It seems in the last few weeks, there has been an especially hot debate around Ruby on Rails (RoR) and Grails. The debate on both sides has been respectful, and most importantly, a lot of good ideas are being exchanged:

  • Ruby On Rails the Java Way: Grails
  • Grails vs Rails Myth #1: Grails has a fraction of what Rails has to offer
  • Grails functionality Vs Rails functionality

I wrote a few weeks ago about how I weighed these alternatives in my own situation. I still stand by my conclusions (which I will be putting to the test soon), and would add that I think JRuby on Rails as an option seems to be getting lost in these discussions.

As a long-time Java programmer, I think that Java true believers, those heavily invested in Java at the expense of entertaining alternatives, will always be skeptical of both Ruby and RoR; aside from Java being their language of choice, Java has earned a position in which everything else will be compared to it and judged by its merits. The existence of a Rails inspired framework in Java will only make that comparison more difficult for RoR.

But while Graeme emphasizes the relative immaturity of ActiveRecord vs. Hibernate, I would point out that with JRuby on Rails, I should be able to use RoR with Hibernate (or in my case, iBatis is my preference) if its capabilities are worth the trade-off of ActiveRecord’s ease of use. JRuby on Rails, especially given Sun’s backing of JRuby and the importance the JRuby team have placed on getting Rails to work seamlessly with JRuby, could easily become the combination of technologies that begins to interest even the Java true believers in the Rails approach.

In my opinion then, it’s JRuby that is the potentially disruptive technology here, and it would be interesting to hear Graeme address JRuby on Rails as he has RoR. Either way, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Worlds are colliding, and hopefully in the coming years one set of ideas will win decisively over the other, and we can then move onto the next paradigm shift a little smarter than before.

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