Ruby on Rails or ASP.NET MVC?

A couple of months back I mentioned that I’d be taking a break from speaking and would start focusing on learning. And that’s what I’ve been doing over the last couple of months.

For the record: in the last 8 years or so, I’ve done very little web development; and that little worked involved mostly working on middle tier components. I’ve done some work on WebForms, but not a lot. Before that, I had spent a couple of years doing “classic” ASP, with COM components providing all the middle tier and html generation.

With that said, I knew that catching up with web development wasn’t going to be easy.

At first, I started looking into ASP.NET MVC. Over the last three years I have read articles on it, I’ve seen presentations, videos, etc. I remember seeing it being unveiled at the ALT.NET Open Spaces conference in Austin, and thinking how that looked a LOT better than WebForms. I thought I’d be better off starting on that track, as at least I’d be working on a familiar environment (C#, Visual Studio, having “some” understanding of ASP.NET and MVC).

I decided to base my studies off the Test-Drive ASP.NET MVC book. I had heard good comments about this book, and I liked the approach of development the sample app from a TDD standpoint, as well as using NHibernate and some other solid Open Source frameworks. I did go through almost half of the book following along with the examples (I am planning on finishing it at some point, at least for completeness sake).

Eventually, due to peer pressure, I decided to start learning Ruby on Rails. And I have no regrets at all (can’t ever say that phrase without thinking of William Hung)!  Smile

This is not exactly an easy task for me. Like I said, it seems like ages since I worked on any serious web development. Back then, JavaScript sucked, jQuery wasn’t around, CSS was only starting to get some attraction… so, not only do I have to learn (or get a refresher) on all of these things, but I also need learn an entire new language (Ruby), environment, tools, frameworks, mindset. And I am loving it so far!

Seriously, here’s a tag cloud of things I’m having to either learn from scratch, or relearn (after so many years of not using it):  


Of course, some of the things there aren’t required (such as Devise or CanCan), but I’m learning because I’ve seen the potential and it made sense to take the time and do it.

I have been seeing quite a few people whose opinion I value jumping ship from .NET to Rails and saying many good things about it, so I figured I should check it out. Like I said, I’m enjoying what I’ve seen so far, so you can expect more blog posts with my findings in this area as time goes by.

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  1. #1 by Steve Wiley on May 5, 2011 - 10:11 am

    Although I’m not going the MVC route (yet), I have been working on a standard C# ASP.NET project for some time now (after extensive training to get me going in the right direction). This is my first big .NET project and I have been digging in and getting my hands dirty. I have not been so pumped to program in a very long time. The more I work in it, the more things start to make sense. It is all new to me (just as Ruby is to you). The stuff I learned from you and the other guys at EPS is starting to pay off! I love learning something new every day.

    • #2 by claudiolassala on May 5, 2011 - 10:37 am

      Great to know the classes have been helpful to you!
      Yeah, I love learning. I was missing that, and that’s why I’m being very aggressive into learning as much as I can, and preferably, things that are kind of far from my comfort zone.

  2. #3 by Brice on June 29, 2011 - 5:26 pm

    I have tried to start on RoR several times now but work keeps getting in the way (this is not a bad problem to have). I am productive in ASP.NET MVC, and I enjoy working with it, but I want to see what all of the fuss is about and expand my horizons. It is really good that you are getting the opportunity to do this.

    Hopefully soon I will be able to start doing a side project using Rails.

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