I’ve spent a couple of hours getting to know Ruby over the course of a couple of weeks and I’m impressed, on a number of levels. First of all, the community is bigger than I expected. The Ruby Talk email list is very active, and newbies seem to be treated with respect. Second, Ruby is pretty intuitive and flexible – stuff works in a common sense sort of way (which is slightly odd when you’re used to more convoluted ways of doing things).
I’ve been slowly reading Programming Ruby – The Pragmatic Programers Guide (which is available in its entirety online). The book is written well, and is easing me into the language slowly. The author assumes that the reader has some programming experience, so be forewarned if you’re just picking up Ruby as your first language.
A couple of people have emailed me asking how it compares to ColdFusion, and I have to admit there are quite a few similarities. Ruby is typeless just like ColdFusion. There are a lot of similarities in how objects are created and used within code. I’m sure I’ll find similar parallels as I progress.
I use Eclipse as my IDE for ColdFusion (it works on the Mac as well as PC, which I switch between pretty often) so I went out and found a Ruby plugin for Eclipse that seems adequate. There’s no code hinting (I’m on the lookout for a plugin that does code hinting) but as you build your Ruby application the classes and methods are outlined in the outline view.
My next goal is to come up with a training application to write. I’m not used to straight command line stuff, having done web apps for so long, so I might just take it to my next goal which is to write a Ruby on Rails application.