Why Ruby?

May 11, 2007

I happen to work in a materials simulation research group. Partly as an experiment, I started doing my work coding in Ruby about six months ago. It was somewhat a rejection of FORTRAN, which I am not a big fan of. Most of my work revolves around calculations, although some of the day to day tasks are gluing various inputs and outputs together. Ruby has a (fair) reputation for being slow, so it seems like this is not a good fit for Ruby, right?

So why, then?

Speed of execution is not the same as speed of development.

If I were writing programing rules, this might be number one. You simply cannot underestimate the time that it takes to implement, test, and verify a new algorithm. This is almost never done on a production size system. Ruby is incredibly strong in this area. Over the next few days, I’m going to post some details about how these have worked out in my real world* experience.

* Ok, I work in an academic environment…”real world” might not be the best description of it 🙂