Forum: Ruby Rails' effect on Ruby as a language

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Trans (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 04:41
(Received via mailing list)
A while back I wondered if Rails threatened to subordinate Ruby. (See
ruby-talk:138502). It is interesting to note that for the month of
March '06 ruby-talk has 2329 messages so far, while the Rails list
(removed_email_address@domain.invalid) has 3945. I don't think that's
significant enough to confirm, but it does lend some weight to the
somewhat troubling idea.

T.
carlos tirado (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 06:12
(Received via mailing list)
On 3/14/06, Trans <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> ... It is interesting to note that for the month of
> March '06 ruby-talk has 2329 messages so far, while the Rails list
> (removed_email_address@domain.invalid) has 3945. I don't think that's
> significant enough to confirm, but it does lend some weight to the
> somewhat troubling idea.

While I no longer subscribe to the Rails list, I left it with the
impression that a disproportionate number of the messages there were
either never answered, threads-of-one, simply of no interest (for me
of course), however you want to put it... abysmal signal-to-noise
ratio. In fact, I rather liked it when the volume here was lower than
it is now. In this case quantity certainly does not correlate to
quality.

C
John W. Long (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 06:21
(Received via mailing list)
Trans wrote:
> A while back I wondered if Rails threatened to subordinate Ruby. (See
> ruby-talk:138502). It is interesting to note that for the month of
> March '06 ruby-talk has 2329 messages so far, while the Rails list
> (removed_email_address@domain.invalid) has 3945. I don't think that's
> significant enough to confirm, but it does lend some weight to the
> somewhat troubling idea.

I'm curious as to why you find this troubling.

There is no doubt in my mind that Rails has had a huge impact on the
Ruby community. Speaking as the former organizer of the Chicago Ruby
Group, I really believe the effect has been a positive one. Ruby has
needed an influx of users in order to achieve main stream usage.

I think Rails is taking us over the tipping point.

Granted there are some things that have changed with more widespread
adoption. Ruby-Talk itself has increased in traffic so much that I can
barely keep touch with it (like I used to). But in general, Rails has
meant more users for the Ruby community and more users in this case
means more jobs and work for those of us who love Ruby to enjoy.

Rails has also given Ruby users something to brag about.

It used to be extremely hard to convince people that Ruby Web
applications could be used in a production environment. It was fairly
common to see this thrown out on the mailing list. And surprisingly the
answer was often the same: yes Ruby can scale, use fast CGI! And guess
what we are now doing with Rails?

This doesn't mean that there are not some negative effects of having
Rails bring Ruby into such popularity, but I'm of the opinion that the
pros far outweigh the cons. In general it seems that many people are
getting into Ruby because of Rails, but they often don't stay there. In
our little group in Chicago we are enjoying a ton of visibility right
now because of Rails. And while we have done meetups on Rails and
organized events around it, we've also found that once people get in
they seem to want to learn more about Ruby than Rails.

On the negative effects end I can certainly say myself that there are
things that I do not like about Rails. Things about the framework itself
or things about the way it has been marketed... But surely there are
warts on nearly every hero's face. Surely, too, it is easy to criticize
the man who has stepped into the ring, but to have stepped into the ring
yourself is a far different thing. To attempt and do what David and his
team have done is amazing and deserves our respect--not our resentment.

One day Rails will find itself in the dustbin of abandoned projects. But
until that day why fret because Rails is doing so well? After all, Rails
is great because Ruby is great. Ruby is becoming popular because Rails
is popular, but when Rails is gone the beauty of the Ruby programing
language will have left an impression on a generation of programmers
that will not be forgotten. Ruby's greatness will outlive Rails'
popularity.

Rails is just a framework. Ruby is a mind-altering language.

Forgive the passionate tone in this e-mail. I probably wasn't in on the
last conversation... :-)
Ryan L. (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 06:28
(Received via mailing list)
On 3/14/06, John W. Long <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
>
> Forgive the passionate tone in this e-mail. I probably wasn't in on the
> last conversation... :-)

Well said, and I agree. But I do see Trans point in all this, and it
is a concern I too have shared. Frankly I think we just need more
killer apps/frameworks for Ruby to bring the hype back to the language
itself and not just one framework. But Rails has done a good job
starting the trend. But there are still plenty of other domains which
could be improved with a nice Ruby tool.

Ryan
Raphael S. (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 12:30
Am just a newbie to both Rails and Ruby myself, but... frankly...
if there hadn't been such a great language behind Rails, I wouldn't
have stayed for a very long time.

Just took me a few days until I found out about the Gtk+ bindings
for Ruby and never wanted to touch anything else anymore.

There's still tears every morning at the workplace when you have to
use PHP again.

-- Raphael
Gregory S. (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 16:32
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, Mar 15, 2006 at 11:38:45AM +0900, Trans wrote:
} A while back I wondered if Rails threatened to subordinate Ruby. (See
} ruby-talk:138502). It is interesting to note that for the month of
} March '06 ruby-talk has 2329 messages so far, while the Rails list
} (removed_email_address@domain.invalid) has 3945. I don't think that's
} significant enough to confirm, but it does lend some weight to the
} somewhat troubling idea.

I have been programming for over two decades, but I only recently
learned
Ruby. I used Rails as a means to learn the language, and my first real
attempt at a Ruby project was, indeed, a Rails app.

That said, I learned Ruby largely because I had been waiting for
something
to come along that was an improvement over Bourne shell/awk/sed without
offending my sensibilities (the executable line noise of Perl?
significant
whitespace in Python? yuck). I recently wrote a 60 line Ruby script to
do
some fun things with iPhoto albums, thanks to the iphoto2 and plist
gems. I
don't know if I'm likely to use Ruby for GUI apps (I'm fond of C++, C#,
and
Obj-C for that), but I'll keep using it for scripting and web apps. I
genuinely like the language.

I'm on both the ruby-talk and rails lists, and they are on similar
levels.
I see the following sorts of posts on the two lists:

  ruby-talk           |  rails
----------------------+-----------------------
  stupid newbies who  |  stupid newbies who
  can't read docs     |  can't read docs
                      |
  newbies who really  |  newbies who really
  want to learn, but  |  want to learn, but
  need clarification  |  need clarification
                      |
  followups to the    |  followups to the
  above with either   |  above with either
  explanations or     |  explanations or
  pointers to docs    |  pointers to docs
                      |
  announcements of    |  announcements of
  books, websites, or |  books, websites, or
  code (gems, etc.)   |  code (gems, etc.)
                      |
  bitching about      |  bitching about text
  unicode support     |  encoding in JavaScript
                      |
  Ruby Q.           |  "I made this website
                      |   with Rails, check it
                      |   out!"

Except for that last one, I'd call it a tie.

} T.
--Greg
Jacob F. (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 19:10
(Received via mailing list)
On 3/14/06, Trans <removed_email_address@domain.invalid> wrote:
> A while back I wondered if Rails threatened to subordinate Ruby. (See
> ruby-talk:138502). It is interesting to note that for the month of
> March '06 ruby-talk has 2329 messages so far, while the Rails list
> (removed_email_address@domain.invalid) has 3945. I don't think that's
> significant enough to confirm, but it does lend some weight to the
> somewhat troubling idea.

I wouldn't take the comparitive volumes of the lists as indicative of
an overshadowing. I find myself (generally) to be much more likely to
get on the mailing list for a library (e.g. xmlsec1) as opposed to the
general list for a language (e.g. C). My presence on ruby-talk is the
exception. Now, for most languages, where there are several "killer
apps", I think if you took the combined traffic for all the mailing
lists for each app, it would also dwarf the traffic for the general
language list. Ruby is (so far) unique in that there's only one
mainstream "killer app". I agree with Ryan L. that our focus should
not be to compete Ruby vs. Rails, but just build a broader base of
"killer apps" in other domains and the prominence of Ruby itself will
follow naturally.

Jacob F.
Joshua Volz (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 21:06
(Received via mailing list)
I am just starting to learn Ruby, and I am very excited about it.  In
sharing my excitement with other programmers, I do often get the "well,
what
is written in Ruby?" question.  I can talk about Rails to some extent,
but I
think we do need more variety in the types of killer apps that we
produce in
Ruby.  Particularly for someone like me who is coming from an all
Windows
forms C# background.  The first question I got was "can you make
scalable
windows application in it?"

Which, btw, if anyone has the answer to that question I would be
eternally
grateful.


Joshua Volz
unknown (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 21:15
(Received via mailing list)
On Thu, 16 Mar 2006, Joshua Volz wrote:

> I am just starting to learn Ruby, and I am very excited about it.  In
> sharing my excitement with other programmers, I do often get the "well, what
> is written in Ruby?" question.  I can talk about Rails to some extent, but I
> think we do need more variety in the types of killer apps that we produce in
> Ruby.  Particularly for someone like me who is coming from an all Windows
> forms C# background.  The first question I got was "can you make scalable
> windows application in it?"
>
> Which, btw, if anyone has the answer to that question I would be eternally
> grateful.

not windows - but certainly 'scalable'

   http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/7922

we've been running 30 or so computers for nearly two years now.  24x7.
over a
million jobs.  zero failurs.  zero admin time.

regards.

-a
Tom C. (Guest)
on 2006-03-15 21:22
(Received via mailing list)
> I am just starting to learn Ruby, and I am very excited about
> it.  In sharing my excitement with other programmers, I do
> often get the "well, what is written in Ruby?" question.  I
> can talk about Rails to some extent, but I think we do need
> more variety in the types of killer apps that we produce in
> Ruby.  Particularly for someone like me who is coming from an
> all Windows forms C# background.  The first question I got
> was "can you make scalable windows application in it?"

Yup, we did:

http://getindi.com/

Yours,

Tom
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