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CODE4LIB  July 2013

CODE4LIB July 2013

Subject:

Re: Python and Ruby

From:

Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 29 Jul 2013 15:21:51 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (197 lines)

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you. And props for RubyMARC!
I have heard lots of good things.

Josh Welker
Information Technology Librarian
James C. Kirkpatrick Library
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
JCKL 2260
660.543.8022


-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Ross Singer
Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 2:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Python and Ruby

I can only answer for the Ruby support, I can't compare Ruby libs to
Python libs on these, but:

MARC: there's Ruby-MARC.  I helped write it, so I'm biased.

XML tools: depends on what you need.  In general, Ruby doesn't have great
support for sophisticated XML problems.  Nokogiri has a great API for DOM
parsing.  Code4libbers have reported plenty of frustrations with bugs,
though.  SAX support exists, but is wanting.  See also, xslt.  You can use
the fairly close to the metal libxml ruby bindings, as well, but the API
is very non-Ruby.

SPARQL tools: rdf.rb provides some fantastic libraries.  There's a SPARQL
gem, although it doesn't provide SPARQL update or property paths (
https://github.com/ruby-rdf/sparql).  That only matters to you, if, you
know, it matters to you.

Solr: There's rsolr and sunspot.  If you ever decide you'd like to try
ElasticSearch, there's Tire, which is great (I use it all the time).

MySQL/PostgreSQL: there are lots of ORMs, if that's what you're looking
for.  ActiveRecord is the most common, although DataMapper has a better
API (IMO).  I use Sequel a lot for performance or for PostgreSQL-specific
functionality (array/hstore fields, etc.)

Screen scraping tools: these exist, but I'm not all the familiar with
them.
 I mostly just use HTTParty and Nokogiri.

SOAP: Again, YMMV with this.  I think Savon has a fantastic API, but I
have no idea how well it deals with the vagaries of different SOAP server
responses.

REST: There's the aforementioned HTTParty, although rest-client is
probably the most commonly used.

I think it's probably unrealistic to expect one language to handle all of
these well (well, there's Java, but then you've got other factors to
weigh).  I've found Ruby to be a pretty good all-purpose language.  Most
of my maintenance tools are written in Ruby as rake tasks (despite the
fact that the primary project I work on is written in PHP).  It helps that
Ruby's performance is beginning to catch up to Python's (although Python
is still faster for most things, I think).

-Ross.


On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 3:19 PM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Thanks, this is more along the lines I was looking for.
>
> I started using Python because PHP (my usual web language of choice)
> has quite poor libraries for SOAP requests, and Python was easy to use
> as a glue script to fill the SOAP holes in my program.
>
> One of the things I wanted to ask that went largely unanswered is what
> kinds of typical library coding activities are not very well supported
> in either language? For instance:
>
> -MARC i/o (both have this covered, I know, but it is a prime example)
> -XML tools -SPARQL tools -Working with Solr -MySQL/Postgres tools
> -Screen scraping tools -SOAP/REST tools
>
> ...etc.
>
> And I am limiting my inquiry to Python and Ruby because I am looking
> for quick "glue script" languages and not something to write a whole web
app.
> For instance, something I can schedule as a cron task to get some
> remote data and index it locally. I would use PHP or Java for a
> full-blown application. I guess I should include Perl in the
> discussion, too, but Perl's syntax is a little heady for me.
>
> I am not trying to be incendiary here, so I hope you all do not
> respond to me as such. I think these are pretty reasonable and concrete
questions.
> It's not like I'm asking "What's the best language?" in a general and
> open-ended way.
>
> Josh Welker
> Information Technology Librarian
> James C. Kirkpatrick Library
> University of Central Missouri
> Warrensburg, MO 64093
> JCKL 2260
> 660.543.8022
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> Of Scott Turnbull
> Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 12:17 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Python and Ruby
>
> I think it mostly comes down to what you're looking for out of the
> language choice.  Both are great language.  I love the explicitness
> and community around Python, the meta-programming features of Ruby are
> a lot of fun as well.
>
> Both have great communities that support a lot of diversity.  I feel
> python comes out a bit better on this but only just a bit.
>
>
> Some great fits for Python in libraries.
> -  Syntax is easy to learn so if you have to get a team working on the
> same skillset this is a big advantage.
> -  If you need to work with scholars who need to learn programming,
> the easy of learning python is a big advantage here.
> -  If you work in natural language processing or with geo-spacial data
> then python is particularly well suited.
> -  You need a stable language with good backwards compatibility.
>
> Some great fits for Ruby in libraries:
> -  If you do a lot of web development Rails is an obvious advantage,
> though rails dominance is almost a disservice to the Ruby community by
> how much it obscures the language.
> -  If you work with unstructured data I think Ruby comes out a little
> on top (just a little) and there are some neat meta-programming
> techniques to read and work with XML in ruby.
> -  You work in a DevOps environment and need to do a lot of server
> provisioning, the Puppet library offers a lot to a group and leverages
> Ruby.
> -   In libraries custom Fedora repository work is often done using the
> Hydra gems
>
> I don't think there's one better choice, it just comes down to knowing
> what you need to develop as far as a local community goes and picking
> the one that is best suited for those use cases.
>
> That said, I tend to enjoy working in Python more than Ruby.  Most of
> my gripes with Ruby are actually probably with Rails so as a language
> I really do think they are both fine and I only have a slight
> preference for one.
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 11:43 AM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > Not intending to start a language flame war/holy war here, but in
> > the library coding community, is there a particular reason to use
> > Ruby over Python or vice-versa? I am personally comfortable with
> > Python, but I have noticed that there is a big Ruby following in
> > Code4Lib and similar communities. Am I going to be able to
> > contribute and work better with the community if I use Ruby rather
than Python?
> >
> > I am 100% aware that there is no objective way to answer which of
> > the two languages is the best. I am interested in the much more
> > narrow question of which will work better for library-related
> > scripting projects in terms of the following factors:
> >
> > -existing modules that I can re-use that are related to libraries
> > (MARC tools, XML/RDF tools, modules released by major vendors, etc)
> > -availability of help from others in the community -interest/ability
> > of others to re-use my code
> >
> > Thanks.
> >
> > Josh Welker
> > Information Technology Librarian
> > James C. Kirkpatrick Library
> > University of Central Missouri
> > Warrensburg, MO 64093
> > JCKL 2260
> > 660.543.8022
> >
>
>
>
> --
> *Scott Turnbull*
> APTrust Technical Lead
> [log in to unmask]
> www.aptrust.org
> 678-379-9488
>

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