Ruby Refresher

November 10, 2009

Ruby is a language that I’ve enjoyed working with in the past, but feel I’ve never really built anything substantial with it. I’ve got a Ruby on Rails book that I keep starting but never really get anywhere with. I suspect it’s because I don’t have a concrete task to tackle. The majority of my Ruby code was implementing unit tests for stored procedures using Marjoree, but that was over a year ago and I’ve hardly touched it since. Without regular exposure to Ruby, I’ve all but forgotten how to use it.

I was talking to Paul Wilson about this the other day and he suggested that I go to the Vital Ruby/Vital Rails training he’s running this week in Edinburgh. Sadly I can’t talk my work into either paying for it, or giving me the time off at the moment, so Paul suggested I take a look at Ruby Koans. So I downloaded the beta release of RubyMine (2.0 beta 3)  from JetBrains (have I mentioned that I’m a huge fan of IntelliJ?) and got to work. Ruby Koans “walk you along the path to enlightenment in order to learn Ruby” via TDD. It’s a rather large set of failing unit tests that you have to make pass. Each test demonstrates a feature of Ruby which you have to understand before making it pass. It’s the most fun way I’ve ever seen for learning (or re-learning in my case) a language.