Technology Musings

June 05, 2008

Platforms / Why You Should Bet on Apple and Ruby on Rails


I just had a few friends come back from RailsConf 2008.  1,800 developers showed up.  Wow!

After talking with them, I have the following to offer you as to why you should bet on Ruby-on-Rails:

  1. Ruby-on-Rails is a great platform and just keeps getting better
  2. Sun recognizes the value of Ruby and Rails and is working hard to integrate Ruby and Rails into their Java systems, by making Ruby run on Java, making Rails apps deployable on J2EE containers, and by extending Netbeans to support Java development
  3. Microsoft recognizes the value of Ruby and Rails, and is shifting their entire developer strategy to compensate.  This is the most telling part.  Microsoft has done the following:
    1. They are building a dynamic-language version of their CLR
    2. They are porting Ruby and Rails to their CLR, with their primary goal being compatibility with existing Ruby and Rails (when was the last time you heard Microsoft put compatibility as their primary development goal?)!
    3. They have started developing tools geared at dynamic language support
    4. They have completely re-engineered the ASP.NET libraries in order to adopt a more Rails-like MVC model

The web development world is in a sudden shift towards Rails, simply because it is awesome as a development environment!

So, I also mentioned Apple in my subject.  To understand why I think Apple will continue its path towards domination, keep in mind the following:

  1. Ruby runs on every platform
  2. Rails runs on every platform
  3. Development tools exist for Ruby and Rails on every platfor

My friends who went to RailsConf were stunned by the fact that, almost without exception, every developer at RailsConf had a MacBook Pro.  Think about that.  Apple is capturing the hearts and minds of the upcoming generation of developers.  Even some of my friends who do Windows development, do their development on a Mac running a Windows virtual machine!

Take note of the following facts:

  1. Firefox users are bordering on 20% market share
  2. Microsoft just finished crossing every one of its users with Vista, and the users are revolting by switching to either Mac or back to XP
  3. Mac continues to have the earned reputation of hassle-free "just-working"
  4. Apple has capture the hearts and imaginations  of all developers - from Linux to Mac to even Windows developers.  I'm a Linux developer who switched to Mac.  Why?  Because it appeals both to us old UNIX junkies as well as to the slick and flash artist types.
Be watching Apple.  They are not stopping any time soon.