I've been a die-hard Perl user for years now. Started with Perl 4 back in 1994 and have been programming Perl ever since. Perl is a great language. I can get a lot done with relatively little effort most of the time. But some of the time it can be a real pain to work with. No language is perfect. They're just tools in the computer world. Being a good Software Engineer means knowing when to use a particular tool.

Recently I've realized that my tool set hasn't grown much. Yes, I'm more skilled with the tools I do use, but that's no substitute for picking up a few new tools. I briefly toyed with the notion of picking up Java a while back. Heck, I did C++ in college for a few years, so it wouldn't be too hard. But Java never really got me excited. The closest I've come has been to read a bit more about Python and to try and study the occasional Python code I come across. Python sort of gets me excited--or at least curious.

Seeing this article on the O'Reilly Network reminded me of a 2.5 hour lunch conversation I had at work a few weeks ago.

Without recounting all the details, I'll say this. One of the engineers that I really respect spent a lot of time singing the praises of Ruby. He talked about being like Perl but better than Perl. Less strict that Python, more readable than Perl, and most importantly, it was fun to write. As I said, this is a guy I respect. Someone who knows more computer languages that I've ever studied. I believe him. I just need to find the time to see why he (and others I know) are excited about Ruby.

The only thing I need is a project to get started. I'm considering doing some back-end XML blog-related stuff as a way of learning the language--if I can squeeze any time away from working on the book, of course.

Posted by jzawodn at June 27, 2002 01:19 AM

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