Rails' effect on Ruby as a language

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Trans, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Trans

    Trans Guest

    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
    () has 3945. I don't think that's
    significant enough to confirm, but it does lend some weight to the
    somewhat troubling idea.

    Trans, Mar 15, 2006
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  2. 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

    carlos tirado, Mar 15, 2006
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  3. Trans

    John W. Long Guest

    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... :)
    John W. Long, Mar 15, 2006
  4. 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 Leavengood, Mar 15, 2006
  5. 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
    Raphael Schmid, Mar 15, 2006
  6. 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
    } () 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 Quiz | "I made this website
    | with Rails, check it
    | out!"

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

    } T.
    Gregory Seidman, Mar 15, 2006
  7. Trans

    Jacob Fugal Guest

    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 Fugal
    Jacob Fugal, Mar 15, 2006
  8. Trans

    Joshua Volz Guest

    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

    Joshua Volz
    Joshua Volz, Mar 15, 2006
  9. Trans

    ara.t.howard Guest

    not windows - but certainly 'scalable'


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


    ara.t.howard, Mar 15, 2006
  10. Trans

    Tom Copeland Guest

    I am just starting to learn Ruby, and I am very excited about
    Yup, we did:



    Tom Copeland, Mar 15, 2006
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