Friday, November 4, 2011

Moving on to reading about Ruby

Now that I've finished reading about Apache Hadoop and Apache Mahout, I've decided that I really need to know more than a little about Ruby and Ruby on Rails. I already do know a little, but I need to know a lot more about all the ins and outs and all the details of various features.
I figured I'll start with a basic tutorial just to get that out of the way. Something like Ruby in Twenty Minutes. This also involves downloading and installing Ruby itself on my Windows machine.
I started on the tutorial after downloading and installing Ruby, but realized that I would be much happier starting with the raw language specification since I am basically a compiler guy and I feel more comfortable knowing the strict specifications for white space, line terminators, comments, tokens, keywords, identifiers, literals, etc. before I start working with actual data and control structures. I found the Ruby Draft Specification.
I'll do a quick scan of the spec to get the lay of the land and then go back and go through the tutorial.
I may go back and carefully read the Ruby Wikipedia page first.
There are multiple tutorials, each emphasizing various aspects, including similarities to other programming languages. In my case, I'm actually interested in what language features of Ruby are unique or distinct from features of other languages.
I'd also like to identify one or more modest-sized actual open source Ruby applications so I can see first hand what good/great Ruby code looks like.
I'll focus on information that is available online as opposed to buying actually published books on Ruby,
Ultimately, I'd like to have a hard-core technical answer to the basic question of: What is Ruby good (best) for? I know people use Ruby and Ruby on Rails for user interfaces, but that's not a hard-core answer.

-- Jack Krupansky

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