The September 1st issue of SD Times contains two opinions on Ruby, “It Isn’t All A Gem,” by Andrew Binstock and my “Crossing the Chasm.” Allen Holub’s column “Just Say No to XML” is also provocative. As usual, surface disagreements belie underlying agreements: there is nothing that either Andrew or Allen says that I think is factually incorrect, but in both cases I disagree (or at least don’t fully agree) with their conclusions. Andrew throws up a caution flag on Ruby; I say the time has come to learn it. Allen says that knowing how to build a compiler is is part-and-parcel of being a non-dilettante programmer; I think that today such experience is at least uncommon and borders on esoteric.
Interestingly, both of these disagreements with my colleagues come down to education. Andrew fingers the lack of a great Ruby tutorial as a problem, I think that “what the world needs” is a compiler-design tutorial that reflects what we’ve learned in the past 15 years about OOP, design patterns, testing, etc. (And I think Allen Holub is the guy to write just such a book. In an email I pointed out the irony of “Mr. OOP” praising tools that churn out procedural state machines and tree-walkers.)