I am thinking after this discussion to start using Ruby instead of Python.
Blacklight looks extremely useful, and Hydra is something I am going to
look more at. Plus, data structures in Python just seem drastically
overcomplicated coming from a C-family background (lists vs tuples vs
dicts, and don't even think about trying to sort a dict by key). And as
you mentioned the process of installing modules is just awful. I have also
run into quite a few frustrations with the big split between Python 2.x
and 3.x where some modules that are critical to me (such as Suds, the SOAP
module) are 2.x only.

It looks like Ruby has all the bases covered for me needs in MARC, screen
scraping, etc, and it seems to have more momentum as far as projects
active in the library world.

Plus, SASS/Compass is amazing.

And I hate Python whitespace.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Little, James Clarence IV
Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 3:30 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Python and Ruby

Personally, I prefer Python. If you are wanting to do more information
science-y things, Ruby doesn't have equivalent libraries for things like
the Natural Language Toolkit<> or

In Ruby's defense, Python doesn't have
Blacklight<>, and the Python packaging system
is terrible.

For XML, nothing beats Java. If you want to use XSLT 2.0 in software then
the JVM is your only option. The JVM is undergoing a kind of renaissance
with all the cool languages that can run on it now: Clojure, jRuby,
Jython, Scala. With these languages you can enjoy the scriptyness, while
also being able to bring in the heavy-duty Java XML libraries if they are

James Little
Digital Programmer
Otto G. Richter Library | University of Miami

On Jul 29, 2013, at 3:51 PM, Wilhelmina Randtke
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>

Library community programming is heavy on the string processing, right?
So, just use a language that's good for that.

Anyway, once you learn one, it's faster to learn another.

-Wilhelmina Randtke

On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 11:57 AM, Peter Schlumpf
<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>wrote:

Python and Ruby (and any other programming languages) are just tools.
Some do some things better than others.

Imagine if the library community had its own programming/scripting
language, at least one that is domain relevant.  What would it look like?

Peter Schlumpf

-----Original Message-----
From: Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: Jul 29, 2013 10:43 AM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Python and Ruby

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


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