Francis Hwang <sera / fhwang.net> writes:

> So I've just started working as the sole programmer at a non-profit 
> which is heavily internet-based. Most of the code is in PHP or Perl, 
> and I would like to gradually migrate it to Ruby over time.
> 
> I get a lot of leeway in this job, but this sort of a decision is 
> probably the sort of thing I'd have to justify to my boss, who's 
> likely to be nervous about it. Not about my ability to be more 
> productive with Ruby, but with the fact that Ruby is an uncommon 
> language compared to PHP and Perl. So if I get hit by a truck, or if 
> the organization expands and needs to hire new programmers, or when 
> we're looking for interns, it will be harder to find programmers who 
> know Ruby.
> 
> Anybody have any advice as to what I can say him to make him less 
> nervous about making such a transition?

I am working as a Common Lisp programmer in a major Norwegian Internet
service provider.  We have developed server software in Lisp for about
five years (I am a relatively new member of the team; I started
working here in April last year).  Finding new Lisp programmers has
never been a problem.  Although few people know the language, those
who do are usually very skillful.  Being familiar with a very powerful
and dynamic language, they also tend to intensely dislike working in
mainstream languages like Java, Perl or C++.  The few Lisp jobs
available are therefore very attractive.

I think Ruby is similar to Lisp in this respect.  By choosing Ruby
instead of PHP or Perl, your boss is likely to make the company an
attractive workplace for the most skillful programmers.  Instead of
getting a big number of mostly incompetent candidates to new
positions, you are likely to get a smaller number of very good ones.

-- 
Tord Romstad