Ruby on Rails has got to be the
most hyped non-commercial web programming tool in history. A lot of Java
and .NET people are skeptical. Some are even downright angry.

If I were them, I would be angry too. You’ve got people like Curt running around preaching
about a 10x productivity increase over other web frameworks. And, of
course, David receives a great
deal of pleasure in taking pot shots at the poor J2EE and PHP people (come
on, David, it’s like taking candy from a baby!). And, to top it all
off, when they pull off the cover of hype, they find that there really
is a productivity increase approaching what might feel like 10×.
Damn!

The people of the Ruby and Rails community are about to put the
productivity claim to a real test (though most would call it a
demonstration, not a test): Rails Day.
Rails Day is being organized by Lucas Carlson
(and others?). On June 4, web developers will have a chance to show just
how much application functionality they can pack into 24 hours of
development. They’ll be working in teams of no greater than 3 people,
using ONLY libraries installable via RubyGems, competing for a
collection of fabulous prizes. (Not quite as thrilling as, say the Mac
Mini, Ruby Central is giving away a
free RubyConf pass). By the time it would
take a Java team to get their IDEs installed, the contest will be over, and
we’ll have a set of new web applications that are sure to be
smashing.

So, you’ve got more than a month to prepare. If you don’t
already know Rails (or even Ruby), it’s not too late. Believe me: one
month is plenty of time to learn both of them.

Also, remember that you can only use gems, libraries included with
the Ruby distribution, or Rails itself (which is a gem, of course). This
means you can cheat! You have a month to create and release all of the gems
you may need to create the killer web application. A whole
month! Go read the list of
prizes
. Now make some gems! (Never mind the fact that there are already
258 different gems to choose from—not including the multiple versions
of each—you’ll still need more!)

And, remember: this contest is about fun. Don’t be too mean to the
Java, .NET, and PHP people afterward (I won’t even mention the Python
and Perl people…that wouldn’t be fair). They already feel bad
enough.