Following up to Code4Lib instead of NGC4Lib, cause it's about geekery.

Andrew, in my experience with Ruby/Rails, what you say about Ruby is
mostly 'FUD', with a small core of truth.

1. Ruby is kind of slow.  But I'm not sure how much this matters for a
web application, where you aren't generally doing computationally
intensive stuff, and the bottlenecks of db access and network access
will probably be orders of magnitude over than that of language speed.
But Ruby is, truthfully, rather slow in my experience.

2. Rails specifically (Rails being a particular framework written in
Ruby, not an inherent part of ruby) makes it challenging to do
threaded/concurrent programming.  For typical web application stuff, you
don't NEED to do threaded stuff---the Rails answer is just to add more
instances of your application to a load-balanced cluster, and Rails is
written in such a way to support that. And for typical web application
cases, that works fine. But in some cases, it doesn't, you really need
concurrency.  The LibraryFind meta-search application is one such case.
Something I'm working on is another.  Now, concurrency is not at all
_impossible_ with Rails, it's just kind of a pain in some ways. This is
fully a Rails issue, not a Ruby one.

Hope this helps, that's my personal experience with Ruby/Rails. Overall,
I am quite happy with it, and am glad to be using it instead of PHP. Is
it "ready for prime time use"? Well, I have run into some things that
really annoy me with Rails (and occasionally with Ruby, but usually it's
a Rails issue), and I think are evidence of the newness and lack of
maturity of the product. Generally, after working around them--I'm still
happy to be in Ruby/Rails instead of PHP, personally, it's still overall
a win. But I'm really a junkie for good OO design too, and am very happy
with the natural OO implementation of Ruby, and the very good
architectual design of Rails.


Andrew Nagy wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Next generation catalogs for libraries
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Erik Hatcher
>> Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 10:31 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [NGC4LIB] Open Source OPAC - VUFind Beta Released
>> (I have to admit that my dream involves a Ruby-fried layer, not PHP,
>> though, but that's just me ;).
> "You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny."
> I choose PHP due to it's performance and scalability.  I have heard that Ruby has it's issues and is not quite ready for prime time use.  I remember at Code4Lib that Terry Reese mentioned something about how he was running into scalability issues with his Ruby implemnetation of their Federated Search engine.
> Have you noticed any issues with your flare library?
> Andrew

Jonathan Rochkind
Digital Services Software Engineer
The Sheridan Libraries
Johns Hopkins University
rochkind (at)