"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Practice Begets Simplicity

Smalltalk is a much simpler language than Ruby. The ideal implementation is correspondingly simple. This has several positive implications, as Avi Bryant points out...

Dan Ingalls did a lovely binary compatible re-implementation of the Squeak VM in Java as an exercise to learn the language, in a tiny fraction of the time that JRuby has taken, because everything important, down to the parser, compiler, process scheduler, windowing system, and IDE, were implemented in Smalltalk anyway and so could be reused. That’s the kind of trick I’d like to see Ruby able to pull off.
There are a number of idiosyncracies in Ruby, in spite of its relative simplicity. Part of the problem is Ruby has been around well over a decade with just one implementation by essentially one developer.

Consider that in Smalltalk's first decade it changed fairly drastically and did not settle until toward the end of that decade. Also consider during that time there were a handful of implementors, many users, and the intent was to change the language for the better.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.