Ruby on Snails

I’ve been reading, hearing, and looking at blogs that state Ruby on
Rails is rather slow. Coming from a VB 6 world (thank you Microsoft for
killing VB because VB.NET is NOT VB) I was always told that VB was a toy
or too slow. Now, I’ll easily tell you that yes VB was not a great
language. It had it’s share of warts, like a lot of other languages I
might add, but in the end you could build almost anything in VB and it
ran well enough for 99% of apps.

So I was curious to see the same thing being applied to Ruby on Rails.
I’ve seen conversations that it:

  1. Doesn’t scale
  2. Its too slow
  3. Its script, no one takes that seriously in the enterprise

I’ve done a lot of testing with both Ruby and with Rails. First, I
haven’t hit any issues where I’ve found it too slow. On the contrary
I’ve found that when you get Rails setup correctly it performs
exceptionally well (Litespeed’s LSAPI is insanely fast once configured).

It certainly scales. The websites are out there proving this (Basecamp,
43Things, Yakima Herald, etc.) Sure, these sites aren’t eBay or Amazon
but toss enough hardware at Rails and it could be eBay.

I take script VERY seriously. Occasionally I’ll find myself in
Objective-C to do some low level dirty work on the sytems level BUT when
it comes to the web how many people aren’t using a scripting language of
some sort? (Perl, Python, ASP, PHP?)

These arguments don’t seem to hold a whole lot of water IMHO. My
company’s next project is going to be 100% RoR and I already expect our
dev time to be less than that of ASP.NET/C# (our current tool). Rails
is evolving very fast and that is actually a good thing. (Begin
Microsoft Rant --> Rails has excellent AJAX support whereas ASP.NET has
STILL got Atlas in perma-beta. Sorry Microsoft but 7+ months and
counting to get a released version of Atlas out is unacceptable - where
does all that R&D money go? Answer: pie in the sky ideas like Zune and
XBox).

On Jul 31, 2006, at 9:37 AM, Ted Bittle wrote:

So I was curious to see the same thing being applied to Ruby on Rails.

language of
counting to get a released version of Atlas out is unacceptable -
where
does all that R&D money go? Answer: pie in the sky ideas like Zune
and
XBox).

I’m not sure why you don’t think those arguments hold much water. I
guess you’re looking for something a bit bigger? If you google
around a bit, you can find a number of speed comparisons between ruby
and other languages. This one is nice:
http://www.timestretch.com/FractalBenchmark.html

There’s another one like it that includes YARV benchmarks, but I
can’t turn it up.

It is quite definitely slow. But not so slow to make it a problem.
Similar to the scaling issue, there are a lot of big sites using it
with no trouble at all.

I also like this article from DHH on scaling: http://
www.loudthinking.com/arc/000479.html

And I think the capistrano tutorial is a good testament to scaling
RoR. The second example is a 5 server, scalable setup!

As for scripting, I think people that don’t take interpreted
languages seriously are really just showing their age. Like you
said: perl, python, asp, php… interpreted languages make the world
go round, these days. Are they good for everything? No. Are they
good for web-apps (among other things, of course)? Hell yes.

But if you’re company is already committed during the next project,
why worry? Let RoR prove (or disprove if that’s your case) it’s
worthiness.
-Mat

Mat S. wrote:

I’m not sure why you don’t think those arguments hold much water. I
guess you’re looking for something a bit bigger? If you google
around a bit, you can find a number of speed comparisons between ruby
and other languages. This one is nice:
http://www.timestretch.com/FractalBenchmark.html

Drawing ASCII characters out to the console doesn’t make for a
compelling or fair speed comparison of languages.

On Jul 31, 2006, at 10:31 AM, Ron Teasly wrote:

Mat S. wrote:

I’m not sure why you don’t think those arguments hold much water. I
guess you’re looking for something a bit bigger? If you google
around a bit, you can find a number of speed comparisons between ruby
and other languages. This one is nice:
http://www.timestretch.com/FractalBenchmark.html

Drawing ASCII characters out to the console doesn’t make for a
compelling or fair speed comparison of languages.

It’s the math that’s the burden, not the ascii characters.
What would you recommend?
-Mat

Mat S. wrote:

It’s the math that’s the burden, not the ascii characters.
What would you recommend?

Well something real world to start with. Why not set each up to query a
database filter through the results, do some updates, etc. Create
socket servers, pass info between and see the performance. Create a web
app, etc.

Math stuff is pretty much useless for most real world apps. People need
to hook up to Pay Pal, Amazon S3, etc. No one is rendering a mandlebrot
on their website and wondering why its slow.

On Jul 31, 2006, at 11:53 AM, Ron Teasly wrote:

app, etc.

Math stuff is pretty much useless for most real world apps. People
need
to hook up to Pay Pal, Amazon S3, etc. No one is rendering a
mandlebrot
on their website and wondering why its slow.

Well, I think the reason you don’t see more metrics like that is that
it’s difficult if not impossible to make solid measurements in those
situations. If a database (or paypal or s3) is involved, you could
easily end up benchmarking that link in the chain. And that’s not
even going into the differences in how each language hooks up to a
database or web service.

If you want to look at it as a business case, I think you’d do much
better to focus on case-studies rather than benchmarks. Granted, the
graphs are pretty, but benchmarks in general don’t tell you anything
about the real world.
-Mat

Sorry for a silly question, but what is the “capistrano tutorial”? I
would
appricate a link if someone has it.

Thank you,
Rob B.

On 7/31/06, Mat S. [email protected] wrote:

language. It had it’s share of warts, like a lot of other languages I
haven’t hit any issues where I’ve found it too slow. On the contrary
I take script VERY seriously. Occasionally I’ll find myself in
is evolving very fast and that is actually a good thing. (Begin
guess you’re looking for something a bit bigger? If you google

good for web-apps (among other things, of course)? Hell yes.
http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails

Robert B.
http://www.robertbazinet.com

On 7/31/06, Robert B. [email protected] wrote:

Sorry for a silly question, but what is the “capistrano tutorial”? I would
appricate a link if someone has it.

http://wiki.rubyonrails.com/rails/pages/Capistrano

Thank you.

On 7/31/06, Greg D. [email protected] wrote:

Greg D.
http://destiney.com/


Rails mailing list
[email protected]
http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails

Robert B.
http://www.robertbazinet.com

Ted Bittle wrote:

I’ve been reading, hearing, and looking at blogs that state Ruby on
Rails is rather slow. Coming from a VB 6 world (thank you Microsoft for
killing VB because VB.NET is NOT VB) I was always told that VB was a toy
or too slow. Now, I’ll easily tell you that yes VB was not a great
language. It had it’s share of warts, like a lot of other languages I
might add, but in the end you could build almost anything in VB and it
ran well enough for 99% of apps.

Having done quite a bit of VB dev, I know 99% is way way too optimistic.
One only needs to look through the book “Hardcore Visual Basic” to see
the incredibly inane hacks needed to get VB to do more than the most
basic of things.

Joe

Joe wrote:

Having done quite a bit of VB dev, I know 99% is way way too optimistic.
One only needs to look through the book “Hardcore Visual Basic” to see
the incredibly inane hacks needed to get VB to do more than the most
basic of things.

Hmmmm, I never had to resort to inane hacks for my VB programming and I
did everything from your typical 3-tier apps, to ActiveX
controls/dlls/documents, DirectX, to even VB CGIs in the early days of
the Internet. The only thing that ever could have been an issue was the
single threaded nature of VB itself but I only once ever hit a point
where I had which I could have spawned off a thread in the background.

Never did it ever happen that I had to do something in VC++ instead and
I’ve been working professionally in VB since 1996 and VC++ since 1998.

Steve I.


–> The Watcher MUD <—

Telnet toward a new dawn

Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for and very interesting
information.

-Rob

On 7/31/06, Mat S. [email protected] wrote:

I found it impressive that the second example (http://

Robert B.
http://www.robertbazinet.com

I’m not sure how good math is as a benchmark. But if you want to use
math and see what’s coming here is a good posting about YARV and the
future of ruby:

http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/cgi-bin/scat.rb/ruby/ruby-talk/201563

Can’t wait!

AEM

Good to hear that Ruby on Rails is faster than PHP, because for me, all
that matters is beating my competitor who uses PHP. I’d also like to
point out that despite speed, which has been debatable, Rails cuts dev
time, and allows you to gain an advantage over the competition in
rolling out web apps. And anything can be sped up given the proper
hardware; given less developement costs, it is possible to spend more on
the actual server infrastructure.

On Jul 31, 2006, at 1:18 PM, Robert B. wrote:

Sorry for a silly question, but what is the “capistrano tutorial”?
I would appricate a link if someone has it.

This was the one I was referring too:
http://manuals.rubyonrails.com/read/book/17

I found it impressive that the second example (http://
manuals.rubyonrails.com/read/chapter/100) is a 6 server setup. That
basically squashed all my worries about scaling.

Granted, I haven’t tried it myself yet.

-Mat

Ruby is pretty damn slow. and with a few pieces of commodity hardware
Rails
can serve millions of hits a day. that should tell you everything you
need
to know about the marketing of other frameworks, ones built on
‘enterprise-grade’ java, etc. as for profiling, im not sure what kind of
work is going on. but theres neat profiles of camping in Red Handed’s
post
history, so i presume you could apply the same techniques to Rails.

in the event things arent io bound or pushed down to an optimized layer
of C
(the DB, HTTP serving, etc), you can tweak to your hearts content with
YARV
or any of the other multi-language VM’s making the rounds in academic
circles these daysll…

View this message in context:
http://www.nabble.com/Ruby-on-Snails-tf2027561.html#a5588054
Sent from the RubyOnRails Users forum at Nabble.com.

On Aug 1, 2006, at 8:09 AM, David M. wrote:

degree of granularity where the delays are coming from, but they seem
several streams of testing, conciseness, etc. in terms of actually
getting a meaningful product deployed. With 100+
architects/developers/testers plus the best tools and support money
can buy, the app I’m currently testing paints a clear picture that
enterprise Java development and infrastructure is woefully behind the
times in all of these key areas.

Regards

Dave M.

Well said! I love to hear this stuff, but haven’t been exposed to
enough of the IBM/Sun stuff to talk about it myself. Thanks for
sharing!
-Mat

As another data point re “enterprise-grade” Java solutions, I’m
currently performance testing a massive portal app that uses IBM’s
WebSEAL servers for authentication. We’ve got a whopping 10
concurrent users accessing it, and it runs like a slug on 2 high-end
dedicated Linux server-class systems. It has to scale to 3000+
concurrent users.

No problem, the bottleneck will be obvious and a bit of tuning will
fix it. Well, that’s what I thought too, but IBM’s own experts are
having a lot of trouble doing exactly that. I can monitor with a high
degree of granularity where the delays are coming from, but they seem
powerless to fix it. One guy was brought in at IBM’s recommendation
specifically to profile and tune the login process; he’s been at it
for about 2 months so far, and has very little in the way of tangible
improvement to show for all that time. We’re now starting to hear the
dreaded “fixed in the next release” mantra, which pretty much equates
to “we have no idea” in my experience.

While I’m not suggesting that a 100% RoR based solution would be
appropriate in this case, there’s an awful lot to be said for RoR’s
simplicity, horizontal scalability, easy deployment, support for
several streams of testing, conciseness, etc. in terms of actually
getting a meaningful product deployed. With 100+
architects/developers/testers plus the best tools and support money
can buy, the app I’m currently testing paints a clear picture that
enterprise Java development and infrastructure is woefully behind the
times in all of these key areas.

Regards

Dave M.

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