Ruby and Geospatial?

Ruby is the best thing since sliced bread. It embraces Perl refugees, gurus love it, and you're nothing but a chump if you're using a sucky language like Python or Java. So says the blogosphere. Why then -- with the exception of Charlie Savage's work with GDAL and GEOS -- does it seem that there is nothing significant going on at the intersection of Ruby and Geospatial? There are a few Ruby MapServer users, but no committers. There are a few modules for Google Maps (even I wrote a simple one), but that's just pushpin country. Where are the Ruby modules for cartographic projections? Where are the Ruby W*S clients? Am I missing something right under my nose?


Re: Ruby and Geospatial?

Author: Dave

I think that this just shows the size of the "geo" developer community as compared to the main stream developer community. Ruby will catch on in the geo-space, but it's gonna be slower. And since it's coming from the leading edge of main stream, those people will look for geo-API integration before whipping up full WMS connectors. I'd bet that it will be push-pin land for a while. It would be really cool to see a Ruby back end integrated with OpenLayers - so you have a server side layer that can control the access to the WMS, rather than an uncontrolled client side JS festivus. Cheers, Dave

Re: Ruby and Geospatial?

Author: Shaun Walbridge

I sense a partially rhetorical question, but I'll bite: From what I've seen, Ruby does seem to be an elegant, enjoyable to use language. But the second step, implying that all other languages are sucky is patently false: If you're Paul Graham, you see everything as just being weak rehashes of Lisp, but languages are tools, not one-size-fits-all baseball caps. Python, Java, C# all have their virtues over Ruby in particular scopes. A concurrency wieldin', Unicode passing code jockey would probably bristle at the idea of using Ruby. As Dave mentions, the size of the community also matters: both the geo-developer and Ruby communities are small. Ruby is too new to have a fleshed out set of libraries, even compared to its brethren dynamic languages it must have an order of magnitude more available libraries. It is the reason why the best RoR blogging software, Mephisto is almost unheard of, and David Heinemeier Hansson uses PHP stalwart gallery — it takes time to gain that critical mass of applications that make a language really attractive. I think its a testament to the alpha geekness of geo-developers that they have Ruby bindings. P.S. the comment box sucks rocks, could you bump the cols to 80+?

Re: Ruby and Geospatial?

Author: Sean

I know. Coreblog smells, but I'm hooked on using restructured text to write posts. I'll see what I can do.