KillerPHP Blog

What happened to Ruby? And why PHP is KING of the Web.

July 11, 2009

In 2006 I created because I wanted to make it easy for web designers to learn PHP. I thought PHP was THE predominate web programming language and I felt every web designer should include PHP as one of their core coding skills:

– html
– css
– php
– javascript.

Then Ruby came along … for a short while.

What happened to Ruby and Ruby on Rails?

Once upon a time Ruby was the best thing since sliced bread … it was the language to replace all languages and everything else just sucked! Funny, that seems like ages ago.

Today though, the picture is different; Ruby’s shine has since lost its’ luster and the Rails train has practically fallen off the tracks – now there are other web frameworks in the Ruby world that have replaced Rails.

Addendum: Merb and Rails are merging … Rails hasn’t ‘gone off the tracks’. My bad.

So what the heck happened … what stopped the Ruby train ride?

What stopped Ruby from spreading beyond being a niche language is the EXACT same thing that stopped me from jumping on board back in 2006-2007: Ruby’s heart was broken.

– Yes, Ruby has a great syntax.
– Yes it is a lot of fun to program with.
– Yes it is pure object orientation, to the max!

But, there were a lot of holes in Ruby … crucial libraries and functionality that PHP’rs took for granted, the Ruby guys could only dream of … or they could patch it up with some C code. Ouch!

Beyond that, there is Ruby’s dirty little secret: crash-o-matic. Yep, Ruby based web apps used to crash a lot! Web server integration was not stable and was a pain in the ass.

Reference: Twitter Crashing

… To be fair though, I hear that aspect has improved.

What does this have to do with PHP?

As I stated years ago in a blog post about Ruby; PHP’s strengths are found in Ruby’s weaknesses. Yes some aspects of PHP are not as (shall we say) pretty as Ruby. But like good looking people who are jerks, who cares how beautiful they look if their personality sucks.

… OK, maybe you could hang with them for just a short time! But whatever you do, don’t marry them Rob!


Stefan Mischook