Ted Neward, a great friend, colleague, and all around smart-guy, just really missed the boat on Rails this last weekend. Dion pretty much hit the nail on the head on the technical response. Rails is a web framework that doesn't make me think I'm writing a Swing app, or that I'm writing an EJB app. It pretends to be nothing; it is, rather, a powerful framework for writing an app that delivers HTML over HTTP. Hell, what with the ASP.NET/JSF render kit wunderland, I'm starting to wonder if we need a new acronym: POWA (Plain Ol' Web App).
Regardless, he also whiffed (sorry big guy) in his musings about managed versions. There is, of course, Trails, a mighty attempt to make the Spring/Hibernate/Etc. stack as easy to configure and use as Rails, and MonoRail, an open source .NET equivalent as well. What fascinates me about MonoRail is that it is one of the first attempts to move away from the standard ASP.NET design pattern; the MVC crowd has just not found a great way to own that space. Maybe MonoRail will be the ticket. (By the way, check out the other stuff going on at CastleProject; DynamicProxy is a great little tool for making synthesized proxies a la Java, without all that
When I say he whiffed, it isn't because he couldn't tick off the various projects off the top of his head. Its because he missed that Rails is already influencing everybody else. The "small" feature he mentions, convention over configuration, is catching on like wildfire, and I don't think it would have unless Rails had highlighted the fact that the 80% case is to only configure 10% of your app. We're also seeing some folks revise their commitment to web components; with Rails, parameterized partial templates give you most of what you get with web components, and at a fraction of the compexity.
In short, next time I see Ted, I'll have to hose him down with the Kool-Aid. Clearly, he didn't get enough last weekend. ;-)