I followed a pointer from Bill de hÓra this morning and it cost me an unplanned hour while the rest of the family slept, on the subject of programming languages. If you care about such things, stop reading here or you’re about to get stuck too; but that’s because it’s good stuff. Bill pointed me at Steve Yegge, somehow I hadn’t run across him previously.
Item: Bruce Eckel on The Departure of the Hyper-Enthusiasts, which is too rich to summarize but if you had to, it would be: Ruby is good, but not really good enough to beat Python. I wrote about this before, but the conversation it started really has legs.
Item: Steve Yegge pushes back with A little anti-anti-hype, which argues that friendlier languages sometimes beat better languages, e.g. Perl vs. Python. The piece is, he admits, inflammatory.
Item: Speaking of friendly languages, if Steve is right, Ruby has won, check out why’s (poignant) guide to Ruby which isn’t just friendly, it’s a cute little puppy bouncing in your lap, licking your nose.
Item: Back to Steve Yegge, who irritated enough people with that previous piece that he wrote a follow-up, Bambi Meets Godzilla, making the same points, but well enough that you don’t mind.
Item: Steve’s Tour de Babel is a really funny and entertaining romp through a bunch of languages.
Item: Steve’s also interested in other-languages-on-the-JVM, just like me. Unlike me, he positively despises the Java language. Memorable quote: “Java has lots of wonderful features, but Java isn’t one of them. Java’s appeal as a platform for doing real work rests precisely on its strengths as a platform, not as a language.” This is in JVM Languages: Java 5, from the series entitled Stevey’s JVM Language Soko-Shootout, a really interesting run at a sample programming problem in a bunch of different languages running on the JVM.
Item: Speaking of those languages, it turns out that Charles Nutter who (with Thomas Enebo) leads the JRuby project, has a blog, in which he’s recently written about Getting IRB Going which he kind of has (although it turns out to be hard), enough to type in Swing (!) code; and a piece which starts talking about JRuby on Rails, but veers into a very interesting discussion of JRuby performance.

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picture of the day
March 05, 2006
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