Rails vs. J2EE

The world is aflame these days as rails and java advocates take potshots at each other's tool of choice. I've glanced at ruby on rails a couple of times over the last few months but not given it a serious look. At this month's Denver JUG meeting David Geary presented an intro to ruby on rails. It was good to see an in depth demonstration of what rails is and what it can do. I have to be honest and say that Active Record might have some limitations but I'd have to play with some more complex relationships than what David showed. It could very well handle things like sorted many-to-ones, or priorited lists. I just haven't seen the code to handle it.

To be honest, though, my main concern is one of maintainability. When David showed the first .rhtml file I flinched. It looked a lot like the JSPs everyone was writing when they first came out: lots of code intermingled with HTML. Now, this was the scaffolding code which David freely admitted was crap and that hardly anyone would really use it (then what's the point of rails again?...) Mike Clark told me you could use templates and the like to achieve taglib like scenarios. David also made use of "partials" as well. So all that to say, that while rails is certainly intriguing, I'd have to see a bit more code before I could really say if it's worth learning. David and Mike and certainly big fans and I'm open to learning it. But I'd really like to see some anecdotes of maintaining that project to took less than 1/10 the time it'd take to do in java. Speed of development is all find and good but if it's impossible to maintain then it's not really worth it. Just look at all the dinks that PHP gets for that very reason.

Either way, I'll probably be writing a test app soon just to see what it's like first hand. Anecdotes are great but nothing beats experience...