What do you think about Ruby ?

Blake blake at kingdomrpg.com
Sun Aug 7 12:51:08 UTC 2005

On Sun, 07 Aug 2005 04:50:35 -0700, Damien Cassou <cassou at iam.unibe.ch>  

> You all answer the same way, you are all poet. But nobody answer the  
> question :
> What are the  "technical" differences ?

It's a broad question. I answered part of it, which is that Ruby uses  
traditional language constructs to avoid the conceptual difficulty some  
people have in adapting to a straight "object message" syntax. In other  
words, the "foreign" construct of:

1 to: 4 do: [:i | Transcript show:i].

in Smalltalk is replcaed by:

i = 0
   puts "#{i}"
   i += 1
end until i > 4

Perl is Ruby's other big influence.

Other people pointed out that Ruby is file-based versus Smalltalk's image  
based. That it is "just" a language and libraries, while Smalltalk is an  
environment (according to Alan Kay, for building something better than  

What else do you want? Ruby is slower--it's VM is far less mature. It has  
multiple IDEs (good) but none of them are of Squeak's sophistication  
(bad). I don't think it has anything like Etoys, morphic, or Croquet,  
though it may play better with external libraries.

It has Ruby-on-Rails which is similar to Seaside though I think the  
consensus here is that Seaside is far more powerful. As far as I can tell,  
there's no running the actual VM inside a browser, as you can with Squeak.

And this is just Ruby-in-general versus Squeak-in-particular. VisualWorks  
doesn't have Etoys for example but it does have the sort of optimized VM  
Ruby users just pine for.

As I said, it's a broad question. If you're not happy with the answers,  
narrow it down.

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