The last website I built was on top of the express.js node framework. Express is a pretty minimal framework. It doesn’t give you all the bells and whistles that rails does. One of the big pain points I had was managing forms. Particularly with keeping the “create” page and the “update” pages in sync. Perhaps I was missing something in the express framework to help out. Early on with rails they showed the proper way to maintain a single view for both your “update” and “edit” forms. It was pretty thrilling to see they had already solved a problem I had and it came included with the package. On the other hand, I bet there’s a module out there that helps with just that issue.
I’m not sure I buy into either the “completely small modules” or “giant framework” philosophies. There are times when having features included in a framework can save a ton of time. There are other times when I want custom functionality that the framework author didn’t anticipate, it’s in those moments I wish I had small modules. Hopefully by learning rails I’ll be able to have a more informed opinion on the heated debate.