Python and Ruby

Paul Rubin at nospam.invalid
Tue Feb 2 00:08:48 CET 2010

Jonathan Gardner <jgardner at> writes:
> I judge a language's simplicity by how long it takes to explain the
> complete language. That is, what minimal set of documentation do you
> need to describe all of the language? With a handful of statements,
> and a very short list of operators, Python beats out every language in
> the Algol family that I know of.

Python may have been like that in the 1.5 era.  By now it's more
complex, and not all that well documented.  Consider the different
subclassing rules for new and old style classes, the interaction of
metaclasses and multiple inheritance, the vagaries of what operations
are thread-safe without locks, the inter-thread signalling mechanism
that can only be invoked through the C API, the mysteries of
generator-based coroutines, etc.  I've never used Ruby and I think its
syntax is ugly, but everyone tells me it's more uniform.

Simplicity is not necessarily such a good thing anyway.  Consider FORTH.

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