Tim Bray is a member of the herd of people checking out Ruby. Being a sensible man, he’s started out by reading a book on Ruby programming. I, on the other hand, skipped that and am learning Rails first and picking up just enough Ruby along the way to get things done in Rails. I’ll have to go back and read the Pickaxe book at some point, but I’m working on a specific project that I want to get into a usable state, so I’m cutting corners at the start. Anyway, his thoughts on Ruby as compared to other languages are worth reading. I’m with him on the “end” statement. I prefer the handling of blocks in C-style languages and Python to the way Ruby does it.
He also makes this observation that I strongly agree with:
In particular, as James Strachan has often argued, the combination of a good modern IDE and a statically typed language mean that you hardly ever have to type out a full method or variable name, and even though you might have to write more lines of Java than you would in Ruby, you might get the code written just as fast.
Yes, a Java project contains lots of lines of code. But if you use a modern tool like IDEA, Eclipse, or NetBeans, the IDE winds up writing a lot of that code for you. I can see the argument that if your IDE can figure out how to write the code, then maybe it should be left out entirely and be accessible by inference, but in practice I don’t think that’s a big deal.