Ruby Impressions

czrpb nanotech at europa.com
Mon Jan 14 00:35:23 CET 2002


All:

Embedded:

--- In python-list at y..., borovik at h... (IB) wrote:
> Hello, Paul:
> 
> Just a thought here...
> 
> I am new to Python too and before diving into it I spent some time
> researching what language would satisfy the following:
> 
> 7. Preferrably clean and clear syntax.
> 

I posted a query[1] to the Ruby list[2] concerning
readability/understandability. I did it poorly (meaning I posted a
comparison w/ Python which simply set off the normal "To each his
own." replies) so it took awhile to get to the point--and off list
replies where much more fruitful.

I basically asked what proof Ruby has for the statement[3]:

  Ruby has simple syntax, partially inspired by Eiffel and Ada.

There was no response except:

  \1\ Readability is simply a matter of opinion;
    \1.1\ Language design, in this respect, is an art and not a
science.
  \2\ leading to: Ruby works for me, but it may not work for you.
  
I posted the same question[4] to the Python list and got an immediate
reply from Aahz[5] with a link to CWI and research into readability
on the language ABC from which Python's syntax is derived (to some
not insignificant degree).

This pretty much closed the book on Ruby for me--another language
which simply wanted to do "cool things" but did/does not care about
readability.

There is a bit more to say though....

I have also heard that Ruby is a cleaner syntactic Perl. This is the
same rational as Java when they state[6] it has a simpler syntax when
compared w/ C/C++. This does not stand against logic--it is a less
crappy syntax, great. Note, the important thing in Java's case is
that they also stress that since Java is somewhat derived from these
language's syntaxes it is "familiar". This can be defended--and so
can Ruby if it wishes to make the same "familiar" arguement. I doubt
it does though.

Also note in the statement above concerning Ruby's simple syntax
concerning being derived from "Eiffel and Ada". Now, I know nothing
about these languages. It would have been simple to address my
question with links to resources which explain why Eiffel or Ada have
a simple syntax and therefore Ruby. None was given. Either such
documentation does not exist or those on the list do not know of any
resources to it. Considering the creator is a participant on the
list, and commented on my question at least once, the former seems
most likely.

So in summary, if you value readability and wish to have some
*confidence* that when your languages states it has a "clean" and/or
"simple" syntax it can back it up--Python seems to be it. And given
all the languages are basically equally powerful (IMHO), readability
is paramount.

> I would appreciate if someone will continue the thread with a follow
> up on this.
> 
> --Igor

Good luck!

  Quentin Crain

Notes:

[1] http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/cgi-bin/vframe.rb
/ruby/ruby-talk/29886?29864-30260+split-mode-vertical

[2] http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/ruby/ruby-talk/index.shtml

[3] http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/whats.html

[4] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/python-list/message/7088

[5] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/python-list/message/7111

[6] http://java.sun.com/docs/white/langenv/Simple.doc.html#343






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