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
(email@example.com) 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’
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