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A funny thing happened at DreamForce this year. The company that made it safe for CIOs to buy cloud services bought a wonderful little company called Heroku. DreamForce is not a show a lot of RailsConf old-timers care much about, but it’s a place where CIOs (and the kinds of companies that have such things) go to learn about how to do things better, faster, and cheaper. The tacit endorsement of Rails as the language of the Cloud by a company like SalesForce will change everything. And before you start looking for a newer, more obscure language to get involved in, I want to tell you why it’s going to change almost everything for the better.
This is a talk about the future of Ruby in the Enterprise, and why that future will be good for the Cool Kids too. It’s a talk about why it will make an awful lot of developers happier and more productive, and not just work group developers inside of large corporations. Aaron Patterson has a job because AT&T (a rather large corporation) thinks Rails is strategic for them. They’re right! And he’s making Rails better for all of us. It’s also a talk about why Rails won’t turn into Java, just because big companies need things like management tools, and to integrate with legacy systems.
It’s a talk, in short, full of hope for the future, by someone who’s seen this movie before.
Ian is someone who has been at Pivotal Labs since about 3 years before they (or anyone else) started doing this Rails thing. He remembers when “It’s too slow! It won’t scale! You can’t build real stuff in it! It’s too Objecty! Too many files! Too hard to know what classes are being loaded! MVC and the ORM have too much magic!” were things said about Java. (He started with Java 1.0a2, and wrote the first client-server Java app ever.) Before that, he did a lot of PERL CGI and a bit of C here and there, and before that he was a Smalltalker. He was even working on worldwide distributed hypertext systems starting just slightly before Tim Berners-Lee did, though Tim’s thing worked out better for everyone, of course