What's better about Ruby than Python?

Andrew Dalke adalke at mindspring.com
Mon Aug 18 11:11:20 CEST 2003


Brandon J. Van Every:
> I have
> noticed, however, that every programmer I talk to who's aware of Python is
> also talking about Ruby.  So it seems that Ruby has the potential to
compete
> with and displace Python.  I'm curious on what basis it might do so.

Your logic is specious and your observations biased.

Perhaps the programmers "aware of Python" that you know are
more interested in comparing different languages, so know more
about languages in general?

How many Ruby programmers (per capita) do you know talking about
Python?  Perhaps Python "has the potential to ...display Ruby"

How many Python-aware programmers do you know who also talk
about Java?  Also talk about C#?  About C++?  About BASIC?

I don't know the programmers you sample from. but looking at c.l.py
since the start of the year, I can give you some numbers about other
languages mentioned.  (From Google 'groups' search, numbers are
approximate.)

java group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.  1,680
perl group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   1,550
tcl group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   470
pascal group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   295
ruby group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   279
haskell group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   155
eiffel group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   99
rexx group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   99
awk group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today   58
ocaml group:comp.lang.python from Jan 1, 2003 to today.   26

Based on your logic, you should try pascal or tcl instead of ruby.
Though you really should be using perl or Java.

Of course, percent change is a better metric for up-and-coming,
so here's numbers for all of 2002.  To get estimated 2003 numbers I
multiplied the above by 12/8, which means I'm a little on the low side
since August is only half-way through.

       2002  2003  change
              est.   %
Java   2710  2520   - 7
perl   2580  2325   -10
tcl     922   705   -23
pascal  396   442   +12
ruby    542   418   -22
haskell 107   232  +117
eiffel   65   148  +128
rexx     95   148  + 56
awk      93    87  -  6
ocaml    60    39  - 35

Again, you looks like you should use Pascal.  Or maybe haskell,
which was talked about a lot more this year already than all of
last year!  (I keep meaning to learn some of it.)

So I suspect despite your statement about having no preconceived
ideas about Ruby that you do have some, which sensitises you
to discussions which mention it.

BTW, ruby's numbers on c.l.py for
2003  446  (I used 12/7.5 for a slightly better estimate)
2002  542
2001  487
2000  291
1999  162
1998      4

And Haskell's
2003 248  (ditto on 7.5)
2002 107
2001 282
2000  251
1999   63
1998     7

Given how many more people use Ruby than Haskell and how much
Ruby is mentioned as an alternative to the big 3 of Perl, Python,
and Tcl, it kinda makes you wonder if we aren't just a bunch of
programming language wonks in this group.  :)  If so, it would again
mean you aren't critical enough of your own beliefs and conclusions.

                    Andrew
                    dalke at dalkescientific.com






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