Have we reached “Peak Ruby”?


The Terry Chay peak theory, also known as peak ruby, is a not-so-influential theory concerning the long-term popularity of software languages. It predicted that future popularity in Ruby will reach a peak sometime in the year 2007 and then decline. Some observers believe that because of the high dependence of the language on hype, the impending post-peak scalability problems and possible resulting severe migration to another language du jour as the next panacea. (citation needed)

A conversation (that mostly happened):

D—: You killed Ruby! You bastard!

Ruby TIOBE stats by itself

Me: I didn’t start the fire! 😀 Yeah, that one-month dip was a big deal in the Ruby community.

D—: They got bent out of shape over the tiobe stats? It was a one-month statistical glitch. They don’t know what a stat is.
D—: On that channel9 link, Replace Ruby with Java. It’s the same thing. “I’m sorry, you just used the wrong JVM. Why not use IBM’s.”

Me: No, you just don’t understand the psychology of Ruby people.

D—: I don’t.

[The psychology of Ruby after the jump.]

Me: Did you know like 95% of the Ruby world is Mac users?

D—: Why?

Me: I don’t know. I have theories.
Me: Ruby on Rails is a new shiny thing.
Me: Ruby on Rails is different and cool.
Me: Ruby on Rails is clean.

D—: OK.

Me: Ruby on Rails hides shit from you and makes things radically simplistic.

D—: If you hide shit. It’s still shit.

Me: In other words, I think the same people who are attracted to Ruby are attracted to Macs. But not vice versa. There are probably more Mac users who program PHP than Ruby—by a large margin. (I’m guessing this since most Mac enthusiast sites are written in PHP.)
Me: So it’s a segment of Mac users. I can’t explain it. But there is a religious quality to Ruby on Rails and the Mac. You feelin’ me?

D—: These are the black t-shirt people at MacWorld—part of the cult.

Me: Not all of them, but in the Ruby world they certainly make up a dominant vocal majority. After what they did to Mark, I knew I’d stir up a hornet’s nest, but I wanted to have some fun.
Me: I can’t explain it, but you know I’ve been a Mac user since before almost anyone so I know it. I’ve read Dvorak’s column in MacUser since the magazine launched in September 1985—that’s why he freaked when I met him.
Me: I guess when you are a minority and you have this cult state, a sort of siege mentality takes over.


Me: So say a couple of people mention about the TIOBE dip. And then a number of people gloat about it—they’re like the Paul Thurrots of the Ruby world. You know? Secretly jonesing for Ruby and jealous of its success. You just trigger the siege mentality in the Ruby world and they get defensive.
Me: Seige mentality is a funny state because then you start nitpicking the details without seeing the forest from the trees. “PHP is a language; Rails is a framework.” or “As a Mac user, I’m excluded from Alexa”; or “TIOBE data is suspect.” It’s like trying to defend “PowerPC over x86” or Steve’s “Photoshop benchmarks” or how Mac’s will never be headless or iPods will never have flash.
Me: Fun stuff!

D—: First you win. Then they fight you. Then they laugh at you. Then they ignore you.

Me: More like, “First you brag about it. Then it dips. Then you say the stat is flawed.” 😀
Me: Personally, I’d be proud to make the top 10 out of nowhere. After all, Chris’s argument got trumped.
Me: Besides, PHP was at #4, now it’s #5. It has nowhere to go but down. Especially because YUI, and other Ajax frameworks are going to make the application server less relevant.

D—: Did you know Ruby has comparable mindshare to Javascript? I just learned that.

Me: Yes, I did—that’s what the TIOBE statistic is all about. They had insane growth last year—hence my dog/pig Ruby play-on-words: Web 2.0 is more than selling dogfood; 2006 is the Year of the Dog (Ruby); Who let the dogs out? (Ruby commuity); Out with the dog; 2007 is the Year of the Pig; “I’m a pig” double-entendre… 😀
Me: Also if you check O’Reilly booksales, it shows that it has comparable mindshare to PHP.

2006 programming book sales changes

That’s okay though because our developers are hotter.

Did I just read that right?

D—: 😀 …and more offensive.

*fuck mod_perl

Me: Damn straight!
Me: Uh oh, Feedburner says I’m losing readership!
Me: I better make another Ruby post! 😀

(Thanks John. You show me the way.)

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