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Ruby vs. Java Myths Deconstructed

Stuart Holloway of Relevance Talks the Talk, Walks the Walk

Stuart Holloway of Relevance, based on Chapel Hill, NC, has been blogging about Ruby vs. Java recently. He broke his conversation into discreet parts, exploring what he calls five myths about Ruby vs. Java. The five myths, in Holloway's view, are:

* Myth #1 - Ruby is suitable for small projects, and Java is better for large, complex projects.

* Myth #2 - Ruby feature X makes code unmaintainable

* Myth #3 - Ruby is too hard

* Myth #4 - It is easy to copy Rails' good ideas

* Myth #5 - It's a zero-sum game

The series drew a number of comments arguing both in favor and against Holloway's arguments. Along the way, he offers many gems of his own, including:

"People see the success of Rails and draw exactly the wrong conclusions. There are lots of visible, successful, small Ruby on Rails projects. There are lots of visible, successful, large Java projects. Look at these facts without broader context, and you get Myth #1."

"I believe that the responsibility for maintainable code lies 80% with the programmer, and only 20% language and tools."

"In what serious discipline is 'It's too hard' a legitimate excuse? I have never seen a bank that eschews multiplication: 'We use repeated addition here--multiplication was too hard for our junior staffers.' And I would be uncomfortable if my surgeon said 'I refuse to perform procedures developed in the last 10 years--it is just too hard for me to learn new techniques.'"

"Many of Rails' good ideas can be copied into any language. But some of Rails' good ideas require a language as open as Ruby--so much so that the good ideas in Ruby become bad ideas in other languages."

"Ruby is a great language, Java is a great platform. With Ruby running on a Java Virtual Machine, you get the best of both worlds."

The entire series, along with his other writings, can be found on Holloway's blog.

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