Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ruby versus Python

I know, I know. I promised another post on Google and its wasteful practices, and it's not here. Well, the writing and research are taking longer than I expected; so you will have to wait a little longer. In the meantime, here is post on the topic of Ruby's sensational rise in the programming world.

A lot of bits and pixels have been printed trying to explain Ruby's gain in popularity over Python. In the end, the cause is clear: Ruby helped to slay one of IT's biggest dragons, Python didn't.

The dragon here is database-backed web applications. Ruby on Rails (RoR) is simply a much easier way to develop these applications on the web. RoR has helped to solve a very large and expensive problem in the web marketplace. This is one way you become a big success in the business world. Unfortunately, Python has not yet solved this big problem nearly as well as RoR. Nor has it solved any other large and expensive IT problems on par with databased-back web applications. Hence its smaller mind and market share.

The lesson for all Pythonistas? Develop a Python-based tech solution that solves a big expensive IT problem. Until then, Python will have to remain content with its smaller wins in computer systems (Google uses it), engineering, science, and computer graphics (Industrial Light & Magic uses it too).