Getting with Ruby for the 21st Century

Right, I’ve decided that it’s about time I updated my skillz and got with the 21st century. I’ve been sitting on my lazy C# and Java backside too long and as we all know, these languages are SO last week and therefore destined for imminent extinction.

Ok, maybe not, I mean the same things have been said about C++, ADA and COBOL years ago but they just keep on going albeit now more as niche rather than general purpose languages. Well I ain’t ready to give up on learning new languages quite yet so I decided to invest in learning two new languages over the next few weeks, Objective-C and Ruby.

The Neo Ruby Koans tutorial uses a TDD approach with a splash of Zen fun.

The Neo Ruby Koans tutorial uses a TDD approach with a splash of Zen fun.

With this in mind, I started today with Ruby and I have been working through a quirky set of tutorials called ‘Learn Ruby with the Neo Ruby Koans’ ( written by Jim Weirich and Joe O’Brien. Now apologies if you’ve all known about these for years and I’m just the last one on the bus but, on the off chance you’ve not come across them before, Jim and Joe wrote the tutorials TDD style as a set of code files executed by tests that start off by all failing and you have to go through and get them all to pass. Oh and it’s got this whole Zen thing going on, a bit of fun that appealed to my inner child.

So far I’ve worked my way through 32 of the 280 test cases and I have to say I’m mighty impressed with the way it takes you through the language features, especially those that differ from what you might expect if you’re coming from other languages, such as ‘nil’ being an object (I had wondered why they changed it from null, I guess that’s the reason) and the concept of ‘duck typing’, a bit of a culture shock for someone old school like me, especially what with having ADA 95 in my programming DNA!

Anyway, if anyone out there is looking for a Ruby tutorial you might want to give it a shot. I’ll let you know how I progress over the coming weeks. Alternatively, if you know of any other good Ruby resources give me a shout, I’d be eternally grateful.

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