I have that feeling I remember from the first day school each year, the excitement of everything renewed, the refreshing sense of a clean start, the giddy anticipation of a seemingly infinite range of completely new possibilities. In 20+ years of technology I've been around a few different blocks a few times each, and I am stoked to learn yet again that there is always something new to learn!
I remember being a young C/C++ developer at SunLabs when the gang went off to do the secret project that ultimately became Java. I remember the whisper suite in Moscone in 1995 as Java started rolling out in a big way down its path to dominate corporate IT. Marketing Java to enterprises in the late 90s, doing a Java-based cloud startup in the early 2000s (when cloud vendors were called ASPs), and carrying the mantle for WebLogic for the last five years were all great fun and afforded many interactions with some of the most brilliant Silicon Valley minds.
It's a new world now. Apps are shifting from the on-premise data center to the cloud. Web software is no longer the “other” software vis-à-vis “real” enterprise software—it is taking over as the mainstream. Mobile access can no longer be a future nice-to-have, it must be a first-class consideration in v1. Apps must be built, deployed, scaled, changed, and thrown away more quickly than ever—you'd no sooner expect to be using a given app of today in a few years than you'd expect to be using your current digital camera in a few years.
The new world demands a different paradigm, a different language with different emphases and different frameworks with different primitives. Java transformed software development in the late 90s in important ways and will continue to play a role in business software for the foreseeable future. But new platforms and ways of thinking are transforming development yet again, and Ruby on Rails is in the vanguard. I am profoundly excited to be part of it at Engine Yard where I will be working on product strategy, requirements and roadmaps with our engineering team.