In an article over at Dancingmango Marc McNeill writes about how new web development frameworks such as Ruby on Rails will have an impact on usability testing practices (“What’s the point of usability testing”). The only real reason to test a mockup instead of a real application is of course that it used to be more expensive and time consuming to create an application. With Rails there is no such barrier anymore and usability tests can (and should) be using the real application instead. It is likely that this will lead to a better understanding of how users behave in e.g. a task based system.
Coupled with the extremely short feedback cycle realized by using dynamically typed languages such as Ruby, Rails may have a deeper impact on software development practices than I previously thought.