For all of the negative talk about Rails lately, the truth is that for cranking out Web applications quickly and easily, it remains difficult to beat. I started on a new project last week, and in an afternoon, I managed to go from having nothing but a CSV export of a database to having a fully implemented data model of 6 or 7 tables, the model classes to represent them, unit tests for those models, and a script that imports the data from the CSV file to populate the database.
Today I managed to get full text search of the site working (with all of the dependent objects indexed) in about six hours, using Sphinx, Ultrasphinx, and will_paginate, despite the fact that I had never used Sphinx or Ultrasphinx before, and that I had to patch Ultrasphinx to make it work the way I wanted. I think that next time I could probably do the Sphinx implementation in an hour or two, even for a complex application.
Yeah, Rails is hard to set up in shared hosting, and maybe some people are sick of Rails being the flavor of the month, but the bottom line is that even though I feel a bit rusty with Rails, I was still able to be significantly more productive than I would have been with PHP or Java.