Here are a couple of interesting blogs for anyone who falls into the “.NET by day, Rails by night” category. Softies on Rails is a blog about Rails especially geared towards Microsoft coders by a couple of developers in Chicago, and A Fresh Cup is Mike Gunderloy’s new blog chronicling his reinvention of his career. (Gunderloy, for those of my readers who don’t keep up with who’s who in the world of software development, is a fairly well known author in the Microsoft world.) Back at the start of the year, he announced that he had had it with the Borg and was jumping ship. It looks like Rails is his framework of choice in Life After Microsoft.
Personally I’m not a great one for language wars. I tend to adopt a fairly pragmatic approach to the whole issue, which is why I do both .NET and PHP, as well as anything else that I am required to get my teeth into. Most of my development experience over the past six years has been in .NET, and I don’t see that changing too drastically in my day job, but I do think it’s a good idea to have some experience of other languages and platforms as well. A lot of developers only learn the bare minimum needed to do their jobs, and the result is often www.worsethanfailure.com.
Rails is a particularly good platform to learn as it teaches you all the latest best practices in web development: Model-View-Controllers, O/R mapping and the like, and important concepts such as “Once and only once” are drummed into you right from the word go. The Ruby language also contains a lot of advanced features such as closures and other functional paradigms, which can make for some pretty nice looking code. Plus, of course, there’s all the Ajax whizziness that can help you write really cool apps very easily.