Although I still have a ton of ideas about how to improve Feedwhip, I’m putting things on hold. Feedwhip has been fun, but I’ll be lucky if it ever pays its own bandwidth costs, let alone other bills like, say, the mortgage. I’ve been thinking about getting a “real” job lately, and I’ve done a bit of looking at the local job market.

What’s been surprising (and a little disappointing) is how little demand there is for PHP engineers. ASP.NET/C# and Java dominate the market. Ruby is starting to make some inroads. PHP is really nowhere to be found — especially if you’re looking for advanced engineering work.

To that end, I’ve decided to pick up (yet) another language. As a seasoned engineer, I’ve gotten to the point where the language itself isn’t so important — they’re all more or less the same, although Ruby is a bit of an outlier — but it’s the surrounding framework and tools that take time to learn.

I’ve done some work in C#/.net in the past, but I’d like to stay away from MS platforms for now (why pay for software when the equivalent is available for free?). Java would be fine, but it appears that a lot of Java developers are choosing to do their new work in Ruby — so, Ruby it is!

I spent about a week playing with Ruby before starting Feedwhip, but found that the amount of magic — things which just happened without you really understanding how or why — to be a little frustrating to dig through. In the end I decided to borrow a bunch of ideas from Rails and create my own framework in PHP — an endeavor which was fun, educational, and pretty darn successful.

Now, I’m diving into Ruby on Rails waters for the second time. After plumbing the depths of PHP and model-view-controller frameworks over the past 18 months, I think I’ve got a better appreciation for just how handy Ruby’s magic is.