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Python 25 times as popular as Ruby !?

 
 
jbritt@ruby-doc.org
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      02-01-2004
Emmanuel Touzery wrote:

> On Sunday 01 of February 2004 08:53, Dan Doel wrote:
>
>>But why should it matter if Ruby is more known than Python or Java or C
>>or whatever?

>
>
> because then i can do ruby at my daily work instead of suffering in C# :O)
> for now ruby is only acceptable for internal tools, clients want
> buzzword-compliant tools. python might be in this class soon, and i'd like
> ruby to get there too.. (and i trust matz not to cripple the language to get
> there)



I second that. I get to do some Ruby coding at my current contract gig,
but it's largely under the radar. Too many places prefer to stick with
so-called "tried and true" languages and vendors; getting Ruby in the
door is something of a stealth act.

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things concerns over popularity seem
trivial, but there really are some day-to-day practical matters as well.

Gaining mind-share may not be so hard, provided the Ruby community puts
enough effort into, among other things, comprehensive documentation, and
an easy package management tool.

With the new Ri/Rdoc, RubyGems, and ruby-doc.org, I'm optimistic, but
there's still work to be done.

James



 
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Lothar Scholz
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      02-01-2004
Hello Dan,

Sunday, February 1, 2004, 8:12:13 PM, you wrote:

DD> Michael campbell wrote:

>> No one said that.



DD> Yes, I was exaggerating for effect.

>> If it doesn't grow, it will eventually die.


DD> Will it? Is Smalltalk still growing today? It probably hasn't grown
DD> for quite some time, yet it's still around if you want to learn it.
DD> How about Eiffel? People are even moving away from C and C++, but I
DD> doubt they'll be dead for many years to come.

As the only one who uses GNU Eiffel for a program > 200.000 LOC i must
say that eiffel is dead. Two vendors stopped there support (Visual
Eiffel, Halstenbach), GNU Eiffel is becomming more and more unuseable
for real development (everything after the great renaming SmallEiffel
=> Smarteiffel) and ISE raised there prices by a factor of 3
(it's now 5000 USD for a not very good system).

Smalltalk is also dying or better becaming less and less attrictive.
Same as lisp where only Franz Lisp is still competitive in some areas.
In fact in commerical areas Smalltalk is much more dead then Eiffel.

DD> In any case (and this is a reply to several posts, not just yours),
DD> Ruby will get popular some day. Or maybe it won't, and we'll either
DD> continue to talk about it here and use it from time to time just
DD> because it's a nice language, or we'll move on to something else.
DD> The world will go on.

DD> What we don't need to do is organize a big campaign to get Ruby
DD> awareness up. We don't need to contact big players like IBM and

No but the spirit of people hacking a library should maybe move from a
"it's good enough for me" attitude to a "i want good quality" way. For
most libraries the additional overhead won't be so much. But this is
still a real problem.

DD> In the mean time, posts like, "Python is 25 times more popular than
DD> Ruby" or "Ruby needs Python indenting to be popular!" just waste time.

Like much other posting on this newsgroup, for example about indenting
styles. I posted it because i think a few people didn't recognize the
real world situtation. And this is always not good. I'm just bored
about threads that everything is fine with ruby and working well.


--
Best regards,
Lothar (E-Mail Removed)



 
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Dan Doel
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      02-01-2004
Lothar Scholz wrote:

>As the only one who uses GNU Eiffel for a program > 200.000 LOC i must
>say that eiffel is dead. Two vendors stopped there support (Visual
>Eiffel, Halstenbach), GNU Eiffel is becomming more and more unuseable
>for real development (everything after the great renaming SmallEiffel
>=> Smarteiffel) and ISE raised there prices by a factor of 3
>(it's now 5000 USD for a not very good system).
>
>

On my Windows partition, I have the free student/trial version of a
commercial Eiffel development environment installed. They seem to think
Eiffel isn't dead.

>Smalltalk is also dying or better becaming less and less attrictive.
>
>

Smalltalk is still out there, though. I'm sure Squeak will be around for
many years teaching interested parties what real object oriented languages
should be like. Even if it's not used directly, I hope Smalltalk will be
influencing the latest generation of "buzzword compliant" languages
for years to come.

>Same as lisp where only Franz Lisp is still competitive in some areas.
>
>

You should go tell the people at comp.lang.lisp, c.l.scheme and
c.l.functional that Lisp is dead.

>No but the spirit of people hacking a library should maybe move from a
>"it's good enough for me" attitude to a "i want good quality" way. For
>most libraries the additional overhead won't be so much. But this is
>still a real problem.
>
>

I'm sure the people working on code at RubyForge and the like -- that is,
the people writing code/libraries for public consumption -- already have
this mentality.

>Like much other posting on this newsgroup, for example about indenting
>styles. I posted it because i think a few people didn't recognize the
>real world situtation. And this is always not good. I'm just bored
>about threads that everything is fine with ruby and working well.
>
>

I didn't mean that as a personal attack against you (we get lots of
posts here that say such things), so I hope you didn't take offense.
However, saying that Ruby needs Python indenting or C++ braces isn't
the real world situation. It may be the real world situation that
Python is more popular than Ruby, but how popular was Python 5 years
ago? It's just been exposed to more of the world for longer. Ruby
will get there when it gets there. It _is_ doing fine. Matz is working
to make it better with Rite, and people discussing here is helping
him along (I hope).

Not all threads here are lovey dovey. There's debate about which
directions Ruby should go. But merely posting "Python is way more
popular" isn't constructive toward making Ruby better.

In any case, we should wrap this discussion up soon. I'd rather not
see it turn into one of the 300+ message threads with lots of flame
wars (which it has a high potential of doing).

- Dan


 
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Robert K.
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      02-01-2004
Oh, I understand.

You suggesting us, becoming more.
Ok, let's think....yes, I am there. But how can I become more than one ? hm

Lothar Scholz schrieb:

> Hello Dan,
>
> Sunday, February 1, 2004, 8:53:21 AM, you wrote:
>
>
> DD> But why should it matter if Ruby is more known than Python or Java or C
> DD> or whatever?
>
> It's simple. The evolution depends on the size of the active
> community. I don't mean students who pick it up for a course, or
> people writting there first script, but people using it in a
> professional (commerical) environment.
>
> You can't deny that there is a correlation between this and the
> quality of the libraries (maybe not the core) and found/fixed bugs.
>
>

 
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Charles Comstock
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      02-01-2004
Emmanuel Touzery wrote:

> On Sunday 01 of February 2004 08:53, Dan Doel wrote:
>
>>But why should it matter if Ruby is more known than Python or Java or C
>>or whatever?

>
>
> because then i can do ruby at my daily work instead of suffering in C# :O)
> for now ruby is only acceptable for internal tools, clients want
> buzzword-compliant tools. python might be in this class soon, and i'd like
> ruby to get there too.. (and i trust matz not to cripple the language to get
> there)
>
> emmanuel
>
>


I certainly would probably rather do it in C# then Java. It's
interesting in the 2.0 spec for C# they are adding yield symantics,
anonymous method blocks and generics. But the first two allow all the
iteration style of Ruby that is so nice. In terms of a typed language I
don't mind C# that much, it's alot more logical then Java. I have many
bones to pick with Microsoft, but they did fix alot of the stupid
problems in Java. I think it's an acceptable language.

Of course, I like lots of languages so, that's just me. Ruby is my
favorite at the moment, I just have room in my head to like more then
one. I would like however to see Ruby more mainstream as well.

It actually might be interesting to push Ruby in the academic world,
though sometimes I dispair that teaching an object oriented language
first confuses many of the introductory programmers who haven't
programmed at all before. But still it might be a little more
approachable then Scheme for some, since they syntax isn't quite so
foreign. From the acedemic world though you might be able to bridge to
the industry. Just a thought.

We definitely more complete docs on lots of things though, that is my
main problem with Ruby. There are lots of things I know I can do,
without duplicating work, but since I can't find docs on it, it's
difficult to do. The push for RDoc is great, but I still have the same
complaints about it that I have of Javadoc, it generally doesn't give
some sort of example for each function, class in the library. I learn
far more from an example of code use that encompasses a wide part of the
library then a list of functions I can call in the library. The 2nd is
great, but it only works if you know how to use it already. Fix the
documentation and I think ruby will certainly spring ahead.

Charles Comstock
 
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Gavin Sinclair
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      02-02-2004

[Charles Comstock:]
> I certainly would probably rather do it in C# then Java. It's
> interesting in the 2.0 spec for C# they are adding yield symantics,
> anonymous method blocks and generics. But the first two allow all the
> iteration style of Ruby that is so nice. In terms of a typed language I
> don't mind C# that much, it's alot more logical then Java. I have many
> bones to pick with Microsoft, but they did fix alot of the stupid
> problems in Java. I think it's an acceptable language.


Thanks for the report. C# sounds more interesting than it used to. I
frequently hear from friends that it's a decent language, a tolerable
platform, and has awful (wait for it) documentation.

> [...]


> We definitely more complete docs on lots of things though, that is my
> main problem with Ruby. There are lots of things I know I can do,
> without duplicating work, but since I can't find docs on it, it's
> difficult to do. The push for RDoc is great, but I still have the same
> complaints about it that I have of Javadoc, it generally doesn't give
> some sort of example for each function, class in the library. I learn
> far more from an example of code use that encompasses a wide part of the
> library then a list of functions I can call in the library. The 2nd is
> great, but it only works if you know how to use it already. Fix the
> documentation and I think ruby will certainly spring ahead.


I fully agree on all counts. I'll just mention, though, that RDoc
actually encourages introductory/usage/example documentation, *so long as
the developer wants to write it*. For example:

* http://extensions.rubyforge.org/

The *first thing you see* (an important consideration for people looking
at an RDoc screen for the first time) is a description of the project,
installation, usage, technical information, links, etc.

* http://www.ruby-doc.org/stdlib/libdo...doc/index.html

Here, the first thing you see is a brief description of the 'pathname'
Ruby standard library. It could use a one-paragraph description and usage
example to help the casual browser (person, not software) decide whether
they're interested. However, the most important thing is the prominent
"For documentation, see class Pathname [linked]", which contains intro,
examples, and a method catalogue.

RDoc was certainly not a hinderance to creating decent documentation for
the 'pathname' library!

These examples serve as guidelines for me when creating new documentation.

Cheers,
Gavin




 
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Phil Tomson
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      02-02-2004
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Dan Doel <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Lothar Scholz wrote:
>
>>The result is a real fiasco for ruby in some areas.
>>

>Why is this a fiasco?


I don't think fiasco is the right word.

>
>Why must Ruby be far more known than Python?
>
>We here know it and like it. I'm sure if other people ask us our opinion
>on a good
>language, we'll suggest Ruby.
>
>But why should it matter if Ruby is more known than Python or Java or C
>or whatever?
>
>If you like it, use it. If you don't, don't. One needn't worry so much
>about what other
>people are doing.
>
>After all, Ruby isn't a religion, and it isn't in a contest with other
>languages.
>


I would tend to agree with you, but I'll present counter argument for the
sake of discussion.

Three things: Critical Mass, mindshare and perception.

If a language reaches Critial Mass (meaning that it has gathered some
number N users [I don't pretend to define N here]) it will tend to develop
faster. More libraries will be developed more quickly. More
documentation will be developed more quickly. More books will be
published about it. Many hands make the work lighter.
Perl reached critical mass years ago. Python is probably close to getting
there (maybe it's already there?)

Which leads to mindshare. At some point the language gains mindshare such
that if you mention the name of the language to a non-user of the
language or technically inclined manager chances are that they've at least
heard of it.

The perception of said language among management types (for example) will
tend to be that it is at least 'real' - as in usable for real projects. A
person recommending said language will encounter less resistance to using
that language on a new project.


I suggest that in the US at least, Ruby suffers from a perception problem.
We know that Ruby is up to the task for developing large, critical
applications. Some of us have used it in a commercial setting for
developing just those types of apps and we've been successful. However,
outside of our community the perception is that Ruby is mostly a hobby
language. We of course know that that perception isn't reality, but how
do we change that perception?

Also, the perception out on the 'street' is that Ruby and Python play in
the same space and to some extent this is true. Given that perception,
you find some people wondering why Ruby exists in the language
'marketplace' (they think it's just redundant - see Bruce Eckel's comments
about Ruby). Here again, we in the Ruby community know that Ruby isn't
redundant, but how do we convince people outside the community? I think
it mostly comes down to convincing someone to actually use both languages
for a few days solving some real-world problems - when you actually do
that you get a very different 'feeling' from each of the languages. Problem
is it's difficult to quantify a
'feeling'. I'm not suggesting that everyone who does this sort of
comparison between the two languages will come down on the side of Ruby,
however, I suspect there would be more of an even split instead of 25:1 in
favor of Python (or whatever it actually is).

So how do we get to critical mass? It's a chicken-or-egg situation.
"Well, the Ruby community is a lot smaller than the Python community, so
I'll go with Python" I hear that a lot. It's not really based on merit
(as we would hope). There's an old saying that goes "To him who has
much, much more will be given" and we see that this is often the
case. There's also an old proverb that says "The race isn't
always to the swiftest"; we've seen that be the case over and over in
technology whether it's betamax vs vhs or Mac vs Microsoft, often the
inferior technology wins. Sure, we think Ruby is a superior language,
but that doesn't guarantee widespread acceptance.

I would also suggest that if we don't get to a certain level of mindshare
that we'll never get to critical mass and if so Ruby will always be an
also-ran in the OO scripting langauge arena. It will be remembered as a
footnote somewhere: "Ruby - an object oriented scripting language which
borrowed from diverse sources including SmallTalk, Perl and Scheme. It
had a small devoted following and even many outside of it's small
community thought it had potential, unfortunately it didn't gain enough
developers... blah, blah".

So, yes, we like Ruby here in our little community, and I even hear some
people outside of our little community give kudos to the language, but
we're probably not growing fast enough to escape our 'gravity well'.

I don't want to be all pessimistic. I'm seeing some signs of movement.
In the last month I've proposed Ruby for a new project for a large
corporation that I'm doing a contract for. It's been a bit of a sell
because most people still haven't heard of it, but it's been easier than
it was in the past. So at this point it looks like I'll be getting paid
to program in Ruby again and that's a very good thing.

So, again, how do we get mindshare? You're right, Ruby isn't a religion,
it's a language we like around here on clr and we'd like to see it used in
more places so we can get to use it in more places and because we tend to
think it would be beneficial for a lot of projects.

Phil
 
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Phil Tomson
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      02-02-2004
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Dan Doel <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Michael campbell wrote:
>
>> No one said that.

>
>
>Yes, I was exaggerating for effect.
>
>> If it doesn't grow, it will eventually die.

>
>Will it? Is Smalltalk still growing today?


Squeak seems to be building some excitement...

>It probably hasn't grown
>for quite some time, yet it's still around if you want to learn it.
>How about Eiffel? People are even moving away from C and C++, but I
>doubt they'll be dead for many years to come.
>
>In any case (and this is a reply to several posts, not just yours),
>Ruby will get popular some day. Or maybe it won't, and we'll either
>continue to talk about it here and use it from time to time just
>because it's a nice language, or we'll move on to something else.
>The world will go on.
>


Yes it will.

>What we don't need to do is organize a big campaign to get Ruby
>awareness up.


So Ruby awareness will just grow on it's own without any effort from us?
It'll just happen? I don't think so.

>We don't need to contact big players like IBM and
>whoever to push Ruby for all sorts of programming -- "Look, it
>was made for scripting but you should use it for OS programming and
>high speed graphics too!"


I don't think anyone is contacting big players and proposing that Ruby be
used for things it's not suited for, and they shouldn't.
But what about proposing Ruby for things that it _is_ good for?


>We don't need to go into Slashdot stories
>or forums about other languages and post messages going "Ruby rox!
>Go check it out!"


No, but why not visit other forums and make intelligent comments about
Ruby (backing them up with facts about the language). I think there are
many opportunities to do this in an appropriate way. Nobody's going to
pay much attention to a post on a forum that says "You should use Ruby
because it rox!", but if you suggest why Ruby makes sense for the given
application space it will be received positively.

>
>Everyone hates evangelists except for those who are already in the
>religion. They get offended that you're implying your beliefs are
>better than theirs. If someone's curious about Ruby, or wants a
>language suggestion, tell them to check it out, but don't become
>an evangelist.


It all depends on how the evangelizing is done. I would submit that we
_do_ need Ruby evangelists, but they need to evangelize 'nicely' and
intelligently. I know that a few years back there was an article going
around about how language evangelism is just terrible bad and must be
avoided at all costs, but I wonder if it caused us to go too far in the
other direction. "I'm not going to even mention Ruby as an option because
I don't want to be seen as an evangelist". The more people hear about
Ruby, the more likely it is that they'll try it.

We've all seen plenty of examples of superior commercial products that
died due to poor marketing.

So please _do_ write articles, post messages to other forums and even to
Slashdot. If we aim to be invisible, we will be.

>
>In the mean time, posts like, "Python is 25 times more popular than
>Ruby" or "Ruby needs Python indenting to be popular!" just waste time.
>Ruby will either get there, or it won't, based on whether it's worthy
>or not. Don't worry so much about how long it takes.
>


Some of us have been waiting longer than others...

bottom line:
I'd like to be able to recommend Ruby for work projects and not get
'never heard of it' comments and questions about where would they find
Ruby programmers if I were hit by a bus. I'd like to hear, "Ruby,
excellent suggestion, go with it". Right now that's not the case - it's
an uphill battle, but sometimes we do win.

Phil
 
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Dan Doel
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      02-02-2004
Okay, we'd like to use Ruby at work. For this, Ruby needs
critical mass.

Threads like this don't really help Ruby gain mass. What
should we do? I don't think an aggressive Ruby marketing
campaign is in order, unless someone wants to spend lots
of money.

What can the Ruby community really do except continue to
write Ruby code? RubyForge says it hosts 152 projects.
As people write more Ruby code, more people will come and
write more Ruby code and so on. Ruby may gain critical
mass in the future. It just isn't there yet.

So, I think that the Ruby community is already doing all
it can to help Ruby gain critical mass. Did Python gain
mindshare via marketing or simply by people writing code
to demonstrate its viability (I don't know)? Simply
remarking that Ruby doesn't have critical mass yet or
that Python is more popular than Ruby isn't particularly
productive (I know it's the truth, but it doesn't do
anything to solve the problem).

- Dan


 
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Lothar Scholz
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      02-02-2004
Hello Dan,

Monday, February 2, 2004, 6:00:37 AM, you wrote:

DD> Okay, we'd like to use Ruby at work. For this, Ruby needs
DD> critical mass.

DD> Threads like this don't really help Ruby gain mass. What
DD> should we do? I don't think an aggressive Ruby marketing
DD> campaign is in order, unless someone wants to spend lots
DD> of money.

DD> What can the Ruby community really do except continue to
DD> write Ruby code? RubyForge says it hosts 152 projects.
DD> As people write more Ruby code, more people will come and
DD> write more Ruby code and so on. Ruby may gain critical
DD> mass in the future. It just isn't there yet.

Whats about cooperation instead of competition in the ruby world ?
The raa-installer vs. ruby-gems is one of the places where energy is
spend that could be used better. I also see lots of libraries in
competition to each other but not in competition to some python/perl
libraries, simply because they are to weak to be a competitor.

If ruby is so a superior OO language, why is it so complicated to
extend/change an already existing library ?

The Ruby-Gem thread was one of the reasons why i started looking at
the statistics on sourceforge.

--
Best regards,
Lothar (E-Mail Removed)



 
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