I think it depends on the project you're looking to get involved with.  Speaking as a rubyist, I'm using it because I'm active in the Hydra community which uses Ruby on Rails.  However, I see a lot of great stuff across the Python fence and think, hey it'd be cool to learn enough about Python so I can do that.  So Python's next on my list of languages to learn.

Incidentally, the whole reason I learned Ruby was to start using Hydra… so for me it came down the project.  For now, I would go with what you know (Python) and if you see something in particular that will really solve a problem that you have and it happens to be in X, then maybe learn a little bit of X to take that software for a test drive and if it works, learn X some more.

To address the the last three points regarding Ruby and Python, I think there are tools for either, ex: PyMarc and RubyMarc…  and the communities for both Python and Ruby are large and very healthy.

I should also add that being my own sys. admin., I avoided the (potential) issue of trying to convince your sys. admin. or hosting service, etc. that you want to use Rails, for example, instead of the web platform you're currently using.


Adam Wead
Systems and Digital Collections Librarian
Library + Archives
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
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On Jul 29, 2013, at 11:43 AM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]>

> 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

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