Hello, everyone! Thanks for having me - I've been working primarily with Ruby for the last couple of years, but before that I hit JavaRanch regularly, so it's especially nice to be back. I'm looking forward to chatting with you all over the next few days.
I started developing applications* for the web back in 1998, with Perl and MySQL. From there, I moved to Nextel Communications where I built internal applications in classic ASP (VBScript) with Access and SQL Server, and adopted C# and .NET. Around this time, I started hearing about Rails and played with it a bit, but my real avocation was PHP.
I started with Viget Labs in 2005 doing PHP and a little Java; after settling in, I experimented more with Rails and grew to love it, so when we landed Seth Godin's Squidoo I pitched Rails as the platform. We eventually settled on PHP for that project, but the framework I designed for it was *heavily* influenced by Rails.
After a few more projects, I finally convinced the company that Rails was the way to go - we were more productive, writing better code, and staying happier with it than we were in PHP and Java, so in the end it was an easy move to make. Currently, all of our new custom development is in Ruby and Rails, and we're very happy with it.
I’ve looked at a lot of different solutions, and in my humble opinion Aspose is the way to go. Here’s the link: http://aspose.com