Hugh Sasse Staff Elec Eng wrote:
>>
>>>> Pointedly: does Ruby have enough critical mass to survive?  By way
>>>> of
>>>
>>> Current applied temporal physics prevents this question being
>>> answered at this time. :-)  Besides, if you can be effective, you
>>> don't need a large user base.
>>
>> A hedging answer is not a good answer.  Python people simply say
>> YES.  In
>
> It is entirely untestable at this time. So I cannot in all honesty
> say yes. There are excellent people in the Python community, but I
> don't believe they have better knowledge of the future than anyone
> else.   Can you reframe the question in such a way that a
> satisfactory answer can be immediately verified?  What does it prove
> anyway: when do you expect COBOL to die?

COBOL is dead because no sane programmer uses it for new applications or
systems development.  It is entirely a legacy operation.  Language
technology and productivity has advanced far, far beyond what COBOL is
capable of.

Smalltalk is dead not because its paradigms are outmoded, but because other
languages have offered similar things and have improved generally upon it.
The mindshare has moved on.  No sane programmer uses it for new applications
or systems development.  Smalltalk is a has-been language.

C++ is a dying language.  It is too cumbersome in practice, and modern
computers can afford garbage collection and higher level language
abstractions.  At Microsoft, C# is supplanting all C++ development.  The
writing is on the wall: nobody is interested in C++ any more.

Java and C# are current, mainstream languages.  They get the bulk of
development.  Now, I know those of you familiar with
http://www.tiobe.com/tpci.htm might scream, "Hey wait a minute!  I see some
47.4 rating for Java, but only 4.1 for C#!  C# isn't mainstream, who are you
kidding??"  Well, C# has got 100% of Microsoft behind it.  Upcoming
Microsoft products will be 100% C#.  C# is inexorable.

Python and Ruby are technologically advanced languages with marginal status
as far as current mainstream usage.  Python is in better shape than Ruby.
Both have been around for the same period of time.  One has done better at
mindshare than the other.  One is less in danger of disappearing into
obscurity than the other.  But of course, the show ain't over yet.
Probably, they cannot both become relevant to the mainstream, because they
are too similar.  It's quite possible that neither ever becomes relevant to
the mainstream.  The marketing of Java and C# is of course a formidable
obstacle to overcome.

It's late, and I've failed to answer your question directly.  I will try
again some other day.  Here I think I've laid down some terms.

>>> "To be honest I find that a bizarre prejudice.", to quote :-)
>>> People whom I respect would disagree with your viewpoint, from what
>>> I have read from them.  I didn't learn Perl for ages
>>> because of the effort/time-sink aspects, but I regretted not having
>>> done so when I finally did (circa Perl4.3036 I think), and found how
>>> much easier it was than trying to get information between the shell
>>> and awk.
>>
>> You erred in failing to assess.  With assessment in hand, you would
>> have been justified in learning Perl.
>
> How would one assess it without learning it?

How would you know a nuclear mushroom cloud had exploded on the other side
of the planet?  Would you have to buy a plane ticket and walk to Ground Zero
to feel the radiation yourself?

Many times, people around here have reiterated the theme of primary
experience.   But it is not the only kind of experience.  In many people's
view, it isn't even the most relevant experience.  Who cares if you like /
don't like the syntax of such and such language, if one's got tools and
libraries support for certain jobs and the other does not?

> Most language advocacy seems to
> be Computer Science feature based, all too often: "X has closures", "X
> has co-routines" "X has generators", but to find out what domains X
> makes *easy* is more difficult.

Of course, my language advocacy doesn't revolve around CS features.  There
are certainly some things I know I want, i.e. garbage collection, but a lot
of this stuff is too high flying for me to care about yet.  A well
industrialized language, with broad tools and libraries support, is more
important than a CS fancy language.

Thanks for the other points BTW.  Must crash now.

-- 
Cheers,                         www.3DProgrammer.com
Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

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Usage: "He's just a troll."