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20 Years of Ruby

by | February 22nd, 2016


This year has been really rich for technical anniversaries. We just have finished the celebration of Rails’ decade, but legendary Yukihiro Matsumoto (Matz – the creator of Ruby) has already informed in his Twitter on December 21st that it was exactly 20 years since the first release of Ruby.

Why this language is so remarkable? I don’t want to quote the Wikipedia, telling well-known facts, however, briefly could be said that once Ruby became popular in Japan, with lightning speed with the first technical newsletters and documentation in English, it quickly began to conquer the audience beyond its historical homeland. One of the secrets of this crazy popularity was the fact that there is an opportunity, initially enclosed in Ruby and unlike the languages of that time, writing almost meaningful code in Listing English. Yukihiro Matsumoto tried to create a true object-oriented, easy-to-use high-level language, which would combine the best from the other languages and make the work of a programmer more comfortable and productive. Ruby wasn’t widely known in Europe and United States up to 2004 but later his star glowed even more brightly than before thanks to its strong points and Ruby on Rails framework. Rails, as MVC framework for fast creation, has become a real golden Grail for Ruby web application where by Ruby got worldwide recognition. And despite Matz’s reluctant recognition of such the fact, Rails was the starting point of further expansion of Ruby on the world’s technology map. Indeed, in our time, Ruby is often associated primarily with Rails, but the scope of language applications is spread way wider. If you go deeper into the topic, in the rails’ shadow you may find such amazing tools as Sinatra, Padrino, RubyGems, Chef, QtRuby and mruby. All of them are designed to at one or another level to solve a set of tasks.

And how many projects were born during this time! Usually in such cases, everyone remembers only successful stories of Twitter, Groupon, AirBnb, kickstarter, but that’s only a small list of all those startups which Rails, and in particular, Ruby helped to implement.


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Nowadays there are lots of worries about the future of Ruby. Every year there are new languages and instruments that are gaining popularity by focusing on performance and productivity, such as Go and Node.js. Automatically you start to think what if it’s time to start using something more trendy? Yes, truly, lately you just don’t have enough time to monitor the whole zoo of technologies which as storm burst on the technological arena, promising to sweep away the competition with their killer-features. However, in such cases there needs to be a balanced approach. At this moment it’s not necessary to rush and radically change the direction to 180 degrees. Hundreds of swords were broken in endless holy wars to find out whose language is cooler. It is important to be able to apply a technology according to its intended purpose, skillfully combining in one project multi-threaded data processing, which can give Go as well as node.js which can as Realtime service and Rails itself that can unite all of them together under its wing. Of course, it’s only an example and it’s far away to de ideal, but the main idea should be understood. And, eventually, statistics doesn’t lie! According to Tiobe raitings (which assesses the popularity of programming languages on the basis of search engines enquiries) Ruby is among the top ten most popular languages taking the 10th honorable place. If we compare this with the same period of year 2014 we will find out that in a year Ruby went up by as much as 8 steps comparing with its competitors.

Gera-IT, as one of the most ardent Ruby supporter, congratulates everyone whose life and work is somehow connected to this amazing programming language because at the moment Ruby is not only clear and well-run instrument, but in fact is an integral tool with (what is hard to believe) 20 years of history.

R20_3 This time I would like to end the story with some excellent quote which will sum up everything. And there won’t be better choice as to quote Yukihiro Matsumoto himself:
«Man is driven to create; I know I really love to create things. And while I’m not good at painting, drawing, or music, I can write software. I want computers to be my servants, not my masters. Thus, I’d like to give them orders quickly. A good servant should do a lot of work with a short order».


Gera-IT. Ruby on Rails experts.