Posted in Agile Development, Code, Inside TFG, Ruby on Rails, Websites or Tools
If you’re looking for an engaging and interactive way to learn Ruby, I’d recommend Ruby Koans by EdgeCase. I think that the koans are especially interesting if you’re coming from another programming language like PHP or Java, because they rely on some basic programming knowledge, but don’t presume any Ruby-specific abilities.
The Koans walk you along the path to enlightenment in order to learn Ruby. The goal is to learn the Ruby language, syntax, structure, and some common functions and libraries.
By manipulating and building upon Ruby’s TestUnit framework, the EdgeCase developers have created a step-by-step process for teaching Ruby through the practice of “Red, Green, Refactor.” They’ve added some simple game mechanics too, by showing your systematic progression through the 270+ challenges (puzzles). Reaching enlightenment results in a pretty ASCII graphic, and a legitimate sense of achievement.
Before you start with the koans though you’ll need a working Ruby installation. I recommend you take a look at the excellent rvm project, which will allow you to install multiple rubies (1.8.7 and 1.9.2 for example, alongside each other) and multiple gemsets in your home directory. Former Frontiersmen and 2011 Ruby Hero Award winner Darcy Laycock was heavily involved in this project as part of the 2010 Ruby Summer of Code, so we really like rvm at TFG.
Lastly, if you’d like to have a play with the koans before diving in too deep, they’re available online through your web browser at Ruby Koans Online. This is a no-risk way of trying out Ruby (hint: team them up with why’s Try Ruby project) in your browser.