Recently, Ruby on Rails has had a lot of press. This month’s Dr. Dobbs has a cover story: “Ruby On Rails: Java’s Successor?“. Having attended a full day Rails tutorial at the start of XTech, I must say I am pretty impressed. If you are building database-backed web apps from scratch – and, let’s face it, a heck of a lot of people are – it’s great. I’ve not seen anything else that gives you so much for so little work.
But it seems to me that the ideas that Rails is based on – convention over configuration, special purpose frameworks for quickly performing common tasks, MVC, domain-specific languages, test driven development – are “the future”. In the future, all of these ideas will be received wisdom – people working on web applications from scratch will be looked upon with the same mix of pity and fear as someone writing a desktop app in assembler would be looked upon today.
At the moment, Rails may well be the best embodiment of those principles. But it doesn’t have to have exclusivity. So that’s why I say that the future is “something like Rails”. It could be Rails – but If another thing comes along which follows those principles and improves upon them, that will be the future.
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