When I start to type similar question, I got this suggestion:
Is stackoverflow.com written in Ruby on Rails?

So I made a little change in my question. Why does this site look like a Ruby on Rails site? As a Rails developer, I couldn't believe that this is written using the ASP.Net framework.

What are the possible reasons for this similarity. Is it due to jQuery?

  • No, you see, Stack Overflow is just a retroactive clone of CNProg which itself was built on Django Paterson.
    – random
    Sep 11, 2009 at 11:27
  • "Rails is the hot sh*t. I read this on Digg. It's true." - Cal Henderson
    – TM.
    Sep 11, 2009 at 12:16
  • More importantly, why doesn't SO use jQuery? Oh, it does? n/m Sep 11, 2009 at 12:34
  • Having actually looked at the edit that was done by John Smithers, I'd consider it to be abusive. It completely changes the tone of the question from curiosity to incredulity.
    – devinb
    Sep 11, 2009 at 13:45
  • 4
    -1 for not a real question. awesome stuff existed way before RoR Sep 11, 2009 at 16:11
  • 1
    How could it possibly be this awesome, and be written with ROR? Sep 11, 2009 at 20:06
  • I am the first person to defend attacks on RoR, but also the last person to be entertained by this ludicrous question. @Brad your comment is retarded.
    – waffles
    Sep 11, 2009 at 23:13
  • 2
    It was a joke, get over yourself. It was added to point out that there are other viewpoints which contradict the question completely. I actually think the creation of ROR was a good thing, if only so that it would get programmers to think of their website design differently. Sep 12, 2009 at 4:16

4 Answers 4


Rails uses the MVC model, and StackOverflow is built on ASP.NET-MVC.

MVC is not a new or exclusive architecture, so if your world is Rails, it's easy to see how you could think that it looks like Rails.

ASP.NET has been able to do all of the AJAX tricks for quite a while, as well.

Moreover, it's sort of tough to say that a web site "looks" like its server-side language. JavaScript, CSS, and HTML all have a larger role to play in its look and feel than the backend.

  • 1
    What has an architectural model to do with the look & feel? Sep 11, 2009 at 11:31
  • 2
    @John: Right. If your world is Rails and you're used to AJAX callbacks being handled by the MVC implementation in Rails, then you may not realize that a ton of other web frameworks can do those tricks, also.
    – Eric
    Sep 11, 2009 at 11:36
  • Hmm, interesting argumentation path... who cares, I upvote you... Sep 11, 2009 at 11:38

If using jQuery makes a site "look like rails," then I think you need to take a step back, and rethink your criteria for what a rails site is :) As Eric said, a site doesn't really "look like" any particular server-side language. Granted, you may be able to learn about the server side language from directory structures, extensions, etc., but that isn't the issue.

RoR isn't all there is out there. It shouldn't come as a surprise that great sites can be built with other technologies :)


SO looks like a website. Or rather, it doesn't go out of its way trying to not look like a website.

SO acts like a website. Again, no misguided hacks intended to make it act like something else.

These are traits shared by many fine web apps, including those written using Rails. You can, I'm sure, think of a number of common frameworks that discourage these traits, and the websites that suffer for having been written using them...


There are programmers who are able to write awesome stuff is any language. You try hard enough and go back far enough, you'll find some amazingly incredible stuff written in COBOL. Even some stubborn people writing mind-boggling stuff in SNOBOL.

The front end of a website doesn't betray what it was built with. These days, any flash application can be re-written into silverlight and the reverse is also true.

Bottom line: The look and feel of a website depends on the skills of the developers and designers, not on the framework they use.

  • Eh... I think it's safe to say most of us can tell whether or not a website is written using Flash or Silverlight. But for sites that do stick to HTML, your point holds true.
    – Shog9
    Sep 11, 2009 at 12:30
  • Well, with flash/silverlight, you just right-click =P
    – devinb
    Sep 11, 2009 at 12:33

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