Ruby on Rails… Revisited

Updated with links and a couple typo corrections.

Update: It wasn’t long before the project got too complex on the back end (SOAP blech) for my limited Ruby knowledge. I switched it back to Python/Pylons and never looked back. The Pylons => Rails migration was straightforward. I guess I could have pushed through with Ruby/Rails, but with deadlines looming, it made more sense for me to go with what I knew best. Being familiar Python and its ecosystem was far more pertinent than the deficiency of any particular library. There’s probably another blog post or two in here…

I’ve been working on a fairly big Web site project lately. My partner and I initially decided to use Django to build the site, mainly because I’m a Python “expert” and Django is (apparently) the #1 Python Web framework. We were also lured by the easy admin interface.

After trying to use Django and not really enjoying it, I tried switching to Pylons because I’ve had a good amount of experience with it in the building of It’s gone through two fairly major releases since then, and so have a bunch of the libraries that tend to get used with it, like SQLAlchemy, Elixir, etc.

I was having a hard time with the Pylons docs, and so I ended screwing around with Grok (which actually looks fairly interesting) and even took a look at the Zope 3 site. I’m sure Zope is really awesome or whatever, but it might as well suck. Every time I look at that site, I’m just like “WTF! This shit has been around for like five years!” Anyway, I might just not be smart enough for Zope.

This led us back toward Rails (even if it is a ghetto). I used Rails a bit last year but never did anything too serious with it. Diving into it today was quite a pleasure. There are issues to be sure, but overall I’m enjoying it by far over any of the other options we had tried. I’m also enjoying learning/relearning Ruby.

If Pylons had good docs, we’d probably be using that.

So, I don’t know if this is a particularly useful post, since I didn’t get into much in the way of reasons (what, i have back this up?!). This subject’s been hashed and rehashed, but I just wanted (needed) to make a qualitative statement about my/our experience, which, of course, is purely personal.

11 thoughts on “Ruby on Rails… Revisited

  1. Wow! Quite frankly, you will definitely be bashed by the pythonists here because of that :-)

    As a Railer myself I do appreciate your honesty. Although I feel compelled to register for newbies coming by that Django is not bad. As Rails there are use cases where they don’t fit, which is not quite obvious.

    Anyway, good to hear that you’re an open minded programmer and you found a tools that worked for your project. ;-)

  2. Did you try web2py formerly gluon ( I played only a little bit with it, but it looks good.

  3. > Wow! Quite frankly, you will definitely be bashed by the pythonists here because of that :-)


    But many people will ask him if he could do some kind of post-mortem on his experiences with Django and Pylons so that these can be fixed/improved if need be.

  4. ++ I was having a hard time with the Pylons docs …

    ++ If Pylons had good docs, we’d probably be using that.

    Wyatt, that’s interesting.

    If you have the time/inclination, I’d be very grateful if you could email me a short, off-the-cuff, informal rant on your difficulties with the Pylons docs.

    (My dad had an old-school aphorism: “If a man doesn’t understand, then he hasn’t been told properly” and over time I’ve learned the essential truth of it.)

  5. It’s interesting to see that Grok didn’t come out too badly in your posting. :) Agreed that the Zope web presence sucks, though I hope you thought is allright.

    We hope to find you back using Grok at some point in the future, perhaps in some other project. We’d be curious to learn what made you decide against Grok – was it the other Zope web sites?

  6. Oh, and to add: it’s not that you’re not smart enough for Zope. It’s that Zope’s outreach (especially Zope 3) to people has been extremely bad in the last years. We’re hoping to fix this with Grok.

  7. Wyatt:
    I know you have personal a preference on rails, but let me question the next:

    1) Why do you like Rails over Django? Give me some reasons.

    2) Why do you think many people prefer Ruby over Python? Did Rails had an influence in the preference of Ruby? Is the architecture of the language? the expresiveness? simplicity? … what?

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