Summer Is Over

This was basically a pretty lazy summer for me, as you can tell by the infrequency of my posts. That is not to say a lot didn’t happen; I just reached a pseudo-burnout state on technology for a bit. The geek equivalent of writer’s block.

The big news is the new job. I left my position at Orange Leap and returned to work at Bank of America in the Office of Architecture working for one of my favorite former bosses. It was a huge shift of the pendulum for me. At Orange Leap, I was spending 99% of my time doing heads-down coding. Start-up mode. Now, at Bank of America, it is completely the opposite. I’m doing enterprise architecture more at what one might call the “paper architecture” level. For me, that means zero coding, which has jolted me out of my slump since I’m still a geek at heart and need to feel the satisfaction of writing cool code.

One advantage to not being bound to code at work is I can invest in the code I want to write, not have to write. I had a lot of time to reflect on the state of the Java world, and have decided to invest my personal coding into Ruby instead of Java. I’ll have to eat some crow with my Canadian friend, whom I mercilessly harassed for his Rails habit at ExtConf, but it is worth it.

I’ll address the easy part first: why not Java? I not exactly giving up Java. I’m perfectly happy to be paid to code in it, and will probably use it for years to come. But I see a bleak future ahead with the pending purchase of Sun by Oracle. I can’t really think of a company I hate more than Oracle, excluding the dirtbags at SCO. Java will be monetized to the detriment of the community; count on it. And yes, there is some cool work being done with languages using the JVM as the base (Groovy, Scala), but I would like a clean separation from a possible Oracle impact.

The second nail in the coffin was the purchase of Spring Source by VMWare. This made no sense to anyone, in spite of Rod’s blog entry explaining the reasoning behind the madness. As I suggested in my prior post, this is just a small course adjustment to SpringSource’s final destination. VMWare will be acquired by one of the big players, and SpringSource was only acquired to serve as additional bait. Even my good friend who is very involved in the local Spring community is acknowledging this gig is up.

So with two of my favorite technologies headed for a gruesome destiny, I decided it was time to bust out of the box. Ruby was my only choice. Ironically, I was pretty passionate about Ruby a few years back before it was cool. I attended the 2nd RubyConf in San Diego, and the first two RailsConfs. I’ll never forget seeing Why the Lucky Stiff perform at the Chicago RailsConf.

I put down Ruby because work called for Java. I should have stayed up on it. But now, getting back in to it after a few years absence, I feel like a kid again on Christmas Day. Ruby and Rails have matured dramatically as a language and framework, respectively. The community is even more vibrant than before and the syntactic prowess of Ruby is a breath of fresh air after years of Java. I’m looking forward to burning my personal braincells on something as enriching as Ruby.

What about JavaScript? It is not going anywhere. Some of the first stuff I want to figure out with Rails is how to get it to play nice with ExtJS and JQuery. JavaScript really is the future, and Ruby on Rails feels like the perfect match for getting it to the browser in an elegant manner.

So Hello Ruby World! I’m looking forward to getting to know you again.

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