Thursday, July 17, 2008

Should you fear or embrace dynamic languages?

Yesterday John Lam (the brain behind a Microsoft IronRuby effort) delivered an excellent (as usual) presentation for a Metro Toronto .NET User Group audience - "IronRuby: Should you fear or embrace dynamic languages?".

John is an exceptionally inspiring speaker. If you ever have a chance to attend his performance presentation - drop all your appointments and go! Don't worry even if the presentation is about a Roman cubic art - he is notorious for deviating from the topic and you will hear about many other things. What he will most likely to achieve is make you aspire to be better at whatever you do.

Ruby perspectives look good. So do the .NET's. By the end of the presentation both questions from the topic are answered for me. Those answers most likely are what John wanted to communicate but the reasons behind them are [possibly|slightly] different: No - you shouldn't fear the dynamic languages as a concept and No - an average C# Joe should not be afraid of Ruby sneaking up on him and taking his job away. C# 3.0 matches a Ruby's syntactic sugar in a lot of cases and there is (hopefully) more to come. And Yes - you must try Ruby at the least. The presentation has finally convinced me that doing so will make me a better developer. A better C# developer.

So go ahead and learn Ruby. By the time you are more or less done, the IronRuby will ship (spring 2009 was mentioned) and you will be able to make an informed decision - get hooked on this new cool drug or stick with the good old one :)


Chris Barrow said...

I attended this seminar as well, and I must agree with you. John Lam did seem a bit hesitant and less enthusiastic about IronRuby and its potential. I do, however, agree with Lam on this point: the real power of Ruby and its various flavours is how it will help to develop the emerging field of Domain Specific Languages (DSLs). I think this is where the true future of Ruby (or a derivative of it) lies.

Michael Goldobin said...

It very well may be that by the time the Ruby will mature it will become mainstream as it happened with Java and .NET.
C# 3.0 is less verbose than 2.0 and for the C# sake I hope that it will continue the same pace with version 4 and further.
In any case learning and practicing Ruby is a way to go, no matter what your underlying motivation is.

Anonymous said...

The ASP.NET MVC team still seems to be pretty determined about integration with IronRuby.

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