Is Rails Stagnating?
On a business level, it made it an order of maginitude easier to create a websites. Companies that could not afford websites now can. Small teams that did not have the ability to build great services, now can. Twitter, even though it eventually moved on from Rails, is an example. This pushed the creation of all sorts of cool new services, and ideas.
On a programming level, its embraced the use of meta-programming. Not a new idea, and possible in many languages to some extent. However meta-programming was always considered far too complex to be understood by mere mortals. The word magic was regularly used to describe it. Now teenagers working on small ruby libraries use meta-programming regularly. Its become common place. Ok, so its often used where its not necessary, but its no-longer considered too scary to even go near.
So the question becomes – is Rails still pushing for order of magnitude improvements?
Many web sites are now services more than sites, they want to use things like server push, asynchronous processing, schemaless databases, and probably other things we don’t yet know about. Rails can feel painful, and a colleague of mine even says he finds it too constraining to do these things in.
Rails created a momentum by pushing some developers on by an order of magnitude (and left many more stagnated and left behind). That momentum still exists, is Rails keeping up with it, or holding it back?
Well right now, Rails has stagnated, but this is because its doing a thorough rewrite, making many much needed improvements. As we get closer and closer to Rails 3, I wonder if afterwards, we will see it once again start to push the boundaries, or if we will need to look elsewhere…
Twitter certainly felt they had to look elsewhere.