Is it just another scripting language?
Yes, no. (It’s an interpreted language, but that does not
mean that it’s
any less a real programming language because of that. People who make
that distinction [scripting language != real programming
days either don’t know what they’re talking about or have a dog in the
Interpreted languages, lets see, all of .NET (inc C++), Perl, Python,
PHP, Lisp, Smalltalk, Java and the list goes on. The runtime execution
environment doesn’t really have much to do with the language contructs.
Even at the processor level CISC byte codes get executed/interpreted
into microcode. All these languages can do scripting (quick and dirty)
or more robust dare I say enterprise systems. Really the scripting
language debate should be dead.
In this day and age we should be getting away from low level constructs
in our development in 95% of cases. I want to get on with the job of
developing business solutions not worrying about memory allocation, how
to slice and dice arrays et al. I want to program at a higher level of
abstraction (with the ability to drill down in the 5% of cases I need
to). Ruby is an enabler in that direction (Yay for Meta programming)