For the last week, I've been knee deep learning more about Rails and Grails. The reason is because I think developers (and companies) are going to have a hard time deciding which framework is best for them. The real question is: do they both do the same thing or are their different applications for each? Is "Grails vs. JRuby on Rails" a "Struts 2 vs. Spring MVC vs. Stripes" argument - where they're all so similar it probably doesn't really matter which one you choose?
Of course, the Stripes folks will object, but I really don't think it's that much better than Spring MVC 2.5 or Struts 2.1. Sorry guys.
If it is a Spring MVC vs. Struts 2 type of argument, then it seems to make sense for a company to standardize on one -- don't you agree? Does it make sense to allow both frameworks in a company if they're so similar?
Here's the sticking point: Ask any Rails developers and they'll say Rails wins hands down. Ask any Grails developers and they'll say Grails is the easy choice because it builds on top of Java's strong open source projects. Blah, blah, blah - where's the objective voice that's identified the "sweet spot" for each?
The Relevance guys, particularly Stuart Halloway, has a post about How to pick a platform. The logic in this post seems to imply that both frameworks do solve the same problem - just in different ways. Stu seems to recommend Rails for most applications, because Ruby is a better language. He says Grails might win if you have "an established team of Spring ninjas".
I know Stu and believe he does know his stuff (in both Java and Ruby). So is this the definitive guide on which framework to choose? If you have a staff full of Java developers, they should start learning/using Rails rather than doing the easier transition to Groovy, which they pretty much already know?
I don't know what the answer is, but that's what everyone seems to be saying. The problems is, the authorities on this matter (Rails vs. Grails) are often "head honchos" in companies that have a vested interest in seeing their respective framework/platform succeed. Since the Relevance team employs some Grails developers, it seems they're less biased. But who knows.
Is Rails really head and shoulders better than Grails? I don't think so, but I've only been programming with both for a week.