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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Game On!

The Weremoose has accepted my Blogathon challenge, so the endurance race has begun! He's historically been a lot better about posting than I have, so he's still the odds on favorite to win, but we'll see. All it'll take is something forcing one of us out of town for a day, and it'll all be over. The suspense and tension are overwhelming!

After thinking about it off and on today, I've pretty much eliminated Lisp from serious consideration. I still really want to like Lisp, and I still plan on learning it, but probably not at the same time I'm trying to actually get something done. Learning a whole new language, building a new framework, and creating a new app -- I think I can handle doing 2/3 of those simultaneously, but not 3/3.

I'll admit, though, that Reddit's change from Lisp to Python played a role, and that Python using something (web.py? Django?) is now a contender instead. That's not because I'm deferring to their opinion of the technology. What's right for them might not be right for me. It's because all of the attention and discussion it generated made it easier for me to evaluate the Lisp options, and none of them looked real promising.

I'd originally written a lengthy post denouncing the Lispers' reaction to the change, but before posting I did a little followup reading and saw that many of them are trying to organize an effort to provide solutions to the issues raised by Reddit, so I was forced to rethink and rewrite my stance. Bravo to them, and I wish them well, but for right now I just want to get some fun stuff done. For that reason, I'm leaning toward Rails. As with Lisp, I have doubts about how easy it would be to do Smalltalk/Seaside development on a Mac and then deploy to a Linux or BSD server, or to switch back and forth between Mac and PC for development.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Avi Bryant said...

Ryan, for what it's worth, developing on the Mac and then deploying on Linux/BSD is precisely how most people I know (including myself) do Seaside development. Unlike most Lisps, the major Smalltalks are *extremely* portable, and deployment, whether cross platform or not, is a breeze. There may, of course, be all kinds of other reasons you might want to use Rails instead, but that shouldn't be one of them.

1/04/2006 12:07 AM  
Blogger James Robertson said...

I posted a response here:

http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/blog/blogView?showComments=true&entry=3313908467

Bottom line: With either VW or Squeak, you will see seamless portability.

1/05/2006 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you say Lisp, are you talking about Common Lisp only? Don't forget Scheme. PLT Scheme has lots of features: a great IDE, plenty of libraries, and some excellent teaching materials included. I don't think enough people check it out.

http://www.plt-scheme.org/

1/05/2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Yes, I'm using "Lisp" as a shorthand for "some Lisp variant." I used Scheme in several college courses, so I'm familiar with the syntax, basic usage, and available flavors.

I think that actually highlights one of the flaws the Reddit guys found with Lisp. If I want to get started with Ruby, my only choice is -- well -- Ruby. If I want to get started with Smalltalk, Squeak and VW are the obvious and easily accessible choices. If I want to get started with Lisp, is it CLisp? Scheme? Which version?

With Ruby and Smalltalk, it's relatively easy for someone who's an outsider to the language to figure out what to use. Choice is good after you understand what you're choosing, but having too many entry points is confusing to beginners. Would Rails be as accessible if users had to find the correct combination of OS/Ruby/Rails for their platform?

1/05/2006 5:53 PM  

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