James Britt wrote:
> People interested in the craft of software development will learn
> languages for the sake of learning new concepts.   I'd much rather see a
> slower growth of the Ruby community than try to draw people in who will
> only pursue Ruby if they think it offers gainful employment or some
> "non-hobby" use.
>
> Trying to "sell" a language by tossing out showpiece success stories or
> prospects of corporate employment is of limited value.  People so
> persuaded by this are just as likely to jump to the next New Hot Thing
> in a year or so.

I agree for anyone convinced by the stories *alone*. I never
interpreted 'success stories' to translate to 'you can make money with
this language'. Perhaps the word 'success' is the problem.

Like others I see a 'Who's using Ruby' as more a means to combat PHBS
(which exists in the biggest of technical shops) and to help get the
creative "what if" juices going.

I know it sounds childish, but the phrase "...but X is using Ruby"
really carries weight sometimes when it shouldn't. Responsible
technologists will only pull this out after *real* review of the
technology, whether it be "Hot" at the time or not.

> Why be concerned over Ruby's popularity?

Mindshare is important to any community. It just is. I know it is
getting crowded but having lack of mindshare is definitely a worse
problem.

I am encouraged by the number of young people whom I know locally who
are considering technology careers not just for the money, but for the
enjoyment they are getting out of programming--largely from the Rails
phenomenon. I have also read students who post who *hate* programming
in Java. Ruby keeps them motivated.

[BTW, I still think they should learn Java for the same reason I am
forcing myself to learn some .Net. I agree with what I've heard Chad
say in podcasts, "you should learn a new language every year,
particularly one you don't like" for the mind-opening excercise that
is.]

> Or, at least, why be concerned
> with making Ruby popular among people who don't have the wherewithal or
> motivation to properly assess it?  Will it cultivate a strong, lasting
> Ruby community?

I don't know that such people would ever consider themselves part of
the community. Do techno-decision makers mandating Java versions of
anything belong to the Java community? Not unless there is a 'buzzword'
subclass.

> Someone choosing Ruby for production development had better be sure of
> the value and risks, which are not apparent from one-page success
> stories.  I'd prefer someone not use Ruby at all rather than use Ruby
> with mistaken expectations, fail, then blame the language.

Amen and amen! Boy I hope everyone reads that.

Over zealous evangelists with their auto-defend set too high hurt more
than help with their foolish "it's been fine for 10 years" posts
suggesting no further scrutiny is needed.

But, again, after review the "it's been fine for 10 years" does sound
nice to that doesnt-know-hes-pointy-haired, hasnt-coded-in-three-years,
technology-picking, senior "Distinguished Engineer." Too often having
to sell a perception is our reality even after we know the truth. The
danger is not learning the truth before pitching the perception.

-- 
Rob Muhlestein
http://rob.muhlestein.net