Mongrel Developer/Creator, Zed Shaw, cut loose on the Ruby and Rails communities in a recent posting to his website. He gives some interesting insights into who the major players are, and cuts through some of the hype surrounding rails.

While caustic in his delivery, he makes excellent points about the industry in general. If you’re a .NET developer – you won’t like the jabs in it. If you’re a VB.NET developer – find another blog – you shouldn’t be here anyway – much less reading Zed’s stuff. Most of what I write probably shoots right over your head, anyway.

But I digress.. while reading his rant, Zed got me thinking about Rails and the actual availability of work for Rails developers. Especially when he mentions the fun times he had with the Raymond James Vancouver offices (his mistake there was working for a company that deals in financial data – oh the stories I could tell about Actuaries). Anyway… the question I asked myself is simple enough – what if I actually needed to find a job doing Rails development in Seattle right now? I was rather disappointed to see in the midst of all of the Rails-hype that there are only three jobs involving Rails in the Seattle area at the time I write this (according to One of them is for a small dot-bomb shop, one is for Amazon (I’d rather eat hot lead then work at Amazon) and one is actually a System Administrator/Tech Support position and involves no development at all.

I was talking about this exact situation with one of my friends who works for a major software tools vendor (No, not Microsoft – my .NET developer friends know better than to try to sell me on their shallow J2EE ripoff). I was talking to him about that there’s all of this hype around Rails.. but I’m not seeing any real job demand for it. This wandered into the a discussion about biggest Rails Hypefest of them all – RailsConf. People come from miles around to get dipped in the Rails Kool-Aid and renew their momentum for the Rails Hype Machine. About how Rails is the Next Big Thing(sm).. about how Rails is the next Java only bigger and better!!

Now… lots of hype.. the “next big thing”… where have I heard this before..? Something about “Write Once, Run Anywhere”…

Anyway… What he said to me about RailsConf was what I had largely noticed. Most of the attendees are basically kids with little or no practical industry experience who think Ruby on Rails is the up and coming thing and want to ride that wave. And Zed’s right – there really are people in that community that are saying that if you love Visual Basic and ColdFusion then you should come over to Ruby on Rails. Why? Because the VB programmers got found out for the lousy coders they are and got rousted out of the J2EE developer community??

Don’t get me wrong… I love Rails… And Ruby is a fun language to code in. I still love Java and J2EE and I’m very proud of the work I’ve done in it. However, Java was hyped so badly when it came out that it really hurt the technology and my ability to evangelize it. So much so in fact that for a while I was having a hard time finding work. Worse yet, Sun still hasn’t learned their lessons and still tries to hype garbage technologies with little actual value. And Rails really has a ton of potential to be a “Next Big Thing”. But they need to do less hype and focus on keeping their community together and working on solid tools. Yes.. that includes learning to get along with the crazy brother that everyone hates, but everyone also knows is right.