Topic: nice compiled language to supplement ruby hacking
Prodded by The Pragmatic Programmer, I have decided to learn a new programming language next year. Not being one to get caught up in frivolous academia, I am looking to learn a language that will be a good supplement to my Ruby/Rails development.
Since I already know the most productive interpreted language ever dreamed up by mortal man, I figure it might be a good time to learn a compiled language. Something I can "drop down to" when Ruby's performance just isn't cutting it.
Now of course, the automatic answer will be "C". After all, MRI is built in C and Ruby has great support for C extensions. But I'm a little freaked out by the prospect of getting that close to the metal. I have a feeling that C would make for a very tedious, unproductive year indeed.
And so, without further ado, my question:
What compiled language would be a good fit as a supplement to Ruby, but still more productive than C?
I currently am scoping out Erlang and D, but I am quite retarted in regards to anything compiled. I saw the Erlang video linked to by a couple of Rails blogs, but couldn't quite tell if it was just supposed to be a joke.
Are these languages viable options? Perhaps there is a better one that I don't know about? Or am I just hopelessly stuck with C?