For the last 10 years, I’ve been programming in Java, and basically nothing else. Oh sure, I had written some Perl scripts and shell scripts, but just for very small tasks. My day-in-day-out work has been Java for a long time. I had basically assumed I was always going to program in Java, at least for the foreseeable feature.
While I had heard about Ruby, Groovy, Parrot, Python, Rails, etc, I had not given them any consideration. I basically write Java tools for Java developers, so anything like a dynamic scripting language really has nothing to do with me. The claims by some are/were that these would dethrone Java. That is doubtful, to say the least. Ruby is how old? 12 years? And has anyone written an IDE in Ruby? Thought not. There are Ruby IDEs, but they are written in Java. My point is, I was skeptical of these new-fangled things that just arrived on the scene. Okay, Ruby is 12 years old, but how many people have been using it for anywhere near that long? Or even just the last couple of years? Not many. And Rails is very new in comparison to Java EE.
My manager recently approached me with a new position, albeit a temporary one. Basically I’d be working with a new team and project lead, but still reporting to my manager. Apparently it had already been decided that the project would be written in Ruby on Rails, but by whom I’m not sure, as during the early meetings it was still uncertain what we’d be using. At first I was very resistant to the idea of learning a new language and web framework, while also trying to produce reasonable code in a short period of time. This is not the sort of thing normal people subject themselves to. But strangely, somewhere between picking up the Programming Ruby book and going through the exercises in Agile Web Development with Rails, I came to really like Ruby and Rails. In fact, I’ve started a new project for my spare-time efforts, an issue tracker written in RoR. Crazy, huh? I went from being the biggest skeptic to the biggest fan in about a week.
I also just inherited an Apple PowerBook G4 for use at work. I’ve finally got it mostly set up for working on the project. While I have been fond of Macs since I was a kid, I have become less fond of Apple in recent years. And in general the prices of their computers are higher, but now that I look at the MacBook Pro, I see they are competitive with laptops from Dell. So, it looks like I may have something else to write about in a month or so.