ROR vs Java vs AJAX for a web application?

I’m considering developing a consumer focused web application that
will use lots of graphs. These graphs need to be manipulated using
controls such a sliders, increase/decrease buttons, etc and the graphs
will need to dynamically change in real time. Drag and drop
functionality within the graphs would be a huge plus. I am a project
manager, not a developer, and I am exploring the most appropriate
technologies to use. Besides the dynamic UI capability, I will need
simple, scalable, and secure code that can be built fast and modified
easily in a agile dev environment.

I would really appreciate someone helping understand the benefits and
risks associated with each of the technologies listed, with a focus on
ROR. IF you can point to relevant samples or current products/sites
outside of the 37Signals links, that would be a big help too.

Thanks in advance!

I’m assuming you want the graphs to be changed within the browser
without a page reload? That should be a decision made early on. It
sounds like your choice is between RoR/Ajax, Java/Ajax, Java/Applet,
Java/JavaFX. If you’ve already decided to go the Ajax route for
displaying the graphs, the choice Java or Ruby is no different than
for any other project since they don’t affect your graphs (which will
be done in javascript and generated in the browser).

The demo page for the PlotKit javascript library:

Your best bet would be to have a technical guy you trust do this
evaluation. There are plenty of articles evaluating RoR as an
enterprise solution. Just look around.


Why not use flash for the dynamic control? Sounds perfect for such a

On 7/15/07, [email protected] [email protected] wrote:

The demo page for the PlotKit javascript library:

will use lots of graphs. These graphs need to be manipulated using
ROR. IF you can point to relevant samples or current products/sites
outside of the 37Signals links, that would be a big help too.

Thanks in advance!

seth at subimage interactive

Cashboard - Estimates, invoices, and time tracking software - for free!

Substruct - Open source RoR e-commerce software.

I’ve done a lot with XML/SWF charts and AJAX. There’s a plugin called
for Rails that makes those charts work great in a rails application.
charts look great cos they’re Flash, and you can customize how they

ZiYa plugin:

I’ve used these charts in PHP and ASP before, works fine, just need to
XML to them, so no matter what language you choose to use, this could be

On 7/16/07, [email protected]
[email protected]

We have made some very good experiences using flex and the charting-
package. The Charts look&feel great, are easy to setup and customise
and if you have the time, you can tweak it to your hearts desire,
altough it comes with rich funtionality out-of-the-box. On the last
project we used it in conjunction with seam/jsf/jboss, which worked
quite ok: Communication with the server can either be done via
remoting or - as we prefer - via simple exchange of xml: This allows
you to setup tests more easily, as the url can be invoked and the xml
parsed without the need of some remoting-frameworks and/or

We recently switched from seam/jsf to rails: REST-support was the main
reason. Most probably, you will have a need to push out your graph-
data for various clients (eg. XML for flex and testing, json for an
ajax-client, csv for excel-import) - this is where respond_to comes in
very handy: This feature really keeps your codebase very tight and
reduces the amount of code needed signifgicantly (compared to a jsf/
jee app). You can find some good examples for connecting flex&rails
here: Google Code Archive - Long-term storage for Google Code Project Hosting.

However, switching from java to ror is not without problems, basically
because you have to learn your old tricks in a new way - It takes a
while to get used to the new syntax, libraries etc. and especially
learning how to find bugs on rails takes some time: There are some
areas where you just notice that Java is simply more mature - until
now, none of the issues we encountered where a real showstopper, and
the amount of code you write not with rails made the switch
worthwhile… hope this helps. stf

I would have to second vierundsechzig.

Though I rolled my own graphs, because I thought i would have more
flexibility (I haven’t used the Flex graphs so i cannot tell you whats
It was pretty easy to get lots of functionality, though i have not yet
done a bloomberg style magnify (drag a box around the curve, then
redraw the selected box as the whole graph), it should be easy.

However I do not need the graphs to update with change in data on the
server, without a user action.

If you want a push information to the graph (rather than a continual
poll of the server), perhaps for a minute by minute chart on daily
stock chart, then you may need something like the Macromedia Flex and
Flash Communication Server. I have not figured away to program a http
listener in ActionScript for the client.

Alternatively Java might provide you with the easier/cheaper push
technology, but in my opinion the backend (instead of Rails) and
graphs stuff will be much harder to build from scratch with a Java/
J2EE framework.


On Jul 16, 8:00 am, “[email protected]