Sunday, February 11

Yesterday found me standing in a Barnes & Noble, deciding between Higher Order Perl and Programming Ruby. I went with the latter, despite a faint odor of bandwagon jumping about the entire language lately.

What I am discovering, for the umpteenth time, is that there is something about the Object Oriented paradigm that drives me up a wall. I always feel like a small group of taxonomy-obsessed bureaucrats stumbled into computer science some time in the early 1980s and proceeded to form a sinister cabal which now runs the entire enterprise.1

Aside from that minor detail, Ruby is appealing. Though the powers-what-be are making an effort to distance the language from some of its Perl influences (it says so right there on page 24), there's a lot for a Perl-inclined sensibility to appreciate. Pain-free manipulation of strings, regular expressions, hashes, an "unless", easy iteration over (and flexible access to) arrays, nice little functional idioms, easy one-liners. And hey, whaddya know, arrays and hashes store any kind of object at all, which looks like it means that you can have an arbitrarily complex data structure without wanting to stab Larry Wall repeatedly with a bracket. (Larry, you know we love you. Perl 6?)

1 Yes, I'm aware that this is ahistorical and unfair.