In Joel Spolsky’s new Language Wars, he argues that .NET, Java, PHP, and maybe Python are the safe choices if you’re going to build out a Web app that’s really big and really critical. He ices this cake with a shovelful of classic FUD aimed at Ruby and Rails. Not surprisingly, David Heinemeier Hansson volleys back twice with Fear, Uncertain, and Doubt by Joel Spolsky and Was Joel’s Wasabi a joke? Bruce Tate has a more thoughtful response over at InfoQ: From Java to Ruby: Risk. You may not agree with all of Bruce’s points, but they’re well argued. It may surprise some who’ve endured the flood of Ruby-red writing around here recently, but I think Joel’s correct that Python is quite a bit better proven than Ruby; and also that Ruby has a big Unicode problem. But I can’t get around the fact that Joel sounds exactly like a mainframe droid talking about Personal Computers, or a VMS droid talking about Unix, or an EDI droid talking about the Web, or a C++ droid talking about Java. Yeah, the new thing is kinda unproven and kinda shaky in places and kinda slow and not very full-featured. But it’s got ease-of-use advantages and programmer-productivity advantages and developers like to use it. See the Technology Predictor Success Matrix, and particularly the last three criteria: Happy Programmers, Technical Elegance, and especially the 80/20 Point. Joel’s probably wrong.