Ruby Book Sales Soar

By Deane Barker on December 8, 2005

Ruby Book Sales Surpass Python: I always thought that a good way to gauge adoption of a language is by the amount of space its books occupy at the local Barnes and Noble. This is sort of the same thing.

While I was looking at the data, though, I noticed something perhaps more newsworthy: in the same period, Ruby book sales surpassed Python book sales for the first time. Python is up 20% vs. the same period last year, but Ruby is up 1552%! (Perl is down 3%.)

I wonder how much of this is due to Rails. Ruby is a fantastic language by itself, but was it Rails that really opened it up to the hordes of Web developers?

Here’s something I realized the other day: Joe and I were present when Rails was first anounced, anywhere. We were at the very first Building of Basecamp seminar last summer in Chicago.

David Heinemeier Hansson — the guy who invented Rails — was talking about the technical underpinnings of Basecamp when someone asked, “What did you write it in?” Everyone expected him to say PHP, but he said Ruby instead (I think I was the only one in the room that had ever heard of Ruby.) Then he said, “And I wrote a Web framework for it too, which I’m going to release to open source soon…” and gave us all the URL.

And, with that, Rails was born.

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