hello again folks,

i have a proposition for you: i'm looking for fodder on ruby's
usefulness in the "real world". (in my best nixonesque accent: "i am not
a troll"!)

i'm writing a review of the language for a major developers' magazine,
and am interested in user's views on the language. my audience will be
80,000 or so mostly corporate software people. so we have a real chance
to reach some folks here.

note that first person plural: it may make of me a biased reviewer, but
i count myself a member of the community, and a proponent of the
language. (ever since dave thomas thundered "BELIEVE!" at SD West 2002,
i became oddly willing to try anything in ruby!)

i am asking for your help for a couple of reasons. one is that the
community is a big part of the ruby experience, and i wanted a chance to
showcase it in the article. another is that your experience collectively
-- and in many cases, individually -- far exceeds my own.

here are some of the questions to which my readers will want to see good
answers. please feel free to chime in on any of them:

1) is ruby just a "toy" language? OK, OK, don't all shout at once -- but
who's using it for medium-to-large projects, 10K SLOC and up?

2) how does the language fare compared to other ones?  do you have
comparative-productivity numbers you'd be willing to share, vis-a-vis C
(to be brutal) or Perl (to be a little fairer) or Python?

3) in your experience, how has the language's novelty affected its
stability? for comparision, recall the early days of java, and how the
evolution of the class library made "deprecated" a word that...well,
let's just say "sounds like something scatalogical" and leave it at
that, eh?

4) where do you use Ruby? headless cruncher programs on servers? as Web
application glue? GUI end-user programs? fast one-off scripty things?

5) what's your favorite flavor of GUI for Ruby apps? how does using it
compare with other UI class libraries you've tried (e.g., Swing, MFC,
OWL, Qt, whatever)?

6) what development tools do you use all the time for Ruby development?

7) is Ruby just one of the arrows in your programming quiver, or have
you made the leap and left other languages behind? if he former, is Ruby
often your first choice for green-field development?

8) open-ended essay: what drew you to Ruby? what keeps you working with
it? what bugs you about it?

if this leads to healthy discussion on the list, great -- i've
contributed in a small way. if you'd prefer to send replies directly to
me, feel free to do so. in addition to the article, which will appear in
december, and its online version, whose URL will be posted here when
it's available, i will attempt to summarize the input i gather and post
it back here.

note that in order to quote you, i will need a real name, address, and
contact info. if you so request, i will not reveal that information, but
good journalism (not to mention Attila the Editor) requires that *i*
know who you are before i publish what you say. otherwise, i have to
treat what you say as "background" only.

thanks to all of you for your help,

rw

--
Rick Wayne
(when not writing, i'm a)
Systems Programmer
University of Wisconsin Soil Sciences
1525 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706