Marketing smackdown: Python vs Ruby

By Filip Salomonsson; published on September 15, 2006.

The Ruby programming language web site recently got a new suit.

People seem to think Ruby and Python are one-on-one competitors, so let's have a look at how the Ruby web site measures up to Python's. I'll focus on three things: first glance, downloading and showing the actual goods.

In the green corner: Python (

The current look of the Python web site took a good long while to finish, but it was finally released a couple of months ago. Let's have a look.

On the front page

Using state-of-the-art language technology tools, I generated a summary of the information on's front page: "Bla bla bla bla bla, buzzbuzz, bla, are you bored yet? Go away."


There are six links in the body of the front page that look like download links, but aren't. There's one that doesn't look like one, but is. (The six false positives are really news items, but nowhere in the body of the page does the word "news" even occur.)

There is a "quick link" in the menu that leads directly to the tarball. It's labeled "Source Distribution", though. There's also a separate section of the menu called "Download". Ok, let's use that.

"Download Standard Python Software", the title says. But I'm not looking for standard software, I'm looking for Python itself. Wha? I know, this is the right page, but how about letting it show?

Showing it off

When I'm looking at a web site for a piece of GUI-driven software, the first thing I want is screenshots. The same thing applies here; I want to see what the language looks like. After a lot of dead ends, I did some decent python examples, but it was not on the Python web site. Come on!

Overall opinion

I can't believe someone actually thought the structure and the copywriting on this site was good marketing. Throw it away, start over and do it right.

In the red corner: Ruby (

Not even a week old, let's see how this baby holds up.

On the front page

The same technology as above generated the summary: "Hi, friend! Come play with me!". There are code samples. There are links to an interactive browser-based ruby interpreter(!), to a 20-minute tutorial and to specific guides for people who are coming from other languages.


There's a huge "Download Ruby" link on the front page that takes you to a simple and clear download page.

Showing it off

The most prominent element on the Ruby front page is code. Let me repeat that: the most prominent element on the front page is code. Code that I immediately understand. Code that shows me a little bit of what Ruby looks like. Clean-looking code that makes me want to see more.

Overall opinion

These people have understood what marketing is about. You couldn't get lost here if you tried.

And the winner is...

Oh, come on. It's not even fun any more. Ruby is a gem.