Dynamic Languages and the Big Players

Over the last week both Ruby and Python have had moments in the sunshine, between Jim Hugunins (now of Microsoft) IronPython 1.0 release and Sun hiring JRuby developers it’s nice to see the bigger players notice how far dynamic languages have come.

So what do the little languages that can get from this? It’s a decent sized list - a huge range of well written libraries (both .NET and Java have a ton of supporting code available and a lot of it is damn good), a large potential user base (especially for IronPython) and enterprise recognition; while more forward thinking developers know all about the benefits of dynamic languages there are a lot of late adopters that are about to see the shiny things for the first time. And hopefully some of them will stick with it.

So what does this mean for perl, my scripting language of choice? Well, IMHO the advantage CPAN gave is reduced somewhat (and destroyed in certain areas, like XML support and webservices) thanks to the volume of libraries both virtual machines can access. As for Parrot, I’ve never been a huge fan. I’m not an expert on VMs (and I’ve never contributed anything to any of them so I’ve got no right to bitch :) but it always seemed a bad idea to try and build your own when the market had two powerful ones available. On a non-technical level we’ve just lost a huge potential market, Python has always had nicer feeling Windows integration and I’ve got a feeling it won’t be long until we start seeing it popping up in the MSDN code samples.

Update: I forgot to mention how cool IronPython and XAML are together. Have a look at the August 2006: IronPython screen cast.