Anything is Better with Cartoon Foxes

I love programming languages. It’s almost obscene, but there are few languages that I won’t pick up and find some use for. The possible exception being COBOL.

Anyway, loving languages as I do, I find myself reading a lot of language documentation. Every so often a language (and it’s documentation) will stand out. Ruby is one of those languages that promises to make your life better.

Is it true? Well, if you’re a programmer, you can compare to Python and decide for yourself.

If you’re not a programmer, and I mean you never wrote a fragment of code in your life, you might want to read Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby. It will change the way you think about languages and about language manuals. And it has cartoon foxes. Anything is better with cartoon foxes.

No comments yet to Anything is Better with Cartoon Foxes

  • CS Weenie

    I’ve read a bit about Ruby. The main thing it does which Common Lisp doesn’t is continuations, which I don’t miss too much. Also Ruby seems to have an equivalent of the REPL, which is a good thing. Interesting all in all, but not a compelling language for a Lisp aficionado.

    The language I’ve always wanted to investigate more deeply is Haskell, with Erlang as a close second. I suppose I’m just a functional language kinda guy.

    I firmly believe the reason Python, Ruby, etc. are blossoming while Lisp has languished is “all those parentheses”. Sad really — and shows how much people care about syntax.

  • I like Lisp. I like Python. I do think “all those parentheses” are too obnoxious most of the time. I wouldn’t bother with Haskell though.

    Actually, the language I think would cause the biggest mind-twist for me right now would be Forth. Too bad I’m stuck using C++, VHDL, and HSPICE this term.

  • Casimir

    The only thing that gets me about Python, syntax wise, is the significance of whitespace. Sure it makes code “more readable” but it also allows completely invisible errors. It makes for an example of how syntax can make a language more or less a flow of ideas rather than a crafting of the syntactically perfect statement.

    And seriously. Chunky. Bacon.

  • CS Weenie

    Ironically, Python fans reply to criticism about the whitespace thing the same way Lispers have defended their syntax for decades: “Try it for a couple weeks and you won’t care anymore.”

    But the Lisp syntax wins here too: the nesting level (plus a peek at the symbol table) determines the proper indentation, although it’s certainly not required. This achieves the same goal in a less authoritarian way.

    And hey — if you want different syntax in Lisp, just write a macro. In almost all other languages, have fun writing a preprocessor or using something unspeakably horrible like C++ templates.

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