Why are developers abandoning .NET for Rails

Microsoft’s Robert Scoble wants to know why developers are leaving .NET for Ruby on Rails. The post itself is short, but there are a lot of comments posted.

Fortunately, many of those commenters directly addressed the question of why they dropped .NET for Rails, and it was very informative to wade through the noise to find real answers to this question. Here are a smattering of quotes:

Succinctly put, the learning curve for RoR is shallow, rather than steep, as it is for .NET.

My computer industry (Software QA Manager (WHQL, WiFi, CCX, etc) job went to India, and I lost my MSDN subscription when I lost my job. So I looked for “free” tools to feed my family – and Dot-Net just didn’t qualify.

RAPID development of the Framework – not a 3-4 year cycle, but 3-4 months.

Since I have the source, I can work around almost anything that is just broken or (more likely) I just don’t understand…

The code rails generates looks better than most of the code I write. A lot of people have been burned by the past code generation facilities of the VS products, particularly in the web tier.

Ruby is simple. Rails is simple. ASP.NET 2.0 needs VS. [i.e., needs the VS IDE]

…but they [MS technologies] are so complicated that companies get bogged down in the install process, not to mention deployment and security… I just got fed up. Rails offers me a simple framework that is thoughtfully designed and compels me to write well-structured code. And I can do so much more with less work.

As someone who has built a career off of using MS tools to deliver solutions to customers I can tell you what’s made me look at Rails and what’s making me use Rails instead of ASP.NET for my little home applications. Rails is FAR easier than ASP.NET. (note the period)

Rails makes the simple things even easier, but the complicated things harder. ASP.NET makes the simple things harder than they need to be, and the complicated things possible.

In the last 6 month I have not done a personal project using .Net or C#. Ruby is much more fun and allows me to express much better, and way faster, my ideas into code.

The biggest thing that turns me away from MS web technolgies is the company’s constant insistence to not support web standards. Ever tried to get a large ASP.Net app to validate as compliant XHTML and work consistently in more than just IE? It’s rather difficult.

Succinctly put, with Microsoft, every two years I basically have to relearn the platform. Knowledge half-life is very short. And thus less valuable.

Java more or less sucked all the oxygen out of the room for almost a decade, from an architectural and a general Computer Science perspective; .NET was a true innovation, and a breath of fresh air that awakened the market to the fact that yes, Virginia, there are Other Ways of doing things than “pure java” and J2EE. The platfom was still important… But it’s so complex, the tools and platform are so expensive, and the learning curve across so many spaces so steep that it’s just not worth the time to pick up.

What’s Microsoft to do? Radical thought: Ruby.NET and RoR integrated into the .NET ecosystem. Why not? Embrace and extend…

(via Riding Rails)


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