I’ve been putting my geeky hat on the past month where I’ve been able to find the time to do so, and learning Ruby. For those who aren’t familiar with what that is, it’s one of the many computer programming languages out there.. you may have heard of others ones like Python, Java, PHP etc.
Ruby is one that has an extremely helpful and welcoming online (and offline) community to help you learn and advance your skills. There are many websites that explain it in various lessons and depth, from beginner to advanced. I think it will be a very interesting journey and I always love a challenge, so I’ll be documenting my progress on and off for those that are interested themselves. Plus, it’ll give me an extra spur on whenever I’m stuck, as I’ll feel guilty if too long a time has gone by and I haven’t blogged about it! ;)
So after some initial research a month ago to work out which were online sources suited me best, I went with these two:
Pine’s Learn to Program was extremely well written in my opinion. It takes you through twelve written tutorials, covering most basics and a lot of programming-core fundamentals such as what arrays are, variables, methods etc. I would highly recommend this tutorial for any complete beginner. Pine writes in a way that makes you feel like he’s just chatting to you about something interesting in plain english. He also provides several problems to do after each main tutorial, to help you practise and test what you’ve just read and learnt. I had a lot of fun doing them and managed to do most of the problems which is an awesome feeling!
Code School’s Try Ruby is a completely different experience. Instead of written examples and tutorials - it’s an interactive learning experience in itself! One part of the page is the tutorial and instructions, whilst the other is an actual interface that allows you to type Ruby into the page as you’re learn and follow the tutorials. I would seriously recommend this tutorial for those who like learning by doing, it’s very effective. I just finished this tonight and comparing it to Pine’s tutorials, it’s great but a bit different in content and obviously interaction. Try Ruby explains the more basic fundamentals in slightly less detail, but I think any beginner could still get by using this one too.
Having now gone through both tutorials, I must say that I’m very glad that I did do both. It has consolidated the basics a bit more, and I’ve also picked up new things in one that the other didn’t cover.
Obviously I haven’t conquered Ruby yet, but I want to try actually writing an app so I’m going to move onto Ruby on Rails (aka RoR or just simply ‘Rails’) next. Rails is a web framework for Ruby… which means when you actually build an application/webiste, you write it using Rails - think of it as like using a blog’s layout template compared to starting the template from scratch. I hope that analogy makes sense?
I’ve got some good sources for learning Rails that I’ve noted down, but I’m always open to suggestions so feel free to comment and let me know :)