Why I don’t believe in Ruby – and you shouldn’t either.

September 1, 2015
Posted in Web Development

Ruby once was the rising star in the server side development world. Many angry Java programmers (I suspect) jumped on the Ruby on Rails bandwagon, tired of the bloatware that Java and J2EE had become.

… I don’t blame them. Java used to be my #1 language for several years. But no more and for the same reasons.

Is Ruby dead?

Not yet, but it is slowly dying because its advantages (if there ever was,) are largely gone. PHP Laravel is at least as good as Rails.

Not enough market share

Big problem: Ruby (Rails) never really got a big enough position in the market, like Java and PHP have. Last I checked, Ruby based sites/apps are around 5% (at most!) of the market, whereas PHP has about 80%.

No must-have Ruby apps

PHP has 4 big things going for it:

  1. WordPress
  2. Joomla
  3. Drupal
  4. Facebook

… The above 4 are created with PHP. WordPress alone powers something like 25-30% of the world’s websites! Now consider that Facebook is investing heavily into PHP making it better and faster. No such heavy-hitter for Ruby and Rails last I checked.

Also, keep in mind that standard run-of-the-mill PHP, runs circles around Ruby at runtime.

The presence of the 3 biggest CMS’, along with Facebook’s backing, will insure that PHP is here for a long while. Ruby has none of the above.

Ruby is still a biatch, when it comes to getting a webapp online

Try teaching a noob how to get a Rails ‘hello world’ app online. Try teaching a noob to get a PHP ‘hello world’ app online. PHP = upload php page. Done.

Ruby: install gems, read 5 pages, watch incomprehensible videos by nerds who couldn’t teach Hawking ‘hello world’. Good luck with that barrier to entry. PHP is just too damned easy to go live with relative to Ruby and Rails.

Ruby is no longer cool – it’s JavaScript these days

The only thing holding Ruby together was a hipster coder community of twenty-something year old nerds who are now thirty-something nerds. Meanwhile most of the young nerdlings are going gaga for JavaScript and Node.js. What will Ruby do without the hipster mojo? It will slowly fade.

What’s a young nerd to learn?

Well, from a guy who’s been coding since the 1990’s, from a guys who’s built apps in 8-9 languages over the years, from a guy who has built apps for publically traded companies and every other sized business, these days you ought to learn PHP and JavaScript.

…They rule supreme now, and will for the foreseeable future.

Stefan Mischook


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