Marketing Ruby

Scheme, a variant of Lisp popular in academic settings, has no download link on its extremely minimalist home page. If you click Implementations, it will list about fifty and recommend about ten. Visit the Ruby homepage and you are presented with a modern, polished, attractive site and a large, friendly Download Ruby link.

Marketing isn’t always about advertising. If you believe in a product, present it to the world in a way that makes it easy for others to believe in. It’s easy to be cynical about appearances, but they are, here and now as they have ever been, important. This principle is extended deeply into the Ruby language itself. From a technical standpoint, Ruby does very little that other languages don’t, but the metaprogramming hooks it makes available to users are straightforward and user-friendly and make its users feel immediately powerful. The elaborate contortions (do watch the presentation if you can, it’s awesome) that the language itself must go through in order to provide a convenient interface to the user doesn’t detract from the net result. Simplexity sells.

Ruby and, now, Rails have been around for long enough that it seems, at least to me, that most people who were ever going to have an opinion on it now do so. But accusations of hype are and always have been overblown; I would go so far as to call that particular brand of cynicism a kind of intellectual laziness convenient to those don’t understand a phenomenon and don’t particularly want to. Regardless of whether or not Ruby and/or Rails are here to stay (and I think they are, but then, I’m an optimist), it would be foolish to ignore the lessons here.

GitHub, briefly

Somebody Else's Code