Starting a new Flash project this week, I have realized that ActionScript/Flash and Ruby/Rails are really at opposite ends of the spectrum in a lot of ways. Particularly in their philosophy and culture, which reflects to a great extent the people who use those languages.
Macromedia has provided an alternative, however, in the form of about five books, identical to the online documentation that works so poorly, to the tune of $50 each. So naturally one turns to other websites, in hopes of finding helpful code snippets. Sites that typically share code or tips are hideously unusable and debiliatingly ad-ridden, and something as simple and common as finding a tweening library that works in the current incarnation of the language is an exercise in futility.
Maybe it is cultural. Flash is not open source software, and Flash coders generally work in Windows. Flash/ActionScript does not seem to have a culture of sharing like many programming languages. The best Flash developers work in-house, develop libraries for their own use, and have little interest in sharing code. Often all that is shared is the URL of the finished product, a ritual often referred to as a “site check.”
Contrast this with Ruby, and Ruby on Rails in particular. This is a smaller community. The language was not created by a business, but rather a really cool individual interested in making a neat language. There are no adds on the website. Code is shared very, very freely. For whatever reason, it is the nicest and friendliest community based around a programming language that I know of. It is a joy to program, the code is lovely and easy to understand, and the work is satisfying.
Can you guess which language I prefer?