Ruby’s fear-cancer

This video: High Performance Ruby: Threading Versus Evented by Dr Nic Williams, Engine Yard

It meant so much to me!

For around 4 months I’ve been using Node.js, and before that, for 3 years, programming Rails.

As soon as I started on Node.js, I could feel that something was different. My little Computer Science bachelor conscience was starting to tell me: now you are starting to do it right 🙂

But then, lets go back, Ruby’s syntax is lovely.. Rails API is sugar! But still, it’s neverland. Why??

It does not fit real world! It is a thin layer of happiness, so delicate, that we feel fear of touching it and breaking it. So what we puny humans do? We delegate it to those genius heroes who will be able to take that code and maybe squeeze a few more couples of requests/sec!

But not even that is the cancer I mean.

The cancer here is represented by clown hosting the video. “Oh those scientific articles mess with our head and stuff O.o Let me chew that evil reality and I will give you the RIGHT (sugar coated) solution!” and all other non fun nor assertive statements. By the way, he may be referring to the C10K problem, and alike, articles.

The problem here is, VP  EngineYard and want ppl addicted on his junk. He does not host Node.js.

Ruby always had so many language implementations to solve some important language problems, as well as servers. This is not the first time a good solution for ruby is born (JRuby+Trinidad), but why would they share it before if he could have people paying for so much RAM?

The reason I believe he felt compelled to share it now, is that Node.js unoptimized code can outperform Rails by a LOT,  under 150Mb.

But my main problem is fear of complexity. The host talks about it all over the initial part of the video. He refers his audience under constant fear of it’s own ignorance all the time. This is a awful, and that’s how I felt using Rails. Such a large stack, complex language design, only understanding the framework code itself was hard task.

To keep people in bliss ignorance he just goes like: “Oh I promissed evented? We are past that, right?! HAAAA” so just be happy and keep the status quo. You would’t want to mess your pretty little head with asynchronous code, would you?

I like Node.js, besides performance, language is simple; it is JavaScript, open Objects, closure and more. Of course, don’t assume well-written JS is something easy to do. No great code in any modern language is easy to achieve.

If you’ve developed Rails, you have concepts of MRI, thin, mongrel, jruby, 1.8.7, 1.9.2, rubinius, unicorn, and LOT MORE, whilst in node.js world all that stands for: node.js. It is a unification point for language and server.

What about gems?  npm, a easier system of distributing packages.

Wrapping it up, node.js is no silver bullet, it just made me realize the problems I had while programming ruby, as much as ruby did it for me on php. If nothing else, node.js helped improve ruby’s community by adding options to the web development mainstream.

Would I work with Rails again? If a employer would point me that out as the only chosen solution, then yes, and I’d probably try that stack, but I prefer confidence instead of fear.


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