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Summary:

As Ruby on Rails rose to prominence in the last few years, the platform has faced derision from some programmers over its inability to scale for enterprise applications. Ruby on Rails might be good for making interactive web pages, but it was no C or Java. […]

As Ruby on Rails rose to prominence in the last few years, the platform has faced derision from some programmers over its inability to scale for enterprise applications. Ruby on Rails might be good for making interactive web pages, but it was no C or Java. Benchmark Capital aims to change that with an investment of $3.5 million in New Relic Inc. out of Menlo Park, Calif.

Lew Cirne, the founder of Wily Technology, has created New Relic to do for Ruby on Rails what Wily did for Java 10 years ago. In a nod to the current business environment, New Relic will deliver its Ruby on Rails application management software as a service rather than as shrinkware. Cirne says the fact that the Ruby language ad the Ruby on Rails platform made it a nice target for possible enterprise adoption.

However, the market had changed in other ways and I question if Ruby will gain the same level of prominence that Java has. When Java came out, Sun and IBM pushed it, whereas Ruby and Ruby on Rails has grown very much from the bottom up. Cirne likens Ruby’s rise to the type of adoption that Linux managed to achieve without a corporate backer, but I don’t know if the existence of the Rails framework will make up for the fragmented market.

Today’s programmers can build in PHP or Python. Earlier this month Google launched its Google Apps Engine with support for Python rather than Rails Ruby. So while New Relic may create value, it may not be able to achieve the type of success that Wily managed to grab by focusing on Java.

  1. What does Al Gore think of Ruby on Rails for the Enterprise? Since Al co-invented the Internet, and since Al says C02 is dooming the planet (as he stated during his speech at the RSA computer security conference a few weeks ago in San Francisco even though computer security has nothing to do directly with Gore’s Truth of Inconvenience), I think the big litmus test for Ruby on Rails is if Al Gore gives it his Seal of Approval (and then Gore can claim later that he was responsible for Rails more than everyone else, even DHH).

  2. Maybe I’m nitpicking here but your statement that “Google launched its Google Apps Engine with support for Python rather than Rails” is not appropriate. Google launched its Google Apps Engine with support for Python **RATHER THAN RUBY**. It’s nice to see Rails getting some love from entreprises.

  3. Stacey Higginbotham Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    Tim, you’re right. They are different. Thanks.

  4. Sounds like rails is getting a little more enterprise-y. That could be a good thing. We can hope those millions make their way to the normal users.

  5. Twitter Abandoning Rails? Is RoR Destined for Non-Enterprise Apps? | IT Realm Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    [...] GigaOm recently posted that Ruby on Rails will be getting some Enterprise-Level Support. Benchmark Capital is in investing $3.5 million in New Relic Inc, which plans to use the funds to incubate RoR to a Enterprise-Level framework. It should be interesting, but I am rather skeptic. Lew Cirne hopes to boost the adoption of RoR like he did with Java, but Java had the support of Sun and IBM, which RoR is growing without any corporate support. It should be interesting none the less. [...]

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