When we started working on the Bossies, we divided the broad Application Development group into many subcategories, including Language. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Finally, we realized that there probably is no such thing as a "best" language, be it a natural language or a computer language. The most we could do would be to pick best languages for specific applications, and even that would be difficult. It left us to identify languages that have become widely supported and perhaps acknowledge languages that have found a strong niche.
In that spirit, let us acknowledge the vibrancy of the growing Ruby community, especially as applied to the Web via Ruby on Rails. Ruby itself is an elegant object-oriented language with support for sophisticated programming constructs, including closures. Further, Ruby has broken out in a big way this year, with new versions for Java (JRuby) and Microsoft's Dynamic Language Runtime (IronRuby). Unless these variants begin to introduce language differences, these dual ports promise to make Ruby the new widely accepted scripting language.
This year saw the release of GPLv3, the latest version of one of the most important open source licenses. Its development has led to spirited debate and reexamined what it means for a project to be open source. Is Sun's slow release of Java source code or the availability of an unsanctioned open source implementation of .Net sufficient? Like many folks, we don't take an absolutist perspective. We use the tools that work, and we celebrate open source communities for creating so many useful languages and development tools — and for making them widely available at no cost.
Senior contributing editor Andrew Binstock contributed to this article.