What Is Ruby?

At the risk of derailing the conversation - I fear you may have got the wrong end of the stick as to what Ruby is.

You’ve compared it to HTML and CSS, but this is incorrect - Ruby is a general purpose programming language (much like Python) - and while it can be used to generate HTML and CSS (much like Python) - it isn’t limited to just this, and you can use it to build all sorts of software (much like Python).

Sure, when most people think of Ruby, they automatically assume Rails, but Rails is just one small part of the Ruby ecosystem.

Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t learn Python - I’m sure it’s a fine language, as people like @moreati (and possibly @Twisted, who’s currently learning it) will tell you - but I wanted to make sure your decision was an informed one.

Come to the next WMRUG and I’m sure we’ll be happy to introduce you to it.

Anyway, sorry about that, I’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled content…

You rang? For server side web development Python and Ruby I think are as good as each other, so I won’t try to tempt you. Ruby has a few features I wish Python did, and a few behaviours I’m glad Python doesn’t. If I’d encountered Ruby first I’d probably be using it now. Fundamentally the best language to start with is the one that interests you, and for which you have someone to answer lots of questions.

On a tangent, one area Python shines is scientific computing (e.g. simulations, stats, heavy number crunching). Thanks mainly to comprehensive pacakges like NumPy, SciPy etc. To my limited knowledge Ruby is not as strong there


It is true that most people talk about RoR when talking about Ruby but even then I’ve always heard ruby to be very tightly linked to web. I also know a lot more ruby developers than python devs and I guess the hipster in me just wants to learn the one I know the least about. :stuck_out_tongue:

Those of us in the know (in the ruby community) tend to use sinatra + sequel rather than rails. rails is good for the cv and contract work, but to really get stuff done – especially distributed systems – then rails hits a wall long before lighter weight frameworks.

That said, I’m pretty much a convert to elixir and phoenix now. Concurrency is the future, and the erlang platform is the best for that, currently.


To avoid polutting @Fyx’s thread, I’ve split the relevant posts here.

I don’t like how tightly knitted everything in Rails is, so when I use it, I try doing so in a SOLID way, but this is a skill I’m still learning.

I know no knowledge of elixir or phoeniux - I should spend some time learning them, but there are only 24 hours in the day (and I spend 12 of them sleeping ;))

For my own part, I’m keen on using Lotus Hanami. It’s not quite there yet (or rather, my skills as a dev aren’t strong enough to fill in the gaps), but based on the philosophy of the framework, I’m keen to give it a try.

The coupling in Rails is horrible (it also tries to do way too much stuff). Trying to stay decoupled and practice good OO in Rails is hard – and OO is hard enough. It’s the main reason I don’t use Rails for my own stuff. It’s fine for nice, well-paid contracts, though \o/ Also, Rails doesn’t scale well. You can use it for SOA (hipster trans.: micro services) to scale, but why bother when there are far better options?

I was listening to a chat this week between José Valim (elixir dude and ex-Rails commiter) and Sean Griffin (current Rails AR maintainer) lamenting some of the Rails core issues. Interestingly, Sean has broadened his horizons into Rust with the diesel framework.

ruby is a beautiful language imo, but rails has had it day. I’m so glad José built elixir and Chris McCord built Phoenix. Out of the embers and all that.

I’m following along with Hanami (ex-Lotus), Luca’s doing a great job, but I’ve not built anything significant on it yet, and I’ve no plans to given the alternatives.

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There’s a meme going back about a decade that “Ruby is an acceptable Lisp”. I haven’t read it.

Been meaning to come to a Ruby meetup for ages - looking forward to it! :smiley:

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