Topic: University man takes hard look at Ruby

I just came across this article written by an English university academic on Ruby.

He is largely critical of the hype, and is mildly critical of Ruby. But when you get to the final two paragraphs, he does say some good things about Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

I'm a new Ruby and RoR student, and I really don't know enough about other languages to make an informed judgment. However, I do believe that it is always good to present different views so that each person can make a decision about what's best for them.

Paul

http://www.bitwisemag.com/2/What-s-Wrong-With-Ruby

Re: University man takes hard look at Ruby

Seems like he's targeting the people who hype up the language more than the language itself. Not until you start to really get into the language do you see the reason for the hype. I get the feeling he never got there because he was too busy looking for the hype from the novice perspective.

Ruby is not an easy language to learn. It doesn't come naturally and takes some serious dedication. But once you cross that gap and learn it, it greatly pays off. The language itself feels so much simpler than what it did at first. It is by far the most pleasurable language I've programmed in.

In the areas he tries to downplay the language, almost every one of his points I would say the opposite - that is the best feature about the language. Everything from blocks to adding arrays, from dynamic typing to monkey patching. It's not the ultimate programming language, it doesn't try to be. But it exceeds at what it does best: being a high level, powerful scripting language.

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Re: University man takes hard look at Ruby

There will never be an ultimate language. As technology and hardware accelerates, eventually Ruby will fade in the shadow of future languages (Haskell, Erlang, oCaml) that take are built for advanced hardware, multiple processors, etc. Things change  fast in this industry so get used to it and pick a code workhorse that will get you good mileage.

Also, keep in mind that these university science blokes are a whole nother breed of programmer with a different set of goals. You can bet their main priority is not to create cool websites in record time. Forget what the academics have to say and just use the best tool for the job.

Me? I chose Ruby cause it's the only language I actually enjoy programming in. PHP was a nightmare and Python gave me headaches. My only regret is not rolling with RoR sooner.

Re: University man takes hard look at Ruby

Thanks, I'm aboard and riding the rails!

(Let me rephrase that; I'm learning about riding the rails.)

Re: University man takes hard look at Ruby

I work for a company (as my main job, currently) which uses ruby as the language for the majority of components of a shipping product.  Can ruby be a tool for generating a lot of functionality very quickly?  Absolutely.  Can it be a major thorn in your side forever more if not managed correctly?  Yes!  We see 'Undefined method xxx for nil' bugs every other day, because of lack of test coverage.
I find ruby's documentation very incomplete very often.  I also find the lack of native threading disgusting.  (Java & ruby were started about the same time.  Java had native threads 10 years ago.) 
When you're new to ruby, reading code that others have written which take advantage of 'advanced' ruby features (not found in other common languages) makes for a very tough learning curve.  As usual, it's up to the author of the code to make the code readable.  This fact doesn't change, no matter the language.  I've seen assembly code so well written that I could understand it not knowing anything about the platform.  To the contrary, it's possible to write a single line of c++ or ruby code which takes many seconds of thought to decipher.
Computer languages are just like human languages.  I abhor English for it's extensive rules, ambiguities, and exceptions.  Because of those reasons, I like German.  I would be afraid to learn Arabic or Japanese.  Ruby fits into that same paradigm for me.  Use the right tool for the job.

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