I’m in that horrible questioning state. No, not trying to figure out if I’m gay. I’m trying to decide between Django and Rails.
From what I’ve read, Django probably fits my needs better, both from a “cultural” and goal point of view. The baked-in admin interface pretty much sells me alone. However, I have one critical concern: it looks like the Rails community is much larger. This could be a plus OR a minus; read on.
I have experience hanging my hat on a technology that does not have as vibrant a commmunity as its “competitor.” I run a Mac consulting firm in the Bay Area. Up until very, very recently (like the last year!), finding resources for very difficult issues (especially server- and network-related) was so difficult that it was often not even worth trying. This is now changing rapidly due to the Halo Effect, but if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs’ return to Apple and the iPhone, the future would look just as bleak as the past.
So, while Django looks awesome, I am concerned about pigeonholing myself in yet another niche. I’m less concerned with my theoretical job prospects as a Django developer (I like my job) than I am with simply having resources available to create and maintain cutting-edge projects that can evolve with the Web, and not lag too far behind.
From the above point of view, it looks like Rails has the advantage. However, here’s a problem I’ve noticed that seems to come from the vibrancy of the Rails community: Want to accomplish a particular Rails programming task you’ve never done before? Google it; you’ll find three to six+ different plugins, each with as many advocates as detractors. How do you decide which to use without spending hours and hours learning and prototyping? How do you know that the one you choose won’t be end-of-lifed in 12 months, and you’ll have to redo that part of your app in order to stay current with the latest Rails distribution?
My latter point brings me right back to where I started: Django seems like a time-saver. Except now I have two reasons to think so, not just one.
I should mention that I’ve already spent a significant amount of time learning Ruby and Rails, dabbled a bit in Python, and quite prefer Ruby.
Would love your thoughts.