Anyone who reads my blog knows that I love to write Java code using IntelliJ. As much as I prefer the Ruby language to Java, better IDEs and more available infrastructure software keeps me (for now) firmly in the Java development camp.
However, Ruby tools are definitely improving. The Ruby Development Tools for Eclipse keep getting better and the new RAD IDE for developing Ruby on Rails applications (RadRails) is looking very promising.
Besides congratulating the RDT and RadRails developers for some cool work, I actually have a point to make:
In the new IT world, developers concentrate on providing services to users that are based on centralized data stores like existing relational databases, generated data from web services (via XML-RPC, REST, SOAP, etc.), semantic data (RDF, OWL, etc.) repositories, document stores (e.g., Microsoft's SharePoint, WebDAV repositories of OpenOffice.org documents), etc.
Choice of programming language and runtime platform seems to be less important than it used to be as long as there is a good supply of developers for a language and the language is stable. Developers are free to use the best language and tools for each job and in my experience the availability of existing software that can be reused is the most important thing to take into consideration when selecting languages and tools. That said, system maintenance is much less expensive when an entire SOA or web portal is written for one language/platform.