I’ve been talking recently to traditional Java EE shops about “Web 2.0” in general and modern Web development frameworks in particular and Rails in particular particular. What I’ve ended up saying (speaking only for myself, this isn’t Sun dogma) is along these lines: “Rails isn’t going to sweep the other Web technologies away. But those other technologies are learning its lessons; so it’s worth checking out.”

One symptom is the flow of new frameworks crossing my radar as regular as clockwork, advertising themselves as Rails-beating. I’m prepared to believe that some might be; Rails was the first to hit its particular sweet spot, but the ecosystem has lots of room for invention and growth.

This week, I was particularly taken by the cheery charms of the lift Web Framework, whose pitch begins “lift is yet another web development framework...” They say it performs 6 times faster than Rails (not five, not seven, but six). Must be good, then.


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From: Alper (May 09 2007, at 06:34)

It might be fast as hell, but for all I can see their website is down.


From: Pat Berry (May 09 2007, at 06:58)

I'm not alone! I'm actually giving a presentation at JA-SIG this year call "Lessons Learned from Rails Development" where I want to convey the same basic idea you are. I want to remind the Java developers looking down their nose at Ruby and Rails that Java was once considered a "toy" language because obviously you couldn't do anything real without pointers. Don't be complacent, borrow what's good about new things, and stay alive.


From: Rafael (May 09 2007, at 08:59)

I'm not really familiar with Lift, but from what I've seen, speed is not its only differentiator. David Pollack's focus seems to be on safety and security while retaining a quick turnaround time.

And, of course, Rails did profoundly change the web framework landscape. It is hard to see something these days that doesn't at least claim to support Convention over Configuration.


From: Eddie (May 09 2007, at 23:22)

Copycats are a dime a dozen. Too little too late, Rails has momentum and I'm sure it drives lots of people whose neurons are invested years in legacy stuff crazy.

It took a really cool kid from Copenhagen to kick the industry's ass into motion. Rails genesis was from a guy who was no where near (physically or culturally) the incestuous arrogant "know-it-all" confines of Silicon Valley.

Why didn't Sun, Apple, Google, et al come up with Rails?

Apple has done diddle squat with WebObjects except to fork it as closed source in-house to support the back end of the iTunes store and Apple on-line store.

Sun in the mean time, during the McNealy-Baratz Fundamentalist Rule and the spirals of time waste thereafter, was spending most of its precious cycles suing Microsoft instead of raising the bar (exceptions such as but not limited to ZFS and DTrace which rock the planet but these aren't web development frameworks).

David H. Hansson with his insight and artistic talents raised the bar, plain and simple and its obviously clear that there are a great many geeks in and out of Silicon Valley who are jealous

Oh yeah, and thanks to Matz in Japan for having the insight for spearhead the development of Ruby to make Rails possible. Ruby never had the cash behind it for marketing like what Sun has put into Java. Good god, just the other day Sun's CEO said that Sun is still trying to figure out how to monetize Java and one way is to have some sort of Java OS running on a phone trying to steal Steve's thunder (iPhone)? Looks to me like more jealousy and a lack of focus on innovation that rolls on from the McNealy-Baratz years (ironic in some ways that Ed Zander moved from Sun to Motorola near Chicago to catch those Cubs games at Wrigley Field).

Sorry Tim, but Sun even to this day, very very deeply, has a DNA problem with fully embracing open source. They also blew it with OpenOffice when years ago Sun had at once promised the OpenOffice Foundation but then Sun's lawyers with their eyes wide open and being sue-happy (gun ho against Microsoft) back pedaled on the OpenOffice Foundation (OpenOffice Foundation could have been just as successful as the Apache and Eclipse Foundations).


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