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Ruby on Rails won’t make it in 2007?

Yakov Fain wrote his 2007 predictions. First and foremost, Yakov happens to be a Java and Flex expert, therefore we can expect a certain bias and an enterprise mindset. A bias is acceptable, but he clearly misses the mark on a few points. Predicting the future of IT is not an easy task given that there are so many emerging technologies popping up, but he ventured in this direction, so we might as well take a look at his most controversial statements.

He writes:
“Ruby and Ruby on Rails won’t make it in 2007 either. I still do not see a compelling reason to switch.”
And then:
“Ajax hype is stronger than I thought mainly because of the life support offered by frameworks like GWT. But still, I’m not going to recommend enterprise IT shops make any serious investments in AJAX.”

Wow! Where do I start? The world is changing, lead by the Internet evolution, which is lead itself by innovative technologies that enable developers to be more productive and users to be protagonists. It’s a survival of the fittest for businesses and technologies. So what exactly did shake the web development industry in 2006? Wasn’t it precisely Ruby on Rails and Ajax? The claim that “Ruby on Rails won’t make it in 2007 either” is ridiculous because Rails did make it in 2006 and many Java and PHP developers considered it worth switching to – and they couldn’t be happier! It was, along with Ajax, the most adopted innovation in 2006, within the web application development arena. There is no reason to believe that it will suddenly stop being adopted in 2007. Ajax and Rails mattered in 2006 and will continue to do so. While I agree with Yakov on the possible relevance of Adobe Flex and Microsoft WPF/E for RIA in 2007, dismissing Rails and Ajax is pure nonsense. Even Sun aknowledges the importance of Ruby, Rails and Ajax, and it’s trying to be part of this success at all costs.

I’m afraid Pete Lacey wrote pieces like They can’t hear you having Yakov and most of his supporters in mind. (By the way Pete, I’ll share a secret: some of us can hear you.)

I’ll conclude with a very simple prediction of my own.

In 2007 we will have an exponential increase in the trend that we’ve seen in the past few years, with the adoption of frameworks and technologies that will continue enabling us to quickly and simply produce web applications as we never thought before. REST, Ruby, JRuby, Ruby on Rails, Ajax, Django, RelaxNG, Atom – to name but a few – are here to stay and will shape our future and define our limits.


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13 Responses to “Ruby on Rails won’t make it in 2007?”

  1. Matteo says:

    This guy is a fool in oh so many ways. He “predicts” that “Java remains the best choice for the server side enterprise development, but it won’t be able to compete on the desktop.” when this has *always* been the case with Java. He complains about “the abcence of programmers in the USA.” when in fact we don’t need more programmers, we need *less* with *better education*.

    And even more hilarious is the kind of bozos that leave comments on his blog, like the guy who wishes he could disable the “back” key on my browser.

    But my question is: Antonio, why are you even reading that blog?

  2. Ben Kittrell says:

    Silly me, I thought that Rails and Ajax already made it.

    I guess this just goes to show how really in-the-dark java developers are. And that’s coming from a full-time J2EE consultant.

  3. Yakov is a bonehead and his predictions are meaningless, but it’s also completely ridiculous to make a blanket statement like “just goes to show how really in-the-dark java developers are.” Really? What percentage of Ruby/Rails users to you think are these in-the-dark Java guys? I’d bet a ton and growing. I’m not trying to jump on you, Ben, but I just don’t think it’s fair to lump all Java devs together like that. Java itself isn’t really the problem, it’s the developers, like Yakov, who are using it poorly. Rails is a compelling framework that will continue to grow by leaps and bounds this year, but there are also others out there in the Java space that’ll also be big in 2007 (see: Groovy on Grails).

    Just my 2 cents…

  4. ance says:

    Ruby has made it in 2006, but it has not made it in the “enteprise” yet, and probably will not in 2007. Matteo hints at why:

    “…when in fact we don’t need more programmers, we need less with better education.”

    Ruby gives the developer a large amount of power, trusting the developer not to blow their own foot off. Java (and many other languages) give the developer less freedom, but offer more protection against self-inflicted wounds. Large shops employ large numbers of programmers with varying degrees of ability, some of whom know far more Ruby or Java than I do, others of whom might not know a mixin from a mixmaster. Such an environment will always be very conservative, and favor “safer” languages over potentially more dangerous ones.

    If these shops are Yakov’s enterprise, I agree with him. Ruby will not penetrate these environments, easily, unless:

    1) A competitor starts using dynamic languages to run rings around them, forcing them to upgrade their development staff and take the plunge themselves.

    2) Ruby comes up with some VS- or Eclipse-level IDE, with static language type features like class/method/field usage and full-scale refactoring. You can argue that developers should not *need* this, and I would be inclined to agree, but it would go a long way towards adoption by large scale in-house shops.

    Please forgive this if it sounds like FUD — I am not saying that Ruby is itself dangerous, just that it allows a developer a new breed of mistakes, whereas in Java or C# many potential sources of errors are explicitly disallowed or are caught by the IDE. Ruby grew in 2006, and will grow more in 2007. If we hit one of those two marks, it will sweep through even Yakov’s “enterprises.” Until that day, though, it will still be too hot to touch for conservative shops.

  5. Regnard says:

    There’s still a lack of developers and well-adopted tools for RoR. While I truly like the platform, I’m giving it a darkhorse chance in 2007.

  6. a java enterprise developer says:

    Jesse,

    I agree w/ your sentiments.

    Yakov is just in it for the money. He’s actually fighting two battles; he just become a Flex certified instructor and so he’s trying to get java swing guys to move to Flex, and he’s trying to get Ajax guys to move to Flex.

    He lost my respect a long time ago he was totally against outsourcing, and then he became a partner at his consulting firm and he said outsourcing is okay as long as you stay on top of your guy. He’s also said stupid things like ‘ask your manager for a flex license and if you don’t get it he sucks and maybe you should think about changing companies’

    I don’t think many in the java world take him seriously at all; all you hear about nowadays from him is Flex nowadays just so he can pad his own bottom line.

    The only reason why his opinion was even solicited for this poll is b/c his blog is at Java Developer’s Journal, and the technical editors don’t have a clue that he lesson’s the reputation of their publication.

    RoR guys – rails is nice..but it’s rails not ruby that wields the power. Ruby has been around since the 90’s, the hype started after Rails came out. But Django is much better.

  7. While I really could care less Ruby, or Rails, I wish that most AJAX apps would die. When the amount of javascript on a page hinders the ability to use it in all browsers consistently then you have a problem. Right now, we’re getting into the phase that people are forgetting that javascript isn’t entirely consistent across browsers, and worse yet, some people turn it off, rendering sites totally useless. Actually, what renders sites useless is the developers and designers who feel that making everything AJAXY and interactive will make their site better. I use Netflix as an example of a great AJAX application, despite the fact that in recent months it’s use of “lightboxy” popups has been increasing. Before this, ratings and the tooltips were the exact use of javascript and AJAX, that _should_ be present on sites. It allows you to not only a) convieniently rate multiple movies quickly, but b) keep page load times down by not loading all of the images/text in hidden divs so in the chance that you might hover over one of the movies, you’ll see Johnny Depp on the cover of Pirates. Make use of AJAX sparingly and it’ll survive well into the future.

  8. Carlo says:

    I don’t know when (if) they will (ever) breach the corporate wall but modern frameworks, such as RoR and Django, are here to stay.

    My 2 cent prediction: in 2007 RoR will consolidate its position and Django will grow fast because of the 1.0 release and the publication of the Django Book.

    Personally, I’m using Django a lot these days: you can’t imagine how fun and fast is building not only a web app but an entire complex web site with this Python framework. And the free documentation is simply amazing.

    My only complaint is the current scarcity of shared hosting companies officially supporting RoR and Django. I hope this situation will change in 2007.

  9. Ivan says:

    Carlo: “My only complaint is the current scarcity of shared hosting companies officially supporting RoR and Django. I hope this situation will change in 2007.”

    Hi, I have a Django test site on DreamHost and it works fine with FCGI.

    A more focused and supportive company is WebFaction: they officially support Django (with mod_python) and Rails. Their new prices are really affordable and their uptime is outstanding.

    Other popular Django-friendly web hosts are Bluehost and TextDrive.

  10. Lorenzo says:

    I personally wish technologies such as RoR and Django _won’t_ make it in 2007 in the sense that only we *hackers* would continue to use it and maintain our competitive advantage over other people using .NET/Java/Whatever

    On thing that has been under our nose for a while but was recently highlighted by a JoelOnSoftware Forum post is that BIG_APPLICATIONS in C++/C# don’t look nearly as big in Python/Ruby/etc… because of the latter kind of language expressiveness… if you think of this together with the principle (forgot who said this) that every line of code is a _cost_ NOT an *asset* you have a pretty clear picture of the importance of technologies such as Django/Rails.

    [inflamatory content]
    If development in C#/ASP.NET is so easy why wasn’t i able to purchase an album from http://music.msn.com/ last time i tried (about 3 months ago) no matter what browser i used. Considering that’s a music store it should be pretty important to have the purchasing workflow working
    [/inflamatory]

  11. Lorenzo says:

    Sorry for the formatting but the blog engine ate my underscores and rendered them in italic

  12. Hugues Lamy says:

    Two comments on all of the above.
    First, I don’t think that Ruby on Rails solve all issues. It is a fantastic product, but my business partener and I think that we should carefully use the right product (Java/Ruby on Rails/PHP) for the right problem.

    Second, 2006 for Ruby on Rails was a year of Innovation. It is now to the early adopter to talk, teach and demonstrate the power of Ruby on Rails. It is up to us to make a wave and depending on the strength of our voice, will make the wave big, or cave-in rapidly and disapear. Yakov Fain could be right, but to avoid this we have to speak up.

    Merry Christmas.

    Hugues

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