Mike Clark this morning has a bit of a nudge for Rael to give Ruby a try. Mike makes the following statement that I completely agree with
The beauty of Ruby is its simplicity and consistency. With Ruby, I find myself writing code to get the job done rather than to appease the compiler.
So true! Since Ruby is a dynamic language, there are no variable types to declare, no static checking; variables are just slots. The number of lines of Ruby code to do something is far less than the equivalent Java code, and I would argue more readable. You don’t have to jump through hoops to make the compiler happy, you just write your code to do what you need done. That’s it. It’s a beautiful thing.
The fact that regular expressions are baked right into the language is also a giant plus. This is how Perl does it, and Matz basically lifted this approach when he created Ruby. Python‘s regex support is not nearly as nice since you have to create a regex and call methods on it instead of using a regex literal and using special variables to get the groups, etc. Where having baked-in regex support really shines is in not having to escape backslashed atoms in the regex. Regexen in Java are even more difficult to read than usual because every backslash is doubled to keep the Java string parser from barfing on unknown escapes.