re: What's the state of Ruby? Is it trending down for good or just settling in to a mature niche role? VIEW POST


Ruby's decline was predicted in 2006 in a blog post by David Megginson (a Python programmer) about "the programming language cycle". In that blog post, David outlined a theory that programming languages are invented by elite programmers trying to differentiate themselves from the 'riff-raff'. David concluded his blog post by writing:

The final and most important point here is that a programming language’s perceived coolness will always suffer from its success. Java cannot possibly still be cool when there are thousands of regular developers slaving away in the bowels of ACME Widgets using it to write enterprise applications. If, in fact, Ruby displaces Java in the enterprise (which may not happen, since Ruby has no advantage over Java to match Java’s memory-management advantage over C++), it will suffer precisely the same fate, and we can expect Bruce Tate to write a book Beyond Ruby in five years or so.

By that measure, Python’s very failure is a kind of success — as long as it never really becomes takes hold in the workplace it will always carry a small degree of distinction with it, and at least a few elite developers won’t feel pressured to move on. Like a movie or band that never becomes too popular, Python will hang onto its snob appeal.

The implication of David's blog post though is that new programming languages aren't solely (or even primarily) motivated by technical concerns, but by elite programmers' desire to retain their social standing. So even though Ruby may have "declined", it is still a great language...just like PHP...just like Java...just like C++...etc., etc..


Ruby's decline was predicted in 2006

Given enough time, most predictions eventually come true.

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