It’s easy to look at Ruby on Rails, built in 2004 around the idea of making server-side HTML generation easier, as an outdated server-side framework. Why bother with something like Rails when you can roll your own using Node or Sinatra and jettison the baggage of ActionView?
The truth is, starting with the embrace of REST in Rails 1.2, Rails has evolved into an extremely capable API server. In fact, Rails is more an HTTP framework than an HTML framework. The Rails plugin architecture makes it easy to share code across applications that hooks into all parts of the Rails application lifecycle (generators, rake tasks, initialization, logging, and a whole lot more), and Rails the 3.2 asset pipeline extends the plugin infrastructure to make it easy to hook your client-side code into the same lifecycle.
In this talk, Yehuda will cover the benefits of using Rails when the client is managing the view part of your application. He will also cover built-in (but little-known) features of Rails, like seamless HTTP caching support, that come in handy when building any HTTP server, even if your client is an iPhone app. Finally, he will talk about how the Rails 3 plugin API, and the way people use it for all kinds of things makes Rails stand out for any kind of application.