"Steve Tuckner" <SAT / MULTITECH.com> wrote in message
news:Whl77.19057$YK4.1630491 / e420r-atl1.usenetserver.com...

> Instead of comparing Ruby to the past I would be interested in hearing
Ruby
> compared against the future.
>
> I was recently introduced to Objective Caml ( http://www.ocaml.org
> <http://www.ocaml.org> ) but haven't had the time to understand it yet.

Since just before this was posted, I have been search high on low for more
information done much reserach on the topic. This of course does not make me
an expert. But it seems to me that OCaml and Clean are the two languages
that are fast enough to actually compete with C.
And OCaml seems to mix iterative, functional and OO programming in a sort of
pragmatic way where Clean has some powerful functional only concepts, that
makes "simple" GUI state management the topic of a 16 page dissertion and
years of research. That is, there are some programming problems which are
not easily handled by Clean, which seems much simpler in OCaml - but I have
more to learn.

Eventually, I landed on OO shapes examples:
http://www.angelfire.com/tx4/cus/shapes/index.html

Try compare Ruby with OCaml. OCaml is surprisingly compact.

And since OCaml both supports a bytecode interpreter for fast turnaround and
a native compiler, OCaml sure seems to be a strong contender.

But I don't think OCaml has Ruby scripting power with the many different
libraries. Not yet anyway. So OCaml may eventually replace C for many
purposes, but it will propably not replace Ruby as a nice multiplatform
scripting thing. And everything else being equal - it is much easier to
learn Ruby than some strange functional language - at least with the current
way of thinking about programming.

A potential problem with OCaml is that there is only INRIA to support it. It
is not easy for anyone else to write an efficient OCaml compiler. It is much
easier to write a half decent C-compiler - I'm not say it is easier to
parse, but it is easier to write a code generator for. So C will probably
always be the ultimate cross-platform bootstrapping language. Likewise, a
simple relatively small runtime portable language like Ruby will probably
have a future for its crossplatform scriptinig abilities.

Mikkel