Gabriel Lima <Gabriel.Lima / enea.se> writes:

> Hi.
> First of all, please don't flame me, or misinterpret my question.  I am
> quite sure that you people
> receive questions regarding Ruby in comparison to other languages all
> the time, but that is not what
> I am after.
> 
> The question I am formulating is related to Python (as Python seems to
> be the closest match,
> due to its OOP features, and being both scripting languages), but it is
> not related to whether
> Ruby is better than Pyhon, but rather to the question of if the
> differences really are so great,
> that the switch is worth it.

I allow myself to suggest reading this paper:
http://www.naggum.no/worse-is-better.html


> 
> Python has the undeniable advantage of:
> * more libraries.
> * more books (3-4 for Python, one coming up for Ruby).
> * more online documentation.
> * a larger established user base (hey, programming alone is no fun).
> * at least one "killer app" (I am of course talking about Zope).
> * more commercial support (several companies are using Python/JPython
> internally).
> 
> So, having all of the above present., is Ruby really a "so much" better
> language to the extent
> that  it is worth it to make the switch?  Because I don't know about
> you, but I am not willing to
> learn YAL (Yet Another Language), just because a few better quirks or
> eye candy. If I am
> switching to another language, it really have to be substantially and
> noticeably better than
> the previous one.

What is noticeable better? Is it a more minimalistic language, is it
clean concepts, is it a "pure" language? Is it a language faster than
anything else? Are Numerics important? What role does correctness
play? Is it the sheer mass of users? What area should the language be
suited for? How important are libraries for x y z?
> 
> There, I've said it. I am really curious about your answers, I've been
> reading a lot
> of Ruby articles, but I have really not grokked it's apparent "Holy
> Grail of programming"-ness.
> I am sure that I am not the only one. Please enlighten me.  :-)

I hardly believe anyone can do that. It's up to you to make up your
mind.

Just a small story of myself and why I do think Ruby is still worth
learning.

I'm a long term Eiffel user and Ruby is the language which comes
nearest to Eiffel in it's clean model. I tried to make myself
comfortable with Perl for a short while, but I never wrapped up my
mind through all the $ _ @ .... I do not like Ruby doing simular
things, but at least it' much clearer (at least to me) in Ruby.

Ruby is missing a feature I would like to have a tightly integrated as
in Eiffel or Sather, the contracts. But people have posted suggestions
and maybe they'll find their way into Ruby someday.

A year  or two  ago I started looking around for languages worth
knowing. Till then I wasn't interested into Lisp languages. But people
in comp.lang.scheme and comp.lang.lisp were really on Lisp. And I'm
an Emacs user for a long time. So I tried it, and guess what, I think
Lisp like languages are the most flexible, powerful and even beautiful
languages around. And I would suggest anyone learning a Lisp too. 

Ruby shares a lot with Lisps too. It's nearly as flexible and looks
nearly as beautifull. But I would hardly give up on either of Ruby and
Common Lisp.

The advantages of Ruby are in the ease with which one can interace to
the Operating System, the libraries in Common Lisp are outstanding
large and the environment is pari with Smalltalk. Ruby lacks such an
outstanding programming Environment. The flexibilty of Common Lisp
seems to be larger than even for Ruby, both are "programmers paradise"
in contrast to other (even mainstream) languages. 

Ruby is quite young in contrast to Lisps, but the point that Lisp are
still around with FORTRAN, COBOL, C indicates to me that the Lispers
must have done something right. In this times where sheer power is
hardly a question, both may have a bright future. At least I hope so.

Regards
Friedrich

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