On 6/4/06, Hector <dummy / tracatran.com> wrote:
> I've been trying to pickup Ruby for a few months now. I've written a few
> good programs that help me at work with SAN/Unix Administration. I've
> also run into a few dificult(for me) programming problems. I like to
> figure things out on my own so I never post questions in forums like
> this, this probably contributes to my bad programming skill, but that's
> besides the point.

It never hurts to ask.  If you're running into some roadblock that's
keeping you from getting work done, chances are someone else ran into
it previously and you're likely to ge an answer in an hour or two on
this forum.

>
> I'm at a point where I'm asking myself if it is worth the trouble for me
> to learn Ruby. How many people are really writting Ruby? Are there any
> truly robust, good applications being written in Ruby? How well are Ruby
> libraries being maintained? I know there is a lot of documentation for
> Ruby but I find it hard to find very specific docs. Python seems to have
> a whole lot more doc and many more books exist for Python. Does Python
> have a greater following. I love Ruby but I don't want to waist my time
> with a laguage that may not have a future.
>
> I don't really care about learning 10 programming languages. My brain
> wouldn't be able handle it. I want to learn 1 or two languages and learn
> them well.  I know Pascal very well, I know Perl pretty well, now I
> would like to get away from Perl and so I started out leaning Python. I
> think Python is ugly and not very fun to write. I then jumped into
> Ruby(a whole lot of fun!) but I don't get the warm and fussies about
> Ruby's lasting power.

Actually, you should never get complacent about a language's 'lasting
power'.  Always be ready to learn a new one.

To address your question:  I've been programming in Ruby since early
2001.  Back then it was like pulling teeth to convince management to
let you use it.  First you had to educate people as to the existence
of Ruby and then you had to educate them as to it's capabilities,
stability, viability, etc.  Had you posted your question back then you
would have probably gotten a lot of answers that told you not to worry
about 'lasting power', if Ruby's doing the job for you then go ahead
and use it (and that's still good advice).

Fast forward to 2006: Last week I decided that I wanted to generate
some C++ files from some XML files using Ruby/REXML.  That meant that
Ruby had to be part of the build process and environment.  A few
emails were sent and some discussion ensued with the result being that
by the next day Ruby was now part of our build environment.  People in
the group keep coming to me and asking what's the best way to learn
Ruby (if they don't already know it). I've already seen PickaxeII
books appearing on people's desks.  People have either heard of Ruby
and would like to learn it, or they have already started learning it.
It's a big change from 2001.  Your question had a lot more validity
back then, but now it's not really an issue.

Ruby is now mainstream; time to learn Io ;-)

Phil