Ruby the Rival, Tk, “mini-lang”

I saw Ruby the Rival via an article on Lambda the Ultimate, and of course it tickled my interest in the diffusion, rise, and decline of programming languages. The guys they picked to interview have pretty good commentary – I found it thoughtful and insightful.

Robert Cooper’s comments to the effect that you should do the easy things first and make the complex stuff available are spot on. Simple stuff has got to be simple in order for the language and its libraries and applications to scale down, and without scaling down, you leave yourself vulnerable to someone who is willing and able to get people started with something easier than what you’re offering.

Bill Venners points out that the Rails folks have done a very good job of marketing what they’ve done. Agreed. It’s been hard to see the opposite effect in the Tcl community, which has some really good technology that has been sold very poorly.

Speaking of which, James Duncan Davidson says Ruby doesn’t have a “compelling” gui toolkit. It has Tk though, and if they do their homework, will soon have Tile. And that’s not bad… maybe it’s not the glitziest thing out there, so I could see why it might not appeal to a Mac guy, but on the other hand, there are countless very compelling desktop apps waiting to be written that are interesting to people for what they do, not just because they are slick looking. And frankly, it’s not like Java is that hot in the gui space in any case…

Mini-Language

Only tangentially related to the above, I found this while looking at ofbiz, which looks to be a pretty good system for what it does. However, the “scripting language” doesn’t really make sense to my way of doing things. Look at the example towards the end:

http://www.ofbiz.org/docs/minilang.html

That seems like an awful lot of verbosity for something that doesn’t absolutely need to be edited by a computer.

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