Java down 4%; Python up 16%; Ruby up 1,152%

I’m talking about book sales here (recent book sales compared to the same period last year). Tim O’Reilly has previously written about using book sales as a technology trend indicator, and I think the trend towards Ruby and Rails is clearly showing up.

This comes from a post that Tim O’Reilly made yesterday titled Ruby Book Sales Surpass Python. I thought this observation was particularly interesting:

Ruby on Rails is indeed, as Jonathan suggests, the driver of the interest in Ruby, which, after all, has been around for years without generating the kind of surge it’s seen in the past six months. But as you can see, we’re on the fence about whether or not Python has an answer to RoR (and we’re not even asking the question about Perl!)

Also, be sure to look at the comments left by the readers… lots of good stuff in there, too. For example, one reader summed up one of the major reasons that I, personally, chose Ruby rather than Python:

It’s doubtful that the Python folks can come up with anything as compelling (or elegant) as Rails. Why? Because Ruby is so good at creating Domain Specific Langauges (DSLs). Ruby’s anonymous code blocks are a big part of what enables DSLs to be written so easily in the language. Python doesn’t have them. Python’s lambda’s (and closures in general) are crippled as well, which also doesn’t help Python’s cause.

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