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  1. #1
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    What brought on this question is the program Ruby, which to me appears to be so complex that I've felt comfortable with my knowledge of Actionscript, CSS, HTML and Javascript. Also, I have a strong desire to learn more about Actionscript, CSS and XHTML. Since Ruby is PHP it is a whole different ball game and now I'm deciding whether I should learn how to program in Ruby or face being shut out by companies or stick to what I know and what I like..the basic "4 Food Groups" of online development. I like using CSS because I'm a graphic designer at heart..heavy programming like C++ is not for me, however I don't want to limit my marketability. Learning Actionscript is great because it goes hand in hand with the motion graphics side of Flash development, another enjoyable skill.

    I've learned that Ruby is essential for building applications..but what type of businesses are really demanding developers for online applications? The postings on craigslist has me worried because I've seen companies requesting for job applicants with a "strong knowledge in Ruby, Cake, etc".

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff Wired's Avatar
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    Ruby is NOT PHP.
    The Rules
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  4. #3
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    Yes, please don't confuse Ruby with PHP. PHP has a syntax far more similar to C, C++, and Java. Ruby is a whole 'nother ball game.

    The kinds of developers that are in high demand, as I gather it, are Java developers. In the web arena, right now, they're most likely PHP developers. What kind of developers will be in high demand? Well, that's really really hard to say. Ruby on Rails is getting a whole ton of hype right now, but that hardly means it's going to become the dominant platform. Even if it does, it won't get there for a long while.

    In the meantime, PHP is still extremely popular, and with PHP you have such implementations as CakePHP that try to imitate Rails (side note: I tried Cake... Languages that aren't Ruby should really be careful when trying to implement Rails, lest they bring the features without the ease...)

    I'll be honest, I would love to be able to say `Ruby is the future!', because I like the Ruby language more the more I learn of it. But realistically speaking, there's absolutely no way to tell. Java may very well stay at the top. Witness the fact that languages like COBOL are still in heavy use because certain industries are still using them.

    With Flash+ActionScript and XHTML+CSS+JS, you have a solid foundation in web design. Learning Ruby on Rails and/or PHP will get you a solid foundation in web development, which is somewhat more involved. If you want to work purely in web design, and can find work in it, then great, you're set. More likely than not, you'll be working with web developers who will be doing the backend work in whatever other language for many sites.

    If you want to take the whole development process, including the backend, you'll have to learn one of these other frameworks. Far be it from me to tell you which one you will like best, but I *heart* Ruby on Rails -- again, the more I learn of it, the more I like it. I find Rails makes it truly fun to code a website. PHP... Well, not so much, in my opinion, though more so than certain other languages :-)

    The point being, the safest trait to have is agility (not as in Agile Programming, but as in being nimble), and the only way you'll get agility is by knowing more than one language. So my ultimate advice, really? Learn more than one. It may take a while, and you still have to decide which one to start with, but knowing more than one language will not only give you a more solid understanding of all the languages you know, but it will also give you more diverse opportunities in the job market.


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