On Mon, 2001-10-22 at 23:50, Chris Olive wrote:
> Been writing Ruby pretty much everyday, when I can.  It totally rocks...  I
> just need more exposure to all the classes and methods available; that's the
> only hangup.  I'm converting to Ruby; sorry Perl. (Though I will probably
> still use Perl alot since the rest of the world still doesn't seem to know
> about Ruby -- a check on Monster.Com for Ruby jobs turned up one company
> that mentioned it.  One.)

Don't take this as any strike against you, Chris, because it's not
intended to be.  This is more of a general commentary.  But I see this
statement a lot, and I always wonder at it.  I frequently hear people
talk about how they "converted" to Perl, or Python, or Ruby, or Scheme,
etc...  I'm curious: why would someone "convert" to a programming
language?  Why are languages religious issues with so many?

I've programmed in REXX, C, C++, Perl, Python, Ruby, Emacs-Lisp and VB;
and I've toyed with Java, Smalltalk, and probably others I forget.  I
think Lisp is fascinating because of the concept of "one person's code
is another person's data".  I  enjoyed the tight integration VB enjoyed
with Excel.  I think Ruby is wonderful in about five dozen different
ways.  I think Python is neat because it's got some great, reasonably
mature libraries available, there's great Emacs support for it, and it's
absurdly easy to export my C++ classes as Python modules using SWIG.  I
think Perl rocks because it's an insanely fast, powerful, and concise
text munger, in some ways more so than Ruby.  I also love Perl because
whatever I want to do with it, typically someone's already invented a
module that makes that task rediculously easy and made it available on
CPAN; and because Larry Wall is just such a fascinating guy.  I love C++
because it's fast, standard, stable, multi-paradigm, and well
thought-out.  Whenever I come across an idea in a new language that
would seem impossible in C++, I find that someone's come up with an
idiomatic C++ library that supports it, just like Stroustrup intended.
Also, the STL rocks :-)   I think Smalltalk's neat in many of the same
ways that Ruby is.    I think Java's Inner Classes are a darned nifty
idea.  I liked REXX, although it's been so long I can't remember why.

In short, I'm fascinated by computer languages, and I've found something
to love about all the ones I've played with.  Doesn't mean they didn't
all have their warts; but I still use most of them on a regular basis.
It all depends on the job at hand.  Frankly, when I stick to a single
language for too long, I get bored.  

Which isn't to say that Ruby is "just another language" to me.  Ruby is
one of the best conglomerations of good ideas, solid paradigms, and
pragmatism I've ever seen in a language.  I expect to be coding in Ruby
for many, many years :-)

~Avdi