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The Trouble with Ruby August 11, 2006

Posted by J.J. in Code.

Simeon Simeonov on Ruby. I agree. The sweet spot Ruby hits is incredibly high productivity for the brightest of developers. Definitely not a mainstream replacement for C/C++/C#/Java nor for PHP/Python.

I like Ruby but I don’t see it becoming a mainstream language soon. The biggest strength of Ruby–the OO nature of the language and some of its cooler constructs–are its greatest weakness. Consider continuations, for example. How many people in the world would know how to implement something with continuations without screwing up?

Source: The trouble with Ruby
Originally published on 8/9/2006 5:43 AM by Simeon Simeonov



1. jcheng - August 12, 2006

You guys need to spend more time with Ruby! The sweet spot Ruby hits is incredibly high productivity for *everyone*. There’s nothing about it that requires developers to be bright (although, like any language, it helps). In fact, the mental baggage that comes along with C/C++ is way way WAY heavier, while PHP/Python are no simpler and PHP comes with a huge array of pitfalls of its own.

Look, I’m not predicting that Ruby will take over C/C++/C#/Java or PHP. (I do predict it’ll be more popular than Python within 18 months, if it isn’t already.) Compared to the compiled languages, performance is still a serious problem if your task is computationally intensive, it’s not a great platform for GUI programming, there’s no static checking which dinosaurs like you and me still believe to be important. 🙂 Compared to PHP, I think it’s just PHP’s inertia that sustains it, and specifically the fact that PHP is preinstalled in every Linux server distro and comes with every web hosting plan.

But I strongly believe Ruby as a language deserves a lot of respect, especially for guys like us coming from the imperative side of things (functional programmers are free to think of it as a somewhat less powerful version of Lisp with syntax). It’s easy enough that it makes a great first language for total newbies, but expressive and terse enough for experts to love using it.

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