The following observation gradually formed in the past few months, but it’s specifically relevant in light of this post. I’m writing it here so it’ll get its due exposure.
I think one major advantage Julia has over Matlab (and this may hold true for other similar languages - let me know) is
github… Due to how Julia interacts with github, travis, unit-tests, and docstrings, I have never before contributed so much time and work (the quality of which is up to debate) to a language. There are a few factors causing this:
- The amazing community. People like @jobjob, @tim.holy, @tknopp, @tkelman, and @shashi (to name a few) have pushed me forward and encouraged me to contribute, despite my stinky stinky git-skills.
- My specific needs for functionalities that are simply lacking in the current packages.
- and mainly, the sickly efficient julia-git-github-travis infrastructure.
I would have never done half as much with matlab’s file-exchange or some such. This, in my opinion, is looked over in most why-julia pitches. Maybe it’s because most of you are more used to these functionalities and take them for granted, but I’m telling you, for the common solo-coding researcher, these are not commonplace.
So to sum it up, thanks to the awesome interaction Julia has with github, we can contribute code, test it on different architectures, document it, and share it, in a much more efficient way than with say, matlab. In my specific case, this resulted in a lot more contributed effort.
I’d be happy to hear your opinions about this topic since it might end up in the resources we’ll hopefully compile for the “why switch to julia” pitch talks (again, see here).