Why Ruby on Rails won’t become mainstream

Yesterday, Cedric posted a fairly well written blog entry titled Why Ruby on Rails won’t become mainstream. This is not Rails bashing, as the author is quick to point out (he admits to being a big fan of Ruby on Rails), but rather his honest assessment of what he sees as the current deficiencies in Ruby on Rails.

The article is a good read, and I agree with most of his deficiency list (though not all). But I do not draw the same conclusions, and many of the posted comments said the same thing. Adam Schepis posted his reasons on his own blog.

Part of the problem is without some definition of what you mean by “mainstream” its hard to know if everyone is talking about the same thing.

Be sure to read the comments to Cedric’s blog posting, many of them are as good as the post itself. DHH himself posted a tongue-in-cheek response that made me laugh out loud:

Thank you for the kind writeup, Cedric. I definitely agree that Ruby on Rails has a tough road ahead becoming truly mainstream. That road is always tough, for any technology. Less for technical reasons and more for cultural and marketing reasons.

But nothing gets me fired up like knowing we have something valuable that lots of people haven’t discovered or experienced yet.

Although evangelism and rhetorics sometimes do bore. Perhaps I should just, as the guy with the God complex, widely considered to be arrogant, and once called “king of the internet”, pass down some stone tablets and command people to obey. Free will is overrated. (hm)

UPDATE: David just post his full response on his own blog. Given his understanding of “mainstream”, he doesn’t really want Rails to go mainstream.

To me, mainstream is mostly about reaching people who just don’t care. There are certainly benefits to having such a broad reach that it can include people who don’t care, but the downsides are at least as big. Especially in open source projects like Rails that we’re primarily involved in to do something for ourselves. Solve our own problems, not be a vendor, and all that.

2 responses to “Why Ruby on Rails won’t become mainstream

  1. Don’t have such a low threshold for measuring success. Success is Java, .NET, XML, Web Services, SOA, etc. Ruby has potential and an upward trajectory but can’t yet be called successful.

    In terms of getting large enterprises whose primary business model isn’t technology involved in Ruby benefits Ruby by the simple fact that this demographic represents 90% (The masses) of all IT folks. More importantly, this same demographic has 590% more capital than the 10% that Ruby currently has. Capital allows folks to accelerate the growth, features and adoption of all the hard work the Ruby community put into it.

    You should noodle this thought and even if you agree slightly, you should amplify it in your next blog entry…

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