It is still Web programming, there are no major paradigm shifts here. However, Ruby on Rails is an example of how a lot of little things done right can really add up. Ruby is a fine scripting language, improving upon popular languages like Perl and Python. And Rails is an example of getting the little details of Web programming right. Rails is optimized (as I see it) for (1) Productivity and (2) Maintainability. The following are what I really like:
- The clean, simple ActiveRecord ORM layer.
- A full-fledged yet simple MVC that is easy to comprehend and get around in.
- Sensible defaults and very little configur-bation; "convention over configuration."
- A good job of making the most common tasks simple; the 80/20 rule.
- "rake migrate" is the coolest way to manage schemas that I have seen.
So I do like Rails a lot, I think it is probably the best solution for many small-medium sized webapps. But it is not necessarily a replacement for Java, especially in the enterprise. The trick is for decision-makers to weight their needs for big E Enterprise requirements against speed and simplicity.