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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Tuesday February 24, 2004
04:07 AM

Hacking Ruby

[ #17591 ]

I've been playing a bit with coding in Ruby the last few days. It's been fairly interesting, though mostly frustrating. Here's what I think so far:

  • I like some of the idioms, like {|theFile| ... }
  • I like that a class is a class
  • I dislike that there seems to be no "compile" phase. Everything appears to be done at runtime.
  • The above point leads to having to do horrible hacks so that two classes can depend on eachother without getting compiler errors.
  • This leads into this point: The compiler error messages are just awful.
  • The level of maturity is obviously very low. I can barely get external libraries to work (on Linux). e.g. the ruby CDB library.

However I am going to persevere. I'm basically trying to port qpsmtpd to Ruby. It's an interesting project, and points out some areas where I could clean up qpsmtpd even more.

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  • I am trying to like Ruby as well. It's immaturity keeps smacking me in the face though. Either that or it is just because Perl has just about everything I need already.

    The comp.lang.ruby group is a great bunch of people. Use them as a resource. is a great resource as well.

  • I've been looking at Ruby and Python. I like Ruby for its Smalltalk-like aspects, and I like Python for its relative maturity and greater body of class libraries. Various "thought leaders" are heading towards Ruby, but the Ruby community doesn't have the critical mass that the Python community has. Thinking of the time investment as a bet, it's a difficult bet to place.
    • I can honestly say I'm learning ruby as an intellectual exercise, not for work or a future bet.

      If you wanted to place a bet, I'd go for C# right now as the language to learn. Or maybe Java. But that's purely based on what I see in the workplace. It might not be what you want to do.