Why Rails is going to be better (* than PHP)

Posted on June 6, 2007. Filed under: Rails, Ruby, Scaling |

The Ruby on Rails blogosphere has been buzzing a lot lately with Twitter’s interview and their woes with scaling Twitter. Than over at Terry’s, he reignited the fire with asking “Is Ruby the dog and PHP the dogfood?”

My initial thoughts after reading that post is.. “Wow, someone is real pissed with the Rails community” for whatever reason.

Quoting Mr Chay:

  1. People like me are smart and have to run extremely large scalable internet infrastructures.
  2. People like me have used Rails.
  3. People like me don’t use Rails to build extremely large scalable internet infrastructures

To the Rails developers that’s an inconsistent triad. They’ll say I’m actually dumb and I don’t “get” Rails. To me, it’s completely consistent (They’re right about me being dumb, but that’s what makes me smart):

I’ve not actually seen anyone who has actually made that statement – “Hey, PHP developer, you are dumb!” from the Rails community. Then he goes on to make a comment:

Indeed, some people switched from PHP to Rails because… they failed at PHP. Surprisingly PHP’s powering a significant percentage of top websites show that a lot of other programmers didn’t seem to have that problem.

I do not believe that those who have gone from PHP to Rails mainly because they “failed” at PHP. They just happened to see the beauty of something else. They saw a better tool, a better cleaner style and a more “happy” environment to work with.

Ruby on Rails might not be the framework/language platform that is powering the top 100 sites out on the internet now, but that does not mean that it will not ever be. Just because something is the most commonly, de-facto thing, does not necessarily mean that the other offerings are sub-standard. Think “Windows vs Linux”… Think “IE vs FF”… So I have to really disagree with Terry on that. Just because PHP is running the front-end of most big time sites out there, does not directly mean that it is the best platform to build your web app on. All I have to say for now is that PHP has been proven but Ruby on Rails is coming up fast and furious.

What is so great about Ruby on Rails is not how great it can scale, it’s the community behind it. Rails is still in the stage of growing, just like PHP 5 years ago, PHP is PHP today because it has grown over the years. What supports a language/platform are the people and the community behind it. A lot of goodness is being worked on right now to make Ruby and Ruby on Rails better, much better. Every one goes through a growing stage, Terry, you who is reading now, PHP, Linux… and Ruby on Rails is at that stage. So relax because Rails have BEEN proven to scale to support your needs. Twitter is not the only big sites out there – 43things and Courseadvisor are both growing at a good rate.

If you ever get 10 million uniques one day, there only thing that you should be thinking of is growing that to 20. So go ahead and build your web app, there is no need to worry about scaling. Why? Because there are a group of dedicated people working hard at making sure that when the time comes that you are in the top 1000 site on Alexa, you can rest assured that your site is going to be well-oiled.

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5 Responses to “Why Rails is going to be better (* than PHP)”

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I think it all depends on what you trying to build. I would say Ruby on Rails is great for building small to medium size web applications. In that arena, PHP obviously is lagging behind. But then again, who is to say that PHP will dominate forever…

Nice to know I’m real pissed 😀

Somewhere in my mess I pointed out the fact that PHP is not the supermajority shows that the web problem just isn’t that difficult. If that doesn’t help, this might.

[…] Sean: His point was that the guys who were talking about Rails scalability don’t have any clue because their sites don’t push nearly as much traffic as Twitter which is the most trafficked Ruby application ever imagined… [besides besides 43 Things and CourseAdvisor] […]

[…] 28th, 2007. The twitter does not scale was quite a hot topic of discussion that spun off talks that Ruby/Rails is the dog?? and PHP the dog food? awhile back and now thanks to the good fellows at Rapleaf, there should be no reason to say it […]

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