I don’t know about you, but the be­gin­ning of a pro­gram­ming pro­ject is one of my fa­vorite times. And one of my fa­vorite parts of the be­gin­ning is choos­ing the tools. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are lim­it­less, and you can eas­ily spend days (or weeks!) brows­ing Github repos­i­to­ries, read­ing blogs, trawl­ing through Stack Overflow ques­tions, etc.

I re­cently started a per­sonal pro­ject, and, af­ter the pre­req­ui­site soul-search­ing, de­cided to use Ruby on Rails. Now, pro­fes­sion­ally, I’m a Windows stack guy. Intellisense. C#. Oh yeah. But for this pro­ject, I wanted to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. Leave the mini­van in the garage, and take the con­vert­ible out for a spin, so to speak. So I went with the po­lar op­po­site of .NET WebForms: Ruby on Rails.

It also helped that Rails is FOSS. (Sublime Text is­n’t free, but it’s worth it.) I’m not a drum-beat­ing, Stallmanesque, Rah rah Open Source!” per­son, but nei­ther am I a spend­thrift. Since its just a per­sonal pro­ject, I wanted to go with a low cost so­lu­tion.

Also, Ruby on Rails seemed to be a good fit for this pro­ject. It’s ba­si­cally go­ing to be a CRUD app for now; maybe it will be more later, maybe not. But I don’t think I’ll be need­ing cool kid node.js and his new-fan­gled ways. If I do end up adding more dy­namic func­tion­al­ity (and what web­site does­n’t these days?) I’m plan­ning to use Ember.

And, I’ll ad­mit it, I chose Rails be­cause Rails is cool. Maybe it’s not so cool here in 2013 as it was a few years ago; in fact I went through the Gartner hype cy­cle my­self while I was re­search­ing op­tions:

  1. Hey look, Ruby on Rails. Ruby is cool.
  2. No, it’s re­ally cool. Rails is the One True Path!
  3. Wait, a guy on a blog says it’s not cool.
  4. Another guy would rather write PHP than Rails (this is the low­est point of the dis­il­lu­sion­ment trough). I don’t like Rails.
  5. Wait, Rails is­n’t that bad. These peo­ple are throw­ing out the baby with the bath­wa­ter. (And re­ally, who throws out their bath­wa­ter these days? Let it run down the drain, sure, but ac­tu­ally throw it out?)
  6. OK, Rails is pretty good. Not per­fect, but good.

Anyway, a week or so af­ter I set­tled for sure on Ruby/Rails/Ember, Discourse launched. And what do you know, Jeff Atwood et al. chose the same tech I had. That’s good enough con­fir­ma­tion for me. Yes, Ruby on Rails is not a panacea; in our lu­cid mo­ments, I think we all know that noth­ing is. But it’s a solid frame­work, it will work for me, I’m go­ing to learn a lot, and—most im­por­tantly—it’s go­ing to be fun.