A month after switching from PHP to Ruby on Rails

First of all, I must let you know that I have been a PHP developer for over 5 years now. It was a long way, usually full of pain and joy melted together. From one hand I was praising PHP for it’s ease of use, but from the other, lack of good OO support, lot’s of bugs, and… no good IDE.


Some of the things have changed while my knowledge of PHP and webdevelopment was increasing. There was a great time when PHP 5 came in, a glorious times when Zend Studio 4 was released. These will last forever in my memory ;) But more and more I coded, I got more and more… bored. I was sick of writting new webapplications from scratch, duplicating code, doing repetitive tasks all the time. I just lost joy of creating the apps.

Then the era of frameworks began. Yeah, I wrote 2 or 3 frameworks for my personal use, but still, these weren’t everything I needed. Mostly due to lack of time just to sit and think of framework itself. Months were passing, and then… I saw Rails.

Ruby on Rails

Wow! I felt like the first time I fired PHP-Nuke when I was, well, much younger. I got so excited (did I use an appropriate word?) after watching the blog-in-15-minutes introductory movie. It was kickin’! So I managed to convince my current client to change custom-php5-rails-inspired-framework to pure Ruby, and pure Rails. It was the best thing I made in webdevelopment in past few years.

Rails appeared to be pretty easy to learn, and Ruby… Well, currently I just can’t imagine swithing back to PHP. Ruby is really a powerful and beatiful scripting language. It’s object oriented features just rock. I must admit, that it really is created to let programmers write code with joy. Of course, during the learning curve I was annoyed few times. I had to learn a pretty different approach in some areas. But Rails made me a happy developer. Most of the things are so… pragmatic. It reminds me a situation which accoured last year. I was chatting with my friend (PHP developer too) about some principiles like DRY, KISS or MVC. I tried to convince him, to write a framework, which would automatically generate administration panel for storing data (and what? Rails has it!), which would use Propel (and what? Rails has it! [ActiveRecord]) and which would take a MVC approach (and guess what? Rails has it!). So, it means that Rails just fills all my needs.

But going back to the topic. After spending a month with Rails and a new commercial project, I must admit that this framework does it’s job. It just works! There are few drawbacks, eg. lack of good documentation with code samples (I think I got used to very good PHP docs) and a good IDE (Windows) but the pros it gives to a developer are just unbelievable. I just can’t wait when Rails 2.0 will be released :)

Last modified: 20-Jan-23