Do you know ruby on rails ?

Benjamin Pollack benjamin.pollack at
Wed May 11 21:51:22 UTC 2005

On 5/11/05, Damien Cassou <damien.cassou at> wrote:
> Hi,
> a friend told me about "Ruby on Rails" which seems to be the Seaside of
> Ruby.

If Rails is the Seaside of Ruby, then Ruby is in far more trouble than I'd 
previously thought. Rails is a highly regularized and integrated component 
stack and a couple of scripts that work within that stack. It's also a way 
of arranging your files project files in a fairly well-factored manner. 
That's pretty much it. There is no continuation support. They are only just 
now getting components similar to ASP.NET <http://ASP.NET> or JSPs, and the 
architecture basically prevents it Rails from ever getting components like 
Seaside. There is no integrated authentication framework, although there's 
now a fairly standardized pattern for how to handle authentication that 
everyone cuts and pastes around. The form helper tags are primitive and 
poorly documented. Interfacing Rails with an existing database is extremely 
difficult, and using backends other than MySQL is frequently problematic. 
It's not bad for simple CRUD apps (the one area where I do use it a bit), 
and it certainly beats PHP or Java hands-down, but it also doesn't bring 
anything particularly new to the table.

As for the video you link, that has always irked me. Scaffolding is nice to 
get a rough feel for what your application should look like, to show it to 
users and say, "Is this kind of what you're going for?" and to get certain 
parts of your app "for free" during development so that you don't have to 
muck about in a SQL editor to, for example, manually insert users into the 
database just so you can check something dependent on users existing. But 
that's it. Scaffolding never survives in the Real World, and the parts of 
that video that show how reordering columns rearranges the order of elements 
on the page strikes me as almost unethical; you will never be able to take 
advantage of that in real-world use. It would be great if Seaside had 
scaffolding (or if Squeak had a standard, lightweight ORM that worked with 
at least PostgreSQL and MySQL), but Seaside is so much more advanced than 
Rails that I think there's little we could pick up from there that would 
even be applicable, let alone useful.

If you want a Ruby framework more comparable to Seaside, check out Wee by 
Michael Neumann. It's available on RubyGems, and supports most of Seaside's 
ideas in an intuitive, mostly Ruby-like manner. If you combine it with Og, a 
fairly robust ORM, you even get the scaffolding voodoo you see in the Rails 
video. Otherwise, though, I'd encourage you to stay with Seaside for awhile 
and maybe make a real app or two with both Rails and Seaside and see what 
you think. My suspicion is that you'll never want to go back to Rails again. 

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