Hi All,

I'm thinking about learning a new scripting language, and I have a
couple of questions I'd like to ask the Ruby community to work out if
Ruby is the language I should be learning.

A little background: most of my usage will be based around writing
console scripts that connect either to MSSQL (ie SQL Server), MySQL or
Microsoft Access databases to perform imports / exports / selections
etc, or it will be around pulling apart text file reports to identify
valid records etc (and often then importing them into a DB). This will
all be on a WinXP machine.

I'm currently very conversant with PHP and VBScript and moderately
conversant with C#.

What I'm looking for:

- A language that installs easily onto a WinXP machine, including any
libraries required to do the following things listed below as well.

- A language with solid and hopefully well-documented libraries for
connecting to at least MySQL and MSSQL. Being able to connect to
Microsoft Access via ODBC (or even better, natively) would be an extra
bonus.

- A language with a flexible array or array-like object. One of the
things I love about PHP is the ease with which an array can be
populated (eg "MyArray[] = 'a new value';" adds "a new value" as a new
item to the array MyArray).

- A language with strong Regular Expression abilities, and string
manipulation tools / methods.

What I don't (currently?) need:

- Web support. I'm well aware of Ruby On Rails, and perhaps somewhere
down the track I'll build web applications in it, but for the moment
I'm looking strictly for a console scripting language to handle
repetitive yet complex database oriented tasks.

So, would anyone be able to help me work out if Ruby is the language I
need?

Many thanks to anyone who gives these questions some thought.

Much warmth,

pt