Simon Willison’s Weblog

The Philosophy of Ruby

The Philosophy of Ruby is the first part of Artima’s interview with Yukihiro Matsumoto (aka Matz), creator of the Ruby language. The interview touches on the philosophical differences between Python and Ruby, in particular Python’s preference for having one obvious way of doing things:

Ruby inherited the Perl philosophy of having more than one way to do the same thing. I inherited that philosophy from Larry Wall, who is my hero actually. I want to make Ruby users free. I want to give them the freedom to choose. People are different. People choose different criteria. But if there is a better way among many alternatives, I want to encourage that way by making it comfortable. So that’s what I’ve tried to do. Maybe Python code is a bit more readable. Everyone can write the same style of Python code, so it can be easier to read, maybe. But the difference from one person to the next is so big, providing only one way is little help even if you’re using Python, I think. I’d rather provide many ways if it’s possible, but encourage or guide users to choose a better way if it’s possible.

Ruby vs Python is currently threatening to overtake Perl vs Python as the favourite holy war amongst language geeks. I’m predisposed towards Python, mainly because I haven’t seen any benefits of Ruby over Python strong enough to convince me to invest some serious time in the former.

This is The Philosophy of Ruby by Simon Willison, posted on 2nd October 2003.

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