of the neater features of dynamic languages like Python and Ruby that Java (apparently) doesn’t have. If you’re a Java guy and think that Python and Ruby are just “Java without the compile step,” give it a look.
Nice comparrison of job trends in web programming. I especially like Cliff Wells’ comment: “I strongly suspect that RoR will eventually be eclipsed by the equivalent Python frameworks (TurboGears, Django, etc) as Python certainly has a far larger base of developers than Ruby and having an equivalent to RoR greatly reduces the incentive to learn yet another language. As anonymous said “all it takes is one killer app”. Well, quite frankly, RoR is Ruby’s killer app and now Python has that killer app too, only with a larger number of killers wielding it ;-)”
This Lessig-style presentation is mostly good, especially if you want to compare J2EE to web frameworks in general. It’s not quite as good a comparrison of the four web frameworks it deals with (Rails, Zope, TurboGears, and Django) because it seems to get