Archive for the 'Ruby' Category

Ruby or Rails?

Last Friday I finally managed (been too busy lately) to visit Rotterdam’s super bookstore, Donner, to pick up a copy of Programming Ruby. I will easily spend an hour or two roaming Donner’s eight or nine floors, browsing through all their new books, discovering old ones I hadn’t seen before, sitting down for a while to read through the contents of some books to see if I should really spend the small fortune they sometimes cost these days… Usually I start by going straight to the third floor (computer books), then slowly all the way up (passing the cd department, books on art, design, movies, music etc.; top floor has books on sale); and finally I go back down again (law, economics, philosophy, magazines, gardening, food, photography, and the huge basement with fiction, Dutch & English). Anyway, there I was on the third floor, only one copy of Programming Ruby left (is it that popular or doesn’t it sell at all?)… and I didn’t buy it! Instead I took home Agile Web Development with Rails, in the true Ruby spirit: I want to create something right away, build a web site now, with Ruby. I know myself, eventually I will buy the other book and meticulously read about all the language intricacies. But for now, it’s Rails.

2005-12-05. 2 responses.

Why, if reading Ruby is like reading natural language, unless it’s not?

Yesterday, a familiar Ruby coder showed me a piece of Ruby code that used Ruby’s programmer-friendly if-construct, where you can place the if clause after the conditional block of code. It was something like this:
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2005-11-29. 3 responses.

Is Ruby the new Java?

About eight or nine years ago, I first read about Java in Wired Magazine. At the time, I was mostly programming in Delphi, C, and, if I really had to, in Oracle Forms. It wasn’t altogether clear what role Java was going to play; any examples you ever saw were applets, doing image animations on a web page. I bought a book that promised to explain it all, but did little else but list the standard libraries api docs. Although over time, more and more people were saying Java was going to be the next great thing, I didn’t have a clue what to do with Java, there & then. (Until 2000, when I did my first web app with Java, with EJB’s, and started wondering why I had ever wanted to be a part of this next great thing).

Right now I’m having a strong feeling of deja vu. This time, it’s about Ruby. Everyone probably knows by now that Ruby is a scripting language, developed nine years ago in Japan, became very popular in the rest of the world in the last year or so. Recurring discussions on TSS revolve around the question if and when Ruby is to be preferred over Java, and if it will be the next great thing. Surely the language looks interesting enough, and so does the web framework, Rails. But in order to really get to know it, I have to use it in a real project, doing real stuff (I have not enough patience or spare time to just code something for the sake of it).

There’s several books written about Ruby, of which Programming Ruby comes recommended by Remco, my local Ruby guru (and by none other than Martin Fowler, I read at Amazon). Until now, I’ve done it the cheap way by reading Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby. This free ebook explains the basics of the language in the form of a rather insane story, illustrated with equally wacko comic strips. It tries to offer memory aids through its story for Ruby’s language features. Unfortunately, most of these memory aids are so far-fetched that I’m having trouble remembering _them,_ let alone the language elements they’re supposed to remind me of. But it does make for entertaining reading, offering an easy introducting to Ruby.

2005-11-21. 5 responses.

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