“God created the world as man’s playground; it is the job of science to
provide the toys.”
Wonderful quote. It’s going in my list. Who said it? You?
Oops. I fleahed this out and was going to attribute it before I posted,
then got interrupted and forgot. The quote is a statement attributed to
Scientific American founder Rufus Porter (or perhaps Ely Beach, to whome
it was sold early on); I can’t find the reference). I first encountered
the quote in a preface to the book re The First Great Paper Airplance
contest (1967/68) sponsored by that magazine. You’re right, it’s a good
one; wish it ~were~ mine.
I saw one recently I enjoyed: “If I have not seen as far
as others, it is because giants were standing on my
but this fact
does not mean it remains being a toy forever.
Ditto (see above examples).
Speaking of “features
needed for corporate use”, we have to define what they are.
Extensibility, scalability, cost efficiency, value propagation,
maintainability, security, productivity, accoutability, logevity.
Not in any particular order of priority (which indeed varies from
company to company and from project to project within a given company.)
So, where does Ruby fit into the picture here? How does it compare to
other mainstream languages (which in the US are c/c++, java, perl and to
a lesser degree python and smalltalk.
My simplistic view: If Perl can get a foot in the door, so can
Ruby. Perhaps even a leg. But things take time.
Perl was subversive. No one at the top mandated adoption of perl – the
Morlocks liked it.
As for Java, it didn’t get its huge mindshare from technical
superiority, but from hype; it was marketing-driven rather
than technology-driven. (Although I’m not the Java-hater that
so many are. I much prefer it to C++, for instance.)
Java has GC – that is both an advantage and, in terms of how it is
implemented, a disadvantage. But the GC was a big part of its “hype”
(that coupled with the fact it is ~not~ MSFT, lol). The awt GUI was, in
a word, awful (as in fugly); swing is far better but painfully slow on
Linux (at least in my experience; I really like the concept of jedit,
but don’t run it because it is just to slow.). C++ with a good GUI
framework like wxWindows is a very workable alternative for standalone
apps, but I don’t think that is where the future direction of computing.
And how does Ruby, or ~any~ of the above stack up with regard to the
"next big thing", which is likely to be some kind of distributed/grid
computing environment, possibly XML-based?
Interesting. Who’s speculating along those lines?
My vision is decentralized servers, globally shared resources,
horizontal distribution – a fully hyperlinked world. This is in a
social context as well as a technical one. XML may be a key enabling
technology here. Another quote for your collection, this one from Steve
Litt (March 2001, Troubleshooting Professional Magazine,
“XML derives its power from the fact that it can represent anything the
human mind can conceive.”
To the degree this observation is accurate, the potential is
mind-boggling. IMO opinion, within the specific domain of programming,
Ruby exhibits to a large degree these same characteristics.
Yes, speed ~is~ an issue, but a relative. Relative to c/c++ for example,
Ruby can be “slow” as can be XML relative to some other data formats.
But, given the “vision” paragraph above, there is not much “real” gain
in producing things significantly faster than I can stuff into the
pipe. Also, speed ~to~ delivery (i.e. development) may be more important
than speed ~of~ delivery (i.e. performance) in a majority of situations.
Cost efficiency, market positioning and maintainability will frequently
overshadow pure performance issues IMO, especially within domains where
"perceived" performance is at the nether end of a relatively narrow
Hey, I coul;d be wrong. I was told I was “wrong” about the desktop
revolution I raved about in 1983 (actually the word used was “crazy”),
my observations regarding the damages wrought by regulatory costs to
small business in 1990/91 (the word used then was “radical”) which the
Wall Street Journal began reporting in 1994, and some others I have
called and colleagues did not; but, I have a “good feeling” about this
W. Kent Starr
On Sun, 2002-12-15 at 19:45, Hal E. Fulton wrote: