Confessions of a Python fanboy

Masklinn masklinn at
Fri Jul 31 12:15:15 EDT 2009

On 31 Jul 2009, at 17:55 , Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> But seriously, while I admit that I have very little Ruby  
> experience, and
> so aren't in a great position to judge, it seems to me that Ruby  
> doesn't
> have anything like Python's over-riding design principles (the Zen).  
> If
> there is a design principle to Ruby, I can't see what it is.
As far as I know, Ruby doesn't have anything like the Zen no. But then  
again, I don't know any language other than Python with such a document.

> Ruby just seems to be far more complicated than Python: things which
> Python does at runtime, with a function call, Ruby has special  
> syntax for:
> "a bunch of words".split()
> %w(a bunch of words)
> ord('a')
> ?a
That's the Perl heritage. And since it inherits from Perl, TIMTOWTDI:
     >> "a bunch of words".split
     => ["a", "bunch", "of", "words"]
     >> "a"[0]
     => 97
(yes, the indexing operator returns a character code if provided a  
single index. With two, it returns as string slice)

Oh and %w() isn't really equivalent to split(): you don't use it to  
split a string but to create a list of strings, so the equivalent  
expression in Python would be `["a", "bunch", "of", "words"]`.

> That makes the barrier to entry far higher: it's easier to leverage
> existing knowledge to interpret unfamiliar Python code than unfamiliar
> Ruby code. Or so it seems to me.
That's probable.

>>> Although I'm sure Ruby has its good points. I'm not convinced  
>>> anonymous
>>> code blocks are one of them though.
>> Ruby's code blocks come from Smalltalk, where they are an absolute
>> necessity since message passing (which code blocks are part of) is  
>> the
>> *only* builtin control flow in Smalltalk - so you just *need* this
>> construction to provide branching and iterations.
> Just because Smalltalk had a particular (mis?)feature doesn't mean  
> that
> other languages should copy it. I know, I know, Ruby people swear by
> anonymous code blocks, and I've read Paul Graham too. But I'm really  
> not
> so sure that the benefits of anonymous code blocks are great enough to
> overcome the disadvantages of anonymous code blocks.
What are the disadvantages of anonymous functions?

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