This is not a Ruby tutorial.

Road To Ruby Enlightenment
1. tutorials and first steps
2. talk, quiz and cookbook
3. red and gray
4. lambda, proc etc.

I heard about Ruby some years ago. I can’t remember where it was, must have been one of those perl newsgroups or mailinglists I was reading. The description was always something like “Japanese Perl Clone with better Object-Orientation” which sounded neat. But as I was using Perl only for small scripts, it was not enough to make me look into the language. Last year the buzz around Ruby on Rails gave me the final push and I started to learn Ruby. This series of posts describes my learning process.


The first tutorial I stumpled upon was Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby (WPGtR) which is the funniest tutorial for a programming language I ever read, but it somehow failed to teach me Ruby (I read it again later and by now I think it’s great – perhaps I just had a bad day).

But WPGtR showed me enough of Ruby to make me buy Programming Ruby. I really enjoyed Dave Thomas’ style and read the whole book in just a few days. I highly recommend this book to anyone learning Ruby. If you want some samples first, the whole first edition of Programming Ruby is online. I don’t like reading online, but I use it sometimes to lookup stuff.

Just for completeness sake, I read a few pages of the Programming:Ruby wikibook. It is still in the making, but I hope it will become a useful resource sometime.

There are countless other tutorials out there. I just skimmed through Learn To Program and The Little Book Of Ruby (LBOR) and both look pretty good at first glance. If you (like me) prefer to read your stuff offline, I recommend WPGtR or LBOR which offer pdf versions.

After these three tutorials I knew how to write Ruby. But I was writing these programs in the same way I wrote my Java or Perl programs, without using any of the interesting Ruby features.


I found the first hints on how to improve my code on the Rubygarden wiki. I highly recommend reading at least the following few pages. There is a lot more to be found in the wiki, but like all wikis it’s damn hard to get to the good bits.

The journey continues here.

10 Responses to “Road to Ruby enlightenment – tutorials and first steps”

  1. 1

    [...] and The Road to Ruby Enlightment. Filed under: php   |   [...]

    Ruby Pointers at code array (May 5th, 2006 at 13:08)
  2. 2

    …another Ruby tutorial that’s quite good.

    sampo (May 5th, 2006 at 16:07)
  3. 3

    Thanks for the links! I’d seen a few of these already, but I’d never dug into RubyGarden enough to know about some of these “gems”. One thing I did notice with RG was that it gets riddled with wiki spam overwriting the content. I made several reversions over the weekend and even had some of those spammed within a few hours. Fortunately, at this very moment, all your RubyGarden links appears to be legit.

    Keep it coming with the helpful info! I’ve already read the second leg.


    p.s. – Sampo, the Mr. Neighborly book looks interesting. Hopefully, your post isn’t just some shameful self-promotion, but I’ll likely download the sample chapter tonight anyway. Thanks!

    swedegeek (May 8th, 2006 at 21:12)
  4. 4

    @swedegeek: thanks for the praise. I think Mr. Neighborly is a pretty good tutorial and even if it is self-promotion (I don’t know!) – as long as the first part is free I have not problem linking to it.

    Frank Spychalski (May 8th, 2006 at 21:33)
  5. 5

    I’m all for shameless (or shameful as I mis-typed in my OP) self-promotion as long as it’s useful to others. If you say it’s worth checking out, that’s works for me!

    Thanks for the über-mini review… ;)

    swedegeek (May 9th, 2006 at 16:15)
  6. 6

    No, no; not self promotion haha. I didn’t even know this was linked here until I was looking at my logs just now. Thanks whoever sampo is…I wish you’d e-mailed me or something heh.

    Mr. Neighborly (May 14th, 2006 at 04:40)
  7. 7

    [...] Road to Ruby EnlightenmentEin Blog-Eintrag mit noch mehr weiterführenden Links [...]

    Der Einstieg in Ruby at wlog (June 15th, 2006 at 09:52)
  8. 8

    i have a question (of course). i haven’t programmed a thing in 5 years (but i have a CS degree, go figure), but have found myself wanting to jump back into the fire. i am pretty much a complete novice on any web programming beyond html with remedial javascript. what are the steps i need to follow in order to become well-versed in ruby on rails? and by “well-versed” i don’t necessarily mean a master, but enough to develop a simple app/site. does this long road start with php and mysql? or can i jump right into ruby on rails and not be completely overwhelmed? and yes, i know i have a lot of work ahead of me…

    junkeee (May 2nd, 2007 at 09:53)
  9. 9

    You can start right away, I think. Ruby is a much nicer language than PHP (and I started with PHP, mind!): it’s more organized, more elegant, and fairly easy to learn. I recently wrote an article on why people should learn it:

    Fabio Cevasco (September 6th, 2007 at 15:09)
  10. 10

    Nice writeup Fabio. I totally agree with everything you wrote in your article…

    Frank Spychalski (September 7th, 2007 at 11:55)

Any comments? Or questions? Just leave a Reply:

Bad Behavior has blocked 289 access attempts in the last 7 days.