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Monday, November 07, 2005

Comments

Chris

Ruby. It's the most advanced and friendliest of the 'little languages'. It has the same basic SmallTalk-inspired object model and dynamic method dispatch mechanisms as Objective-C, so mentally switching between them is actually fairly easy; the concepts tend to reinforce each other.

Chris

By the way, I've observed that great documentation/books/etc does not necessarily come from great programmers, and certainly not from hotshot ones. The best documentation I've ever read has come from full-time technical writers who don't actually progam for a living.

The difference seems to be that they need to work harder to understand the technology, and they're coming from a relatively exterior viewpoint, so they see things as a newcomer might.

This is not to say that a non-programmer will always make a great tech writer. Clearly, some technical background -- as well as some native writing talent, ability to express concepts in prose, etc -- is required. And some programmers are great tech writers. But that's rare, in my experience. We programmers live too much inside our heads, it's hard to crawl out and look at things from the perspective of someone new to our technologies.

Mike Zornek

I'm using Ruby a lot lately and enjoying it. Mainly I'm doing stuff with Rails but just the other day wrote a little ruby program to generate some authentication statistics for a report I was writing up.

As for Cocoa integration. Ruby might provide a way, but I don't have any experience with it just yet.

The first ed. of the Ruby Pickax book is available online:
http://www.ruby-doc.org/docs/ProgrammingRuby/

I own the 2nd edition and it's a very nice introduction to ruby.

Python does have a very productive Cocoa integration layer:

http://pyobjc.sourceforge.net/

I don't have personal experience with it, but my friends do, and they like it a lot.

Good luck picking a language.

Josh Carter

Another vote for Ruby. I started with it recently for a couple of Rails projects, and it's quite impressive. I haven't used it to build "native-like" applications, but these days the web browser is supplanting native apps more and more.

If you decide to check out Rails, definitely get the "Agile Development with Rails" book. (Plus its errata, and check my site for instructions on getting it running under Tiger.) I waited on the Pickaxe book but I have it now; in the meantime I've been referring to the online version. Nothing beats reading the book on paper, though.

FWIW, I'm a language geek and I seem to "collect" at least basic skills with many languages, but I think it's essential to master one systems-level language and one scripting language. It's been C++ and Perl for me, but I think I'll phase out Perl and replace it with Ruby.

Unfortunately I don't have a background with Python -- it's one of the few languages I passed on. I hear great things about it, but I didn't see it having a strong enough advantage over my other tools.

Scott

Has anybody used RubyCocoa? It's here .

Nicholas Riley

I like Python a lot. It's matured greatly (faster, more features, more consistency) since I started using it; it's really easy to pick up since the syntax is pretty obvious, and I enjoy the mix of simplicity, pragmatism, a big standard library and a friendly community.

Python is a wonderful Mac citizen, as well; it's got robust tools like PyObjC (write Cocoa apps), appscript (send Apple Events, except without the annoying AppleScript syntax) and py2app (trivially package Python apps, automatically collecting dependencies, into double-clickable Mac apps or Installer packages); it also comes with a reasonably complete set of Carbon bindings. There's even neater stuff like objc.inject, which will let you inject a Python interpreter into a running app so you can play with its objects.

I haven't used Ruby much, but it seems to be evolving quickly. It's less mature than Python at the moment; for example, it has no decent Unicode support, whereas Python's had it for years. Last time I used it I found it too much Perl and not enough Smalltalk, but it is certainly worth a look.

Keith Stattenfield

I've also been doing small stuff in Ruby, and find it pretty nice.

Jerome Rainey

I use Perl for little projects like that. Everyone here is recommending Ruby and Python, so I think I'll have to give them a try.

C J Silverio

Python all the way, Scott, particularly if you want the Cocoa integration. It's elegant, clean, fun to write software in, and has a great set of standard libraries. You're also in the middle of the single biggest concentration of Python programmers at the Big Number Company.

I have used Ruby for a medium-sized deployed project (along with Rails), and I won't be using it again for anything serious until the next version with the new interpreter appears. Fun language with interesting Smalltalky concepts, but not yet there yet. Poor string handling and Unicode support, for one thing. For playing around, though, it's just fine.

C J Silverio

Python all the way, Scott, particularly if you want the Cocoa integration. It's elegant, clean, fun to write software in, and has a great set of standard libraries. You're also in the middle of the single biggest concentration of Python programmers at the Big Number Company.

I have used Ruby for a medium-sized deployed project (along with Rails), and I won't be using it again for anything serious until the next version with the new interpreter appears. Fun language with interesting Smalltalky concepts, but not yet there yet. Poor string handling and Unicode support, for one thing. For playing around, though, it's just fine.

Uli Kusterer

Well, I usually use PHP. It's sort of an interpreted version of C without the static data types and with more text-manipulation. It's a little crufty in places, and I'm not sure there's an interactive shell right now, but it comes with OS X, so you can use it just like Shell Scripts (but with less of a "search and replace"-style syntax).

Y'know, in the old days I would have done stuff like that in HyperCard ... *wistful sigh*

Dave Parizek

RealBasic

realsoftware.com

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