Why Merb Becoming Rails 3 is a Good Thing

Originally posted at http://iamruinous.com/2008/12/23/why-merb-becoming-rails-3-is-a-good-thing/.

Q: Rails or Merb?
A: Yes.

So, today’s big news is that Merb will be the new Rails. Wow! Who said you couldn’t get people’s attention during the holidays. This is really going to shake up the Ruby web community.

There has been a lot of reactions to the news, not all of it positive. This tweet jumped out at me. That is a totally understandable first reaction. What happened to the revolution? In my opinion this is the best possible outcome of the Merb revolution. It began life because of frustrations with the Rails core team and the direction that Rails in general was heading. The Merb team chose to go off and do things the way they think things should be done. Competition was created.

As the competition increased you started to see some of the better ideas in Merb start to be implemented in Rails. Competition is the best thing on earth to break a monoculture. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own little worlds and to keep doing things just because that’s the way we do things.

Now, the situation today is that Merb has convinced the Rails core team that they were onto something, and instead of leading us down the path of Ruby Web Framework Armageddon (which is not wholly bad, but at the very least creates a marketing problem) they decided to now join forces. Not a decision that was taken lightly, I imagine.

So what happens to competition, you say? It still exists, there are now many, many Ruby Web Frameworks, and many more will come, even in the wake of this announcement. There will always be people pushing the status quo, there will always be ambitious hackers out there creating new and exciting things. Those things will inevitably feedback into the dominant frameworks, if not, then the dominant frameworks will slowly die off, as they should.

So why is this a good thing again? Well because now the framework I love, the framework that has changed my development life, will now be even better! The infusion of the quality engineering that has been displayed by the Merb team is the best thing for Rails’ long term viability. Enterprise business *want* to jump on the Ruby bandwagon, they are just scared of Rails and it’s issues, real or perceived. Now, Rails will become the Enterprise solution they have been clamoring for, and that makes life great for all us Rails Development and Consulting shops out there!

Here’s to a great New Year for Ruby!!

2 thoughts on “Why Merb Becoming Rails 3 is a Good Thing

  1. The impression I got from this year’s Rails Conf in
    Portland, OR from the core Rails team was “Rails is not holding our interest anymore, so we will just go through the motions and see what happens”; people were pretty jazzed about Merb though. The writing was on the wall. The core team needed a kick in the pants or they were going to need to sign up for the Merb Conference next year instead of the Rails Conf. Seems like this was a kick in the pants they needed. Good for Yehuda and Matt, I hope they do not become like what DHH is today. I am pretty shocked that the Rails team did this. I took them for arrogant a-holes who could not see genius (ahem, Yehunda) if it built another ORM for a rails-like app and stole half their base 😉

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