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Is Ruby Ready for the Enterprise?

by Peter Cooper on Jul 12, 2006 |
Brad Banister of Enterprise Open Source Magazine takes a look at whether Ruby is ready for the enterprise in an article focused at developers and IT managers who are considering using Ruby in an enterprise environment. Banister presents a brief introduction to Ruby, and puts forward the pros and cons of Ruby as an enterprise technology. On the down side, Banister notes:
[Ruby has] seen limited adoption in enterprise environments. Many still consider it to be a leading-edge technology that lacks support for some common enterprise integration technologies. There's also a lack of "best practice patterns" for implementing an enterprise solution with Ruby.
But on the plus side:
[Ruby is] well suited to acting as "glue code" in integrating applications. Scripting languages got their start as a way to coordinate tasks rapidly and flexibly between processes. It follows that Ruby should be capable as a technology for integrating components and services in the enterprise.
Banister then continues to look at how Ruby and Rails fit together and how Ruby can integrate with existing JMS messaging systems and SOAP-powered services.

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best practice patterns? by Iain Delaney

There's also a lack of "best practice patterns" for implementing an enterprise solution with Ruby.


Because we all know how well those have worked for J2EE. I think what he means is, you can't be 'enterprisey' without a stack of books on abstract topics written by high-priced consultants.

Re: best practice patterns? by Drew McAuliffe

I don't think that's what they mean. There's a difference between the J2EE patterns that emerged after J2EE's introduction and those that evolved later. The initial batch were really ways of dealing with J2EE's problems. There is, however, a set of patterns that JEE developers actively use that aren't antipatterns or ways of dealing with the platform's inadequacies. Things like a front controller on web applications, dependency injection, etc.

"Patterns" shouldn't be thought of as a bad word, because good patterns are extremely useful.

Re: best practice patterns? by Michael Neale

Sad to say, said high-priced consultants are now (also) pushing ruby (specifically) rails it seems. I hope that doesn't bode ill for ruby.

A cynical view is that there is lots of new business to be made with ruby (at the moment its been very successful in "subscription" style or web 2.0 companies, not enterprises). The money in enterprises for ruby will have to be all consulting, as there are no app server vendors really. Hence the consultants (who instinctively love complexity) will bring this to ruby - simplicity is not profitable enough. Sad, and hopefully not true, but beware.

Re: best practice patterns? by Rick Bradley

On the hopeful side, simplicity makes it possible for small teams to tackle projects on an enterprisey scale. When firing up a vendor-shat "Enterprise Stack" it's not uncommon to see a dozen people needed to care, feed, and develop against the beast. Once the team hits that size by necessity, the organization naturally begins to split the team, productivity tends to decline (as overheads rise), and consultants really begin to look attractive.

I've already personally seen positive results from dropping the vendor stack for a Rails stack -- once the complexity level is down below the point where fewer than 8-10 people are really /needed/, development seems to pick up.

It doesn't pay consultants or vendors to be simple, but it may save the organization money that realizes the benefits of simplicity.

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