Ruby

Pete linked to this article about RoR turning 2 years old. Now, I have no opinion on Ruby of any sort. I've never used it, so...how could I have an opinion about it? If I have time I may take a look at it [1], but I have little motivation to do so. My love of programming is infused by the CLR and I see no reason to switch my technology base (yet again). And, personally, given all the hype over Ruby I'm sitting on the fence until it plays itself out and we see where it works well and where it doesn't.

See, Pete got one view of David's post, and his was positive. Me? David actually turned me off from RoR because of his arrogance:

One of my guilty pleasures is proving people wrong. Few things get me more fired up to achieve than hearing how inappropriate or idealistic or unrealistic the idea that I'm pushing is.

I get fired up solving problems. I don't get fired up or take pleasure in proving people wrong. That seems counterproductive.

There are many others, though, who do not share that allegiance of priorities. The kind of people who’ve labeled Ruby and Rails merely buzzwords of a transient hype, soon to be forgotten, soon to be extinct. When I started pitching the idea of a new framework that would ship a picture rather than a puzzle and used a niche language to boot, these people gave it anywhere from next week to six months. Then the starry-eyed teenagers would discover the next thing shiny and move on. Such is fashion, fickle at its core. Easy come, easy go.

Again, it's a viewpoint. I call it "experience". I've seen this come up with PowerBuilder, Java, XML, SOA - they were all buzzwords that permeated everything I was reading about at the time. They were better, faster, and if you weren't supporting it or learning about it you were a curmugeon who didn't want to open your mind to the latest and greatest thing. For a while, I would try and jump on the new speeding train, but I've learned that's not always the most productive use of my time.

Let’s share a brief moment of guilty pleasure for proving them wrong, then move on to the longer lasting pleasure of simply sticking to it for our own sake. And have understanding for those conditioned by past disappointments to classify all that is new and ripe with passion to be uninteresting, to be all hype, no calories. We’re past the point of infatuation, this is love, and love is inclusive. Happy birthday Rails, happy birthday Railers.

This is where I want to turn off the Ruby switch. When someone tells me that they're in love with their technology, I roll my eyes and move on. I don't need a language or a framework to be "passionate" about what I do. I'm not "conditioned" by past disappointments - I'm old enough to know "fool me once..."

Remember, not once have I put down Ruby in this post. I have absolutely no opinion about it. I'm interested in the efforts to put Ruby on (or around) the CLR and the JVM. I'm interested in learning the language. But, really, it all comes down to 1s and 0s and I'm much more interested in using technologies that allow me to create things I'm excited about and to solve my client's problems. I'm sure Ruby does that for some people. The CLR does it for me, and believe me, that makes me a very happy camper. And if you love RoR, then talk about how you love it; don't bash others who don't use it and assume they're all just a bunch of old farts who have been beaten up so much they don't ever want to move out of VB6 land. That screams of politics and I could care less about politicians.

[1] Actually, for my talk at the Twin Cities Code Camp, I looked at Ruby.NET, but my talk is really geared towards language interoperability. Scripting languages are great as glue languages, but they're really not meant to create frameworks that other languages can consume (that last part of the sentence is key). Believe me, I tried - I made a simple Customer class, and I liked the terseness of Ruby to pull it off. But...trying to use that class in C#, or F#, or Spec#, or VB...well, I gave up after I saw something called an ActivationFrame in the initialization method. Being a Ruby novice, though, I may have missed things that would make its interoperability story better, and I have 2 months to dig into it anyway :).

* Posted at 09.26.2006 08:39:05 AM CST | Link *

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