Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Ruby on Rails: Thoughts by a Former Python Fanatic

13 May 2005

I read some critiques of Ruby on Rails today—and I’m not sure some of the people weren’t just missing some of the point.
Programmers tend to forget how inaccessible programming is. Even seasoned programmers occasionally do the bang-head-against-desk thing while trying to figure out how to overcome the limitations of some new thing.
Ruby on Rails is accessible to many who wouldn’t otherwise learn a web application framework. Even if it isn’t sliced bread (couldn’t say, haven’t learned it), it at least teaches concepts that could be useful.
Ian Bicking had some interesting comments about Python. I’ll admit: even though I love Python, it’s never the first tool I reach for for web work. It’s often the first tool I reach for for other work.
A lot of Pythonistas were never taken with Zope. People learned to love/hate Python because of Zope, but rarely the other way around. I’m one of the people who never twigged on Zope. I gave it only a half-hearted try, granted.
I overcame my initial dislike of Java to learn WebObjects, and I learned (some) XSLT in order to generate PDFs. So, like many, I come to the language as a result of the framework, not the other way around.
One of the other people mentioned Myghty, which I confess I hadn’t heard about before. Even so, none of the examples I perused had any database access (and thus missed the point). Further, this shows exactly the sort of problem I hated with mod_python. Compare the sort of httpd.conf used for Ruby on Rails here.
As far as I’m concerned, Rails is so much more maintainable in that regard it’s not even funny.

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