All entries for Wednesday 31 August 2005

August 31, 2005

Ruby vs Java

Writing about web page http://www.rubyonrails.org

Actually, it's not a Ruby vs. Java post as such, if you want a language p*ssing contest you can look here.

However, following on from last week's Flickr event, I've been devoting a bit of time to thinking about the alternatives to our current J2EE deveopment environment, and whether we can learn anything from them. I couldn't quite bring myself to try PHP, but Ruby seemed like an a suitable point of comparison.

So… Language-wise, Ruby is quite nice. It's properly OO, dynamically typed, with a reasonable exception system. Using begin/end instead of { and } makes my toes curl a bit, but at least it's optional.

Rails is to Ruby as (approximately) JSP,Spring&Hibernate (or JDO&JSF) is to Java; an MVC-ish framework, a templating language and a persistence framework. It's really easy to do basic CRUD in; the framework does most of the work for you and there are code-generators to get you started. However, if you want that sort of thing in Java you can have it, with something like appfuse

The (apparent) lack of a decent IDE is aggravating; I've got pretty used to just banging on ctrl-. ('fill the next bit in') and ctrl-1 ('fix this error') in eclipse, and having to go back to vi was a bit of a slap in the face. ISTM that this is one of the big disadvantages of a dynamically typed language. But the tradeoff is the instant deploy: change code, hit refresh, view results. I'd forgotten how efficient that makes things; I must try and get that working in eclipse again. This is especially a problem with Spring and Hibernate, both of which take ages to post-process a deploy for various reasons

For my next trick, I'm going to try and do something which isn't quite standard CRUD, to see if Rails is trading off flexibility for ease-of-use or not.


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