Tim Gittos

I'm an Australian currently living in Austin, TX in the USA.

I currently earn a living programming, though I wouldn't call myself a programmer. If I had to attach a label to myself, I'd use the term autodidact.

I love learning, and my favorite things to learn about are programming, computer graphics, AI & machine learning, robotics, painting and creativity.

First Impressions Of Ruby

Last updated on 20 Dec 2008

I like it.

A lot.

But I always knew I would. I’m so far impressed with how much effort Ruby goes to at making itself understood at a casual glance, and just how easy it is to write self documenting code. Writing code that’s free of braces and parenthesis is refreshing, and it’s nice to know the safety blanket is there (with regards to parenthesis for functions, conditional statements, etc) is there if I need it.

I started last night by flicking through Why’s (Poignant) Guide, and found it pretty good for the basics. I quickly picked up the general concepts and basic syntax fast, and Why’s Guide was pretty whimsical and kept things interesting. However I quickly bored of the absurdity in chapter 5 where the majority of its content is fluff.

I tried switching to SaphireSteel’s The Book of Ruby, however right at the start when the author stated:

if (subtotal < 0.0) then subtotal = 0.0 end

Putting everything on one line like this adds nothing to the clarity of the code, which is why I prefer to avoid it


I knew that this book would not help me. I already know many languages that require simple statements like that to be spread over multiple lines. I want a language to do this:

[code language=“ruby”]subtotal = 0.0 if subtotal < 0.0[/code]

Hi, Ruby.

Then I browsed over to Ruby in 20 Minutes and quickly flicked through the pages, and it concreted my knowledge. I like iterators, I like respond_to?, I like how everything seems to make sense. I also am pleased to see how many concepts map onto similar things in C#. Modules are like namespaces, but better. attr_accessor is like { get; set;}. attr_reader is like {get; private set;}.

I feel I’m ready to go find some code in the wild and attempt to read it. I’ll also see if I can come up with a post that maps Ruby concepts to C# concepts for other C# programmers interested in Ruby (and with IronRuby, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be).