Dave Thomas asked the Rails community to add "Enterprise" features during his RailsConf 2006 keynote.
I had been disheartened earlier in the day by Dave Thomas's talk (no offense, Dave!) Dave's a great guy and has been great to the Ruby community. And although I agreed with some of what Dave said, I couldn't have disagreed more with his view on changing Rails to play better in legacy environments. I sure was relieved to hear DHH's talk the following night. But I still recommend that you view his keynote, too: see what you think and let us know your thoughts. [Softies On Rails]
I agree with Jeff from Softies On Rails. I respect Dave Thomas a lot, but I did not care for the message he brought to RailsConf. At times his keynote was quite condescending. I don't think Dave meant it that way, but all his talk of "in the real world" probably wasn't received well by the RailsConf audience.
I work in the "real world" that Dave was talking about. It sucks! I can't wait to get out. Rails is a breath of fresh air precisely because it doesn't target the "enterprise". It was built by an agile team to create new agile web applications. If you need to create a new agile web application then Rails is a perfect match. But if you need to create yet another big upfront designed enterprise monstrosity, Rails is probably not going to work for you.
Dave also talked about improving the deployment of Rails applications. This is more applicable to the general Rails community. But I disagree with his idea that developers shouldn't be worried about how the application is going to run. That is a mistake. It sounds good in theory, but it ends up creating a situation where the developers make decisions that make the system almost impossible to maintain in production. For small teams you are much better off requiring the developers to own the entire system. If possible they should be responsible for testing, customer support, operations, design and development. As soon as you relieve them of responsibility in any of these areas you can guarantee they are going to make decisions that make it more difficult to support the application in that area.
I'm glad that the core team is focused on solving their problems not some enterprise's problems. Because their problems are my problems. It is strange to work with a platform that is built by people who actually use the platform to build real applications. I've spent so many years depending on platforms that Microsoft creates but doesn't actually use that I didn't realize how much I was missing.
Like Jeff said, watch Dave's keynote and let us know what you think. I am looking forward to seeing DHH's keynote.