The Joy of Bombast

by Charles Miller on August 30, 2004

Java Is DoomedIt all started on the SyXPAC mailing-list. We were discussing possible future activities for Geek Night, and I half-jokingly mentioned I was considering doing a presentation called "Why My Brain Likes Ruby".

Of course, somebody called my bluff, and on Friday night, when I was collapsing at home on account of having been woken up at 5am by a cat every day of the week, I pulled up Keynote and started playing around. And if you're browsing with images turned on, you can see what popped out of my tired and slightly beer-assisted subconscious.

As an aside, I can't begin to describe how much of a boon the Google image search is when you're messing around with slideware. Looking for a picture of a guy in a fire-proof suit? Look no further!

The rest was this slide's fault. I have no idea where it came from, but damn it's fun. Immediately, out poured what can only be described as half abstract, half manifesto:

"Why My Brain Likes Ruby"

I'm not a Ruby expert. I hack Java for a living, and it's likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. With the reference manuals close at hand, though, I can throw together a credible Ruby program.

More importantly, whenever I start hacking Ruby, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that this is... right. And I find myself going back to Java and thinking "Why does this language keep getting in my way?"

You won't come out of this presentation knowing Ruby, but you might come out wanting to learn it. You may just as well come out thinking that I am a dangerous lunatic, or in the words of Hani Suleiman: "the kind of person who is amused by shiny baubles".

"Why My Brain Likes Ruby" is an attempt to prompt discussion through blatant flamebait, and one man's incredibly biased opinions:

  • Does the language really make a difference?
  • Static typing: belt or straitjacket?
  • How did Perl go from enfant terrible to tired has-been in just five years?
  • Will we still be writing Java code in ten years, and if so, should we just slit our wrists now?
  • And if we have time, and haven't broken out into physical violence by this point: why should Sun open-source the JVM?

For your comfort and convenience, this presentation should only be consumed after a couple of beers.

I'm almost hoping my second bluff is called, and someone asks me to present the damn thing. It might be fun.

Previously: On Becoming a Verb

Next: "Don't Call it Shorthorn"