Since the announcement was made right before Christmas that Merb is going to be merged into Rails, everyone and their brother has seemingly had something to say about the situation. I have to admit that when I first heard the news, I fell into the camp of dissenters. I’ve been using Merb for the past six months, and during that period I’ve become quite attached to the framework. While I think Rails brought a lot of great new concepts to the table, Merb proves that there’s still lots of room for improvement in this space. I feared that the advancements made in Merb would be somehow diminished were they to be merged into Rails.
That being said, the new joint Rails and Merb core team has a big challenge ahead of itself in defining the scope of this project. I would imagine that there would be a desire to keep at least a modicum of backwards compatibility with existing Rails applications, but at the same time there needs to be an evolutionary progression. While not quite a paradigm shift, there are major new concepts being incorporated into Rails from Merb.
I have no doubt that the team will be able to pull it off. I’m over my initial hesitation that the merge is a good idea, and more than anything I’m excited to see how the team will choose to proceed and how Rails 3 will take shape. Even if the only beneficial products of the merge are a well-defined public API and a more modular framework there’s still a lot to which we can look forward.