The tide is starting to shift on the red shores of application development.
Over a year ago when I started to learn Ruby it was a battle. After understanding the basic syntax, getting any further was a trial of parsing scattered documentation, gleaning from pickaxe, and trying to grasp examples in gems and libraries. It was certainly exciting but often a bit frustrating. A lot of the documentation assumed a certain level of experience in Ruby or similar languages and a lot of examples and libraries seemed to be aimed more at other true Rubyists than relative noobies. I think a lot of this has to do with Nerd Pride. Once you’ve reached the peak (or at least a peak) why climb back down to help others? You figured it out yourself, and feel very good about it, let the folks stuck at the base figure it out like you did. This is in no way specific to Ruby, and isn’t necessarily a disease – just a symptom of something new and awesome and nerdy.
All of this is starting to change though. Where a year ago, a trip to Barnes & Noble, maybe yielded_ one Ruby book, today, my local B & N has at least 6. Now this is nothing compared to the whole shelving unit dedicated to Java, but its a vast improvement. Two weeks ago I picked up O’Reilly’s Ruby Cookbook which – after getting in to it – is totally awesome. I’m a really big fan of the Cookbook series and this type of tech book in general. It presents common problems, the code for a simple solution, a a short discussion of why this is the solution. Its just the type of book I needed at this point in my Ruby career. I’ve written a couple apps, I’m comfortable with the syntax and the included classes, and moving up to more advanced Ruby is a matter of grasping the more abstract ideas and idioms.
I’m not the only one to notice the increase in Ruby usage and writing. As more books come out and more documentation is flushed out the community will eventually loose a little Nerd Pride and we’ll all realize that more Rubyists will most likely mean more demand for Rubyists – and we can all write this beautiful code for a living.
Expect a good deal of Ruby out of me in the near future.
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