Of Ruby and its "poignance". And a bit of Rails thrown in for good measure.

Ruby seems to be a nice language to learn. Though I was planning to learn Python at first because it seems to have a much stronger user group, the past few weeks brought about many different encounters with Ruby. The first time I saw it after a long time of not paying attention to it was on 43things.com. Learn Ruby was one of the most highly rated items to do. Then it was when someone in my CS498 class did his presentation on it. Then it was when I saw it on www.rubyonrails.com. Finally I had no choice but to give myself a reason for learning it.

And then comes the reason, we will be using RubyonRails for our CS411 database class project. It was my suggestion. For short of any better ideas, we are going to emulate the site 43things.com and without much creativity, call ours 42things.com. And in case you are wondering, our group is called MySQuirreL for a lack of a better name (actually the name was thought up by Mark and it was actually quite creative). Since we are doing this for academic purposes, we hope that we will not be sued. So, with the perfect and unavoidable reason of learning Ruby, I decided to buy the book: "The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide to Ruby". The first edition of this book is available online but it only talks about Ruby 1.6. The current version of Ruby is 1.8.2 and it has undergone substantial changes.

While waiting for my book to arrive, I have also been perusing an online guide written by someone by the name of why. I have not found out anything else about his identity and neither would I bother to. Anyway, his poignant guide to ruby can be found at why's poignant guide to Ruby. This book is written in a very unconventional way that might piss people off. I had a hard time reading this book the first time I saw it. However I decided to give it a second chance. The comic strips in there might throw some readers off. Personally I did not get all why's jokes.

The fact that why actually tries to explain object-oriented programming in that manner is quite laudable. While it might annoy some of the purists, it might be easier for the beginner. There is this mistake in chapter 4 though:

I don’t think reverse is going to cut it. The authorities only need to put a mirror to “airegiN fo noissessop ekaT.” Bust us when starmonkeys start to touch down in Lagos.
I will probably e-mail him (or her) on that. You do not use a mirror to read something that has just been spelled backwards. Again, his work is praiseworthy.

I have also been following the resources at article on the O'Reilly website is helpful on how to get multiple tables set up.

Well that seems to be a decent introduction into my foray with Ruby and RubyonRails. I would encourage anyone reading this to actually go and tinkle with it. For a web application framework setting it up is pretty easy. And its simplicity might well be what it needs to penetrate something dominated by .asp and .jsp pages.

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