I’ve been coding java professionally since 1997, started with java 1.0.3 as a matter of fact. Back then java was not clearly better. Python existed, and in fact I built some systems with it. I worked on the OS/2 port of python implementing and maintaining the threading and os modules. Not only did python run more reliably but it was faster. Somehow though java won, the crowd chose the tool closest to the last tool and away we went. Nowadays everybody seems enamored of ruby, due I hope to rails and it’s active record focus, because the language itself stinks. It’s painfully slow, and really how many different ways does a language need to express greater than? Having gone through the excercise I can honestly say Rails is a fine “contractor” framework. When you only need to finish 80% of an app, it’s the fastest way there. As long as you’re not on the hook to reach 100% it’s great.
python and ruby