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Ben writes (emphasis his):

System.Web.MVC will reach an audience that MonoRail doesn’t: 
The corporate giant who already swallowed the pill and will do anything
that Microsoft pushes, good or bad
.  And a lot of consultants work firmly in this space.

That’s probably the call when it comes to MVC on IIS in the large. I think, however, MonoRail will remain a viable option for smaller or more edgy shops simply due to the agility the open source approach provides. Namely: Castle can release more often and quicker and it’s got a number of smart programmers on the job already. Think of it as the Paul Graham effect.

The determining factor will be where the developer community goes with this. MVC has the makings of a good trade post. Then again I’m sitting here wondering does it really matter?

I’d choose (if I had the choice) the edge and as it sits right now – for web applications – I’m leaning toward and investing personal time in learning Rails. DLR/MVC or DLR/IronRuby somewhat weigh on my personal judgment, but then I think about the vast array of overwhelmingly free and overwhelmingly excellent tools available to the Rubyist and Rails-head: autotest, rspec, acts_as_state_machine, acts_as_your_10th_grade_geometry_teacher_mr_moore…

I don’t know. For me it seems – political arguments aside – if you want to be out there on the (sometimes bleeding) edge you’ll always be where the rockstar programmers are.

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18 Responses to System.Web.EatDirtMonoRail?

  1. Colin Jack says:

    I guess I’m imagining who you mean by “rockstar” and that has a big impact on my response…

    I think your often better to stay a little behind the bleeding edge. With any “advance” we get a lot of excitement in the blogosphere, the “rockstars” move in and start arguing then a couple of months later they have moved on. I don’t tend to get excited about things till I see how they can be useful to my work.

    Quite often I find lagging a few months behind the cutting edge, but keeping up with the discussion about the cutting edge, means you don’t end up wasting time on some new thing just because one of the “rockstars” has gotten all excited about it.

    So as an example I’m keeping an eye on things like FIT/BDD and so on but haven’t rushed in to use them yet because there is still a lot of debate and the tools are still evolving or (seem to) have some serious issues.

  2. Tinco says:

    Wouldn’t the Cathedral and the Bazaar be a better analog? Microsoft is only releasing their cutting edge stuff when they think it’s done, which is the cathedral approach and projects like MonoRail release whenever a piece is done, the bazaar way.

    Also, my rockstar programmer idols are Scott Guthrie (In a cathedral) and Miquel de Icaza (In a bazaar).

  3. Dave Laribee says:

    > The notion of “rockstar programmer” is just ridiculous.

    @Joe I disagree. I have seen them. They are out there.

    @Sam I’ve been tracking your project. Nice to “meet” you. I’m still in the “internalizing ruby phase” I should have said. I always beat campaign mode before taking on multi-player. I’ve taken a passing look at merb and camping both, but I’ll have to do more digging. It seems, to me anyway, rails has the most activity and options around it.

    Here’s a good merb rundown:


    My main point with this post is that it’s the activity, innovation, and community that make a framework great.

  4. @Jeremy Couldn’t agree with you more. The fact that castle/nhibernate/nunit will almost always move quicker than microsoft is what really drives me to use those tools over MS tools. I take a look at MS tools but unless there is realy value in using a MS tool I just find the open source equivalent

  5. Joe Chung says:

    The notion of “rockstar programmer” is just ridiculous.

  6. Mike Moore says:

    @Jeremy: You don’t _need_ to use ActiveRecord to use Rails. You can rBatis or DataObjects.rb or Sequel or ActiveResource or your home grown DBI models if you want. Just like you can swap out the views the ASP.NET MVC framework, you can swap out the model and view implementations in Rails.

    That said, MERB does look very cool. Its been a while since I looked closely at it and I plan on remedying that. :)

  7. Guys,

    In many ways MS does and will continue to lag a community:

    NUnit/MbUnit/xUnit.Net not to mention the NSpec type extensions will continue to move faster than MSTest
    JQuery/Prototype/Scriptaculous move faster than whatever Atlas is called now


    Rails is marching on.


    Merb sounds cool. Is it a little more suitable for more complex domains? I’d be a little spooked to use ActiveRecord on some of the databases I’ve worked with this past couple years.

  8. Scott says:

    Careful when searching for Merb. It also stands for “Montreal Escort Review Board”.

  9. csanborn says:

    It’s also difficult to imagine a that Microsoft moves too slowly, from those of us who market a competing product and can see years of hard work duplicated by Microsoft is a matter of weeks/months

  10. Sam Smoot says:


    I’m a former .NET developer. I’ve been working with Ruby for about 3 years now (I don’t keep track of specific dates :-) ), and Rails professionally for about a year.

    If you really want to be where the action is, skip Rails.

    Merb is more than twice as fast. Much easier to follow code (my #1 reason), with a much friendlier, open-to-feedback community. The Framework itself is more “OO”. Actions render whatever is returned from them. No “render :text => ‘Hello World!'”, instead it’s just “return ‘Hello World!'” (call #render if you want to render a template instead). Build re-usable Components with Merb. Wrap up your Controllers, Views, and Models for a specific piece of functionality just by dropping them into a Gem. No voodoo required. With a plugin a few of us wrote, pass arguments to actions for parameters similar to Monorail (requires ParseTree gem, *nix only).

    DataMapper (my own project). Peek at http://datamapper.org/why.html for just some of the reasons why. Oh, and it supports multiple databases with different mappings out of the box.

    DataObject.rb is a port of the best part of the ADO.NET interfaces (Connection/Command/Reader) to provide a consistent, fast way to access (so far) Sqlite3, Mysql and PostgreSQL: http://dataobjects.devjavu.com/. Soon I’ll switch the DataMapper to use it as it’s basis. Within a week one of the most prolific (involved in DataMapper, DO.rb, Rubinius, Merb and a core developer for jQuery) guys in the Ruby OSS community, Yehuda Katz, wrote this in his spare time.

    If you have questions or need help with any of this, feel free to stop by #merb or #datamapper on irc.freenode.net.

    True, some of these projects are young, and are going through pretty heavy development right now, but if you want to be on the edge, this is where it’s at. If you want the Ruby skills that will carry you into any project, Nitro, Merb, Rails, etc, with ease, this is where you’ll develop them.

  11. Dave Laribee says:

    @cmyers – that’s kind of a cynical viewpoint- not saying it doesn’t ring a bit true 😉 – and to @theothersteve’s criticism there’s benefit to being on the edge, but i suppose you’re lucky if you’re out there.

    where are the roadies then? mvc? which doesn’t exist (for all intents and purposes)? right now if you’re doing hardcore agile (and have the luxury/have undergone the pain to do so) you can’t help but be both, no?

  12. The Other Steve says:

    It’s difficult to imagine a complaint that Microsoft moves too slowly, from those of us in the trenches who only just this last year got to start working with Visual Studio 2005 and still have yet to uncover all of it’s capabilities.

  13. cmyers says:

    Roadie: Doing the hard work, getting stuff done, etc
    Groupie: Hanging out with the rockstar programmers

  14. Dave Laribee says:

    @vladan – pluggable is great when you’ve got stuff to plug. all things being equal if ironruby represents a full implementation of ruby much of the goodness can be ported.

    @sergio – hear, hear. do you think there’s a different bar for quality going on? i honestly haven’t used much monorail. a lot of the castle stack is very relevant for my money right windsor and dynamicproxy2 are the bomb and these things are very likely to iterate/release faster than equivalent Microsoft bits.

  15. sergiopereira says:

    I like the Castle stack but I sincerely think we need to put a 1.0 stamp on that thing asap. The beta/RC thing is one more contributing factor to the smaller adoption. There will always be bugs. Heck, look at RoR, they had 2 maintenance releases in the last few days.

  16. Not sure (really just Not sure) if I agree… I see MS MVC as a pluggable solution where you can switch out the part which doesn’t suit you… DI, Views… so if Castle produces something better (like a better DI container)… maybe it will be pluggable in MS’s solution (at least it sounded like that in Scott’s video)?

  17. Dave Laribee says:

    cute analog but not sure i get it; i can see roadies/groupies working both ways. do explain.

  18. cmyers says:

    So, the choice basically boils down to: Roadie or Groupie? :)

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