Perl/CPAN v. Ruby ?

Brian Wisti brianwisti at
Wed Mar 8 19:04:22 GMT 2006

Stephen Collyer wrote:
> Does anyone know of any web-accessible comparisons of (or
> have any personal experience of) development in Ruby and Perl.
> I'm particularly interested in how far a Perl person would get
> in Ruby before starting to pine for CPAN.

Hi Stephen,

The pining distance is quite short, although the situation is much 
better than it was a few years ago (read as "it was downright 
pathetic"). The Rubygems project has done a lot to provide a central 
repository for non-core libraries. It comes with a somewhat nifty 
command line utility for searching and installing gems. Oh, that's 
another thing. Rubygems is a packaging system. You'll be downloading and 
installing "gem files" into their own special location. Your opinion of 
this will probably depend a lot on your opinion of specialized packaging 

The Rubygems repository is tiny in comparison to CPAN. I'd be surprised 
if it had 10% of CPAN's libraries. Heck, I'd be a little startled if it 
had 5%. Unfortunately, the crap-to-quality ratio is comparable to what 
you'd find on CPAN. This results in a pretty small number of libraries 
that are actually useful for your needs. On the plus side, folks are 
always adding new libraries so the situation is always a little better 
than it was a month before.

Other than that, the basics of CGI development in Ruby are comparable to 
Perl. I think that the library is richer than cgi.rb, but that 
could just be due to the fact that I'm more familiar with Core 
Ruby does include support for CGI sessions and an embedded Ruby 
interpreter called erb, so there are a few extras compared to core Perl.

Still, you're going to have to go to Rubygems for new things. And that's 
when you'll start pining for CPAN.

And Rails? It's a Web app framework, rather than a good old fashioned 
CGI lib. Rails is this complete other thing, a full-on application. A 
heavily hyped, buzzword loaded, fairly powerful, occasionally annoying 
application. Drink the kool aid at your own risk.

Kind Regards,

Brian Wisti

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