I can definitely relate to that.
I used to run eurucamp and JRubyConf.EU (which I gave up for personal reasons, there is another team now). We had 160 submissions (eurucamp only!) to speak this year, a lot of high quality, a lot of new projects.
The Ruby usergroup Berlin is one of the largest PL usergroups in Berlin, hosting three talks every month plus lightning talks, with a waiting list.
The new eurucamp team consists almost exclusively of people running their first conference (not event).
While Ruby might become old and a bit dated, the community is still fresh and strong and has newcomers puring in. There’s quite some change at the horizon, too, and I’m pretty sure that Ruby will have a second coming, just like Java had one.
I think it’s alive and well. But not a good sign if someone had to say it. I wonder what will catch on with the cool kids after node.
I believe quite the opposite. Sometimes, mature communities look like they are standing still and it helps that someone just writes down that they are actually moving. The dramatic angle is infused by a popular community member calling Ruby dead in a blog post a while ago.
I gave a talk on this at Rubyconf Uruguay, with a bit more of a forward-looking angle.
Go. Or, maybe Rust.
Ruby takes after Perl, and over here we’ve had our big wave of “this language isn’t dead” a while ago, so it was about time for you guys to follow suit. You’re just getting a little older, nothing more; relax. :-)
I came to Ruby via Rails. I came to Rails via the amazing screen cast that showed DHH (I think it was) creating a CRUD application by typing a few lines of code. I really loved how Ruby handled text. I ported my research notes app to Rails and was very satisfied (http://rriki.sourceforge.net/) However, I could not keep up with the rapid changes they were making to Rails (this was in 2005 or so). My main interest was scientific computing and Python raced ahead in that and so I switched to Python. For some reason, I never really thought of Ruby as a language independent of Rails and never came to think of it as a scientific computing language. I wonder if that is a fairly common bias.
In my corner of the world (development consulting, US-based), Ruby isn’t dead, but it’s certainly dying. Many people came to Ruby as a means to get to Rails, not because they needed anything that Ruby had. Now that Node has supplanted Rails as the new (poorly-designed) hotness, Ruby is following Rails' decline. (Side note: How ridiculous is it that places like Paypal and Walmart switch their stacks to Node just so that they can hire “hip, young developers”?)
Anyway, just my experience, not data.
Do you have a source stating that those companies switched for “hip young developers?” I seem to recall technical reasons from appearances on the Nodeup podcast.