There are several programming languages that interest me lately:
Ruby is interesting because I find it predictable. It is fully OO, very high-level, and it has a good application framework (Rails). I like Matz's focus on how programming *feels*. I recently bought a bunch of books on Ruby and on Rails. It is also slow, somewhat immature, and its future is mostly in the hands on one person (Matz). JRuby provides Java integration, but it is too slow and immature to build a live system today (Oct. 2006).
Python is interesting because it is OO and very high-level. It finally has an anointed web framework (Django). The white-space thing took some getting used-to, but I've decided I like it better than having to remember to put in an explicit end-of-block marker (i.e. 'end' or '}'). It is faster than Ruby, mostly mature, and its future is mostly in the hands on one person (Guido), although Google would probably step in if Guido got hit by a bus.
Groovy is interesting because it ties into Java well. It has a web framework (Grails). It seems to be more verbose than Ruby or Python. I need to look into Groovy more.
Smalltalk has been around longer than the others on this page. I dunno about the image thing. It has less of a cult following. When I looked into it 15 years ago, I finally 'got' OO programming and I said, "this is going to be really important." However, Smalltalk has no one leading it and the different implementations have diverged from the ancient Smalltalk-80 'standard.'
Java is interesting because that's where the jobs are today.
Still no conclusions. Let's try another approach -- what is particularly scary about each?
Let's try throwing out the scariest:
See http://ruby.brian-schroeder.de/editierdistanz/ for side-by-side Ruby and Python.
So what? When I look at Ruby and Python side-by-side, Ruby appears more consistent. Python's mix of sometimes a function and sometimes a method is not something I want to try and remember. Python is currently faster than Ruby, but so far, for me, Ruby is adequately fast.
Maybe I should define what I want:
So it comes down to:
Rails sure is nifty. The Java platform sure is robust. Mastering a single tool sure is appealing.
What about Groovy and Grails and Java? Do I have to use Grails with Groovy? What about RIFE?
Now my list is down to:
I've been doing some reading about the (brief) history of Groovy. I'm dubious as to whether the project has the juice to succeed, and I can't discern the rhyme or reason of The Groovy Way. I'm going to do a bake-off between Python and Ruby.