There’s a whole lot we just don’t know

This article from David Polack is fascinating. (via another interesting article from Jeff Moore about OOP, PHP, and futuring).

Written back in October 2006, after RubyConf — it talks about the language VM’s under development for Ruby — and well, it’s not all that positive on the future of Ruby for depolyment (which of course makes big enterprise-oriented shops with large development staffs doing things like payroll nervous).

Did I say it was fascinating? So are the comments. This is a space that most of in the ranks of small shops are nowhere near — in fact it’s usually over our heads most days (maybe every day, usually the small shops are just dealing with people that want some checkbox to move from one side of the screen to the other, or doing the web application support equivalent of helping someone “print from Word”). I’ve been more than a little bemused recently with all the mentions of JRuby (like why the heck do I care whether Ruby compiled to bytecode and executed by a JVM). I get the implications when I stop and think about for a bit, but I don’t really care.

It’s damn sure completely off the radar for the folks that use tools produced by the languages like ruby, or java, or php, or haskell, or whatever language you want to pick. I absolutely know that watching this kind of stuff is not understood one whit by a lot of the people in “technology.”

Anyway, I recommend reading it, not because you’ll care, but it does impact the future of the tools we all use. And it will show you a little, of just how broad this area called “IT” really is.

I like ruby as a language a lot. I like it better for my systems purposes than perl, and php. From a web development perspective — I think it’s a wash vis-a-vis the language itself — though I enjoy ruby more than I enjoyed php. Rails was/is a big deal — and sure makes a lot of what I’ve done with PHP before a lot easier to do (at first, and then it’s just good old programming sweat after the first few days) Maybe it’s not any better or worse than something like Django (but I certainly like ruby better than what little python I’ve done) but it’s better than anything PHP had (though I’m completely ignorant with any current PHP frameworks).

I don’t particularly care about enterprise computing either. I’m not sure that the enterprise IT space ever actually helps anybody do anything interesting (but it does make sure they get paid, which is pretty damn important). But the enterprise drives a lot of things and it will be a interesting 2 or 3 years watching all this shake out. What else don’t we know that will come up and impact our business?