For the past six months I’ve had the pleasure of working with Rails in my spare time. I’ve read several books, and written several applications for personal use. Soon, I will begin to put most of my spare time toward a Rails application I hope to release to the general public. As well, I will begin to share more of my Rails experiences on my blog. (Watch for new posts on getting started with Rails, like Ruby on Rails – Terms and Concepts).
I remember well the early days of cgi programming when I wrote my first Perl web applications. Then I transitioned to some kind of Oracle web procedures (I forget the real name) for some larger applications for Fortune 500 companies first getting onto the web (ex. Lucent Technologies). Eventually I did Flash and Java applets as they first came out. I made the move to Java (beyond the little applets I’d done) when Sun released the first beta specs of JavaServer Pages, in late 1998. In fact, thanks to the beauty of Internet archives I found this post written by none other than myself while working at Cox Target Media in 1999. (Guess I don’t have to worry about proving I’ve been doing JSP since it first came out). I have been involved in Java web application development ever since. I didn’t take an interest in .NET, and didn’t pay much attention to ColdFusion. I’ve done some PHP, mostly for small solutions and to customize my WordPress blogs. But, for 99% of my web software development in the last 8 years, I have stayed committed to Java.

When I took my second look at Rails about six months ago, and this time, really tried to discover what it was all about, I was really hooked. It made simple so many of the common every day tasks I’ve been doing for years. Ruby really made sense as a language and Rails as a framework. I have a lot to compare to it, and so far I’ve been very impressed with how well thought out it is.

In this series of Rails posts, I’m not going to take time to bash Java or any other languages and frameworks. I still believe Java is a great development platform that fulfills real software development requirements. However, I don’t feel like Java is the solution in every case. I count myself as an Internet Software Developer, not as a Java Developer. I have experience with many tools, and I prefer to choose the right tool for the job at hand. I’ll leave when I would use Java vs Rails to another discussion, as the focus of these posts will be on sharing my Rails experiences, and hopefully helping some other interested Internet Software Developers get their first taste of Rails development. This will not be a discussion of which is the best development platform, but instead will simply be me sharing with you, this new exciting and beautiful web application framework. I truly haven’t had this much fun developing web applications in a long, long time.