[Wellington-pm] Is Perl being overtaken by Ruby?

Grant McLean grant at mclean.net.nz
Thu Mar 23 20:10:39 PST 2006

On Fri, 2006-03-24 at 15:26 +1200, Dave Moskovitz wrote:
> Lies, damn lies, and statistics.
> http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?&range=3m&size=large&compare_sites=ruby-lang.org&y=r&url=perl.org
> OK, you don't trust Big Brother Alexa.
> On del.icio.us, the top three sites with 'perl' as their first tag have been 
> saved by 751, 659, and 411 people.  Compare that to Ruby, and you get 3946, 
> 3423, and 3260.  Or are the type of people who use a service like del.icio.us 
> less likely to be Perl hackers for some reason?
> Are we witnessing the tipping point?

Without trying to answer those questions specifically, here are some
related thoughts:

Ruby is a very nice language.  I enjoy coding in Ruby.  I don't enjoy
not having CPAN available.  There are lots of Ruby class libraries
available but they're harder to locate and install than the CPAN
equivalents.  Unfortunately, the Ruby Gem packaging system has been
deemed incompatible with packaging systems like deb and rpm, which leads
to even less convenience.

The huge hype around Ruby in the last 12 months or so has been fuelled
by a couple of big things:

* Ruby on Rails - it is good, and combined with Ajax it can produce
  very polished web apps
* A number of influential Java developers have 'discovered' Ruby and
  found that it really is easier to develop web applications using a
  dynamic language than it is using J2EE, Spring etc.  Well duh!

These Java guys would never ever admit that almost all of the good
things they like about Ruby are also available in Perl and have been for
many years.  Perl is not even on their radar because it is "ugly",
"unmaintainable" and suitable only for "quick little hacks".  Oh well,
that's their loss.

James Gosling (inventor of Java) doesn't see Ruby as a threat to Java
though because Java is a general purpose programming language whereas
Ruby is "only for generating web pages":



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