AJAX and Ruby on Rails

Two of the hottest “trends” in web programming right now are AJAX and Ruby on Rails. Why are they so hot? I honestly don’t understand the hype. Both are old and proven technologies wrapped up in pretty packaging. One of them isn’t even a new technology, it’s merely an acronym slapped over something whose original name wasn’t flashy enough.

AJAX is just XMLHttpRequest. That’s it folks. Nothing really to see or talk about here. It’s a pretty name for an awesome technology.

Ruby on Rails is the one that really pisses me off. Everyone is heralding it as the second coming in web development. Guess what? It’s just an MVC framework. Whoa! Don’t everyone jump up and shout for joy at the same time.

I can’t possibly be the only one looking around and saying to myself “So what?”. I’ve been programming within an MVC framework for three years. It’s been running large scale websites since then without issue. It uses crazy things like a controller, a presentation layer and leverages PEAR. To everyone doing cartwheels over AJAX and Ruby on Rails I say, “Welcome to the party. You’re late.”

2 thoughts on “AJAX and Ruby on Rails

  1. “I can’t possibly be the only one looking around and saying to myself “So what?” ”

    Nope! I saw the video demo they did and I think that is what was so amazing to people. People love seeing something shown as an example without them having to read any documentation to get going.

    While I am sure it works just dandy, I don’t think it’s anything to bow-down to. More so I am tired of every Slashdot post regarding web development go “screw PHP, use ruby-on-rails” — uhm sure.

  2. It’s funny to see something else go ballistic on this, since I was in the same camp for a long, long time. There’s an…arrogance with Rails that frustrates the crap out of me. I’ve managed to get over it, but I went through a extended phase of wanted to punch Rails evangalists in the mouth.

    However, I’ve started learning Rails because my business partner insists on using it, and we need to know each other’s stuff.

    I’ll grudgingly admit that it’s very good, but I agree that someone could have done the same thing for PHP. The Rails Guy just packaged this up beautifully. It’s exceptionally well-marketed.

    I’ve heard “Cake” is trying to be Rails for PHP, but I haven’t tried it. I’m frustrated that there wasn’t something packaged up like this for PHP so we wouldn’t have to have this conversation.

    I went to the very first “Building of Basecamp” workshop in Chicago, and I met the Rails Guy there. This was before Rails was released. He said that he tried to build Basecamp in PHP, but couldn’t. Or didn’t want to. Or something. While I’m glad he made Rails, I’m quite sure Basecamp would have worked fine as a PHP app.

    When you get down it, a lot of the value of Rails comes from Ruby itself. It’s an extremely competent language, and PHP really left themselves open to be usurped by munging their object-orientation for so long. PHP5 is the first really good object-oriented version of PHP, and it may have been too long in coming.

    But, in the end, I reject any notion that PHP is anything less than a fantastic language. I too have written excellent apps in it, and I will continue to do so. It’s all in the execution.

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