I'm about to start development on a project to build a new online book store for a small retailer and publisher.
The system, feature-wise, is pretty much Amazon, and the data that's backing it is a catalog of more than 2½ million items.
To back the Amazon-like functionality (like "other users bought" etc.) we'll be tracking user behavior, offering customized news letters, etc. etc. etc.
So, the data is immense, and data handling is quite significant, too. The system will be running on an IIS server with an MS SQL Server. That's just how it is, as this is the setup the business is using, and they're not interested in migrating.
We actually already decided on TYPO3 as our base system, after a longer research into different CMS'es, CMF's and eCommerce systems.
Then, by chance, I stumbled across Ruby on Rails. My brother told me about it once, how students at his design school were using it to build applications in no time. Considering the programming skills of designers at his school, and the way he talked about it, I got the impression that it was more a toy than a serious development tool, so I never really considered it for this project.
I then grabbed a book on the subject and read a few pages. I was intrigued. We spoke about it as a possible last-minute candidate, and decided that I should give it a few days of scrutiny to determine its viability for our project. I'm currently playing around with RoR tutorials, and I'm extremely excited. This thing is so intuitive and easy, it's amazing.
But then, I see the performance comparisons at shootout.alioth.debian.org, and compared to PHP (which would be the alternative), it's not exactly impressive. But, on the other hand, it's not like I'm going to be doing much of the stuff that these benchmarks do, like create mandelbrots etc. Basically, we need to get and put data, much like any other web site out there. Data processing in scripts is probably minimal (?), as most of it can be handled by stored procedures (or whatever it's called in MSSQL terminology).
But still, I need to know about scalability. Can anyone with sufficient insight help me out with this? Although this system should mimick Amazon's feature list, the userbase is significantly lower. In 2005, there was an average of 760 visitors per day, so the odds of having something like 100 hits at the same time are marginal. 2,5+ million items plus all the candy, yes, but not an extreme amount of users.
So is RoR fast enough?
Someone mentioned problems with MSSQL with a lot of concurrent users (amateur that I am, I forgot to bookmark it). Now, this guy may just have made crappy code, his network was congested, his hardware crappy, I don't know... But are there any known problems with the MSSQL "wrapper" in RoR? And how does it handle scaling in general?
So is RoR stable enough?
And how about eCommerce add-ons? A lot of other systems, like TYPO3 and Drupal have eCommerce-functionality available as add-ons. Does something like this exist for RoR?
Links to similar big sites, preferably eCommerce but any big site really, would be great! So that I can show the big guys with the money that RoR can do this, because subjectively speaking, it makes my belly tinkle inside, it's really really that sweet...
Thanks in advance for any help!
Daniel Buus, Denmark