A blog by Gary Bernhardt, Creator & Destroyer of Software

Python vs. Ruby: A Battle to The Death

15 Feb 2010

At Northwest Python Day 2010 on January 30th, I gave two talks; this is the second, which was the last talk of the day. I tuned it to its audience and time slot, making it biased toward an audience that already knows Python, as well as being lighter than originally intended. I still quite like the result.

During my talk, I mention Ruby.rewrite(Ruby), a talk by Reg Braithwithe. I recommend it. It also happens to contain my favorite quote from any talk, ever, which I will not repeat here. You'll just have to guess!

I've removed a few small bits from the audio – one grossly incorrect statement, one slide that could be misinterpreted in ways I want to avoid, and a couple of audience questions that I basically had no answer for. None of these edits affects the content of the talk in my opinion.

The talk is dense and necessarily glosses over a lot of subtleties. I talk about the Zen of Python, monkey patching (several times), the Ruby community's reckless hastiness, the syntax of RSpec and cucumber, beauty and ugliness in languages and testing tools, the complexity of the languages' grammars, syntactic vs. semantic complexity, the relative taste of grasshoppers and tree bark, etc., etc. There's way too much here to give anything a fair treatment. I hope that you'll keep this in mind while watching, avoid interpreting the talk as a claim to absolute truth, and simply enjoy it for what it is.

Shortly after the event, Geoffrey Grosenbach posted his thoughts. You should take a look for another viewpoint.

I'll be at PyCon later this week, by the way, so feel free to commiserate with, or rant at, me. With that, here's the talk:

Python vs. Ruby: A Battle to The Death from Gary Bernhardt on Vimeo.