Some pretty serious developers have jumped on the RoR (ruby on rails) bandwagon recently. Ruby comes from Japan and has a strong connection with Apple and its hardware. RoR may present Apple an opportunity to get involved in web development which might help create demand for some of their server products.
Ruby seems to be easier to install on a Mac, to some degree this is because the debian package system, apt-get, has a very specific rule set which ruby’s package system does not play nicely with. I suspect RoR is probably easy to install under Windows but I doubt serious web developers use the IIS platform, it certainly has been losing market share over the last few years. When installing ruby on a Ubuntu machine, I had to dig a little to find out that a bunch of other packages were required to get the full ruby experience. Namely packages like libzlib and libyaml. This was not the case on my Apple laptop, rails took no time at all to install.
Now it may be that the rails developers develop on a Mac. Or that ruby’s package system, ruby-gems, is built with a Mac, so naturally the install bugs on the Mac are worked out first. In any case, it is exciting to see the community developing something so influential on the Apple platform. User base and developer community are crucial things if you want to be a successful software company and it appears that Apple has now the breadth and depth required for community-driven innovation.
Apple needs to cultivate this movement, if it is one, so that it remains viable. The community needs to have greater access to the software distribution system from Apple, there ought to be a way to package software for the OS X platform and submit it to Apple for inclusion via internet download or CD. Apple would be putting its money where its open source mouth is and provide a whole new source of free software for Apple users in one fell swoop.
The web framework movement is a way for Apple to leverage its openness and superior platform, let’s hope that Apple sees it as such and supports it.
What do you think?