Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ruby is younger therefore better than Java?

I wrote this as a response to From Java to Ruby: Programmer's view, but I couldn't post it because of a bug in that site, so I decided to post it in my own blog:

Isn't this a simplified view of the advantages of Ruby over Java? For example the lack of choice in Ruby means that if the "one Ruby way" to do stuff is not good for you project... you will have to go to other technologies (Java for example). And that can happen pretty often:

  • Hibernate has many more options for integration with legacy databases than Ruby's Active Record... almost all databases now have JDBC drivers (you can not say the same about Ruby database support).
  • Spring offers integrated transaction handling that makes it possible to switch from JDBC transactions to JTA transactions without changing a single line of Java code (you just need to modify around 5 lines in an XML file) what is the equivalent for that in Ruby?
  • Calling stored procedures is not that easy with Ruby... what is the equivalent of HQL (JPAQL) for Ruby... can you honestly say that it can handle all the special cases HQL can... and with the same efficiency?
  • With java I can build a web application GWT style, JSF style or plain JSP style... and each style has advantages and disadvantages... do I have all that power with Rails? (Of course, those frameworks can be re-built in Ruby, but the question is, do I have them now?)

I think you are right when you say that it's healthy to start with a clean slate and rebuild based on a cleaner, simpler foundation, but before saying that the new foundation is actually better than the older one, you have to be sure that your new foundation is actually capable of handling all the special cases the old foundation was capable of handling... or remember that maybe if you remove all the abilities the old foundation has to handle special cases you might end up realizing that your new foundation is just a replica of the state that the old foundation had when it was younger. (And even then the older foundation has the advantage that you can use it as it was used in the past, but you can not use a new foundation as it will be used in the future)

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