ETel Coverage: I wanna learn Ruby

by Jim Van Meggelen

I'm a systems integrator by trade, not a programmer, but I like to think that in a different life I might have made a good one. The last language I learned really well was REXX (even did socket and serial port programming with it [shudder]).

In any case, the urge to learn a programming language causes me angst every now and then, and Ruby has been stirring up . . . feelings in me.

Having just experienced Jay Phillips' introduction to Adhearsion, the urges are getting stronger. Every time I hear Ruby proponents talk, they seem barely able to contain tears of joy. Observe Ruby programmers when they talk to each other: They always look at each other with a twinkle in their eyes: a gaze that suggests that they share in some marvelous secret. This seems to be a universal phenomenon.

Even folks that are not proponents seem to have a hard time finding bad things to say. The worst that I hear is something along the lines of "um . . . it's pretty good" (and that is an attempt at criticism!).

Time to start reading . . .


2007-02-27 16:49:56
It is truly a delightful language which will, at its least, inspire better languages.

it might seem silly at first, it is. but it is also pretty good. "Why" is one of the most amazing ruby coders around. And he is one of the first coders to make code Art.

2007-02-27 17:54:19
I know exactly what you're talking about. Ruby is amazing, I've been learning it for the past year with rails and it's just phenomenal. I come from a C# and .Net background and I almost became a designer I hated it so much. And then Ruby. Do it, you won't regret it.
Alok Mohindra
2007-02-27 22:18:55
Jim I must agree. I too have been feeling the pull of Ruby lately. I'm also a non-programmer, unless you count Fortran and Modula-2 in college. Ugh, what were they thinking? In fact, I'm planning on using the RAGI framework introduced at eTel last year to try and talk Asterisk into doing my bidding. Probably a bit ambitious for a first project, but I've always loved a challenge. Ruby my dear, here I come!
2007-02-27 23:04:37
I've used RAGI wtih Asterisk, it's really not that difficult at all, it's a really well done wrapper. You can really do some powerful things with Asterisk + Ruby on Rails + RAGI.
Jim Van Meggelen
2007-02-28 00:41:17
I have read Why's poignant guide, but had forgotten. Thanks for the reminder. Gonna read that one again.

If nothing else, I remember what the onions are for.

2007-02-28 14:34:30
I highly recommend Adhearsion. It is doing for telephony what Ruby on Rails has done for the web.

jeremiah foster
2007-03-06 06:01:19
I love 'chunky bacon' and cartoon foxes as much as the next guy, and I have nothing but praise for Why's ruby documentation, it is an epiphany and a model that other technical writers ought to strive after. Ruby is an excellent language with the magical 'clean syntax' that people love.

However, there are some problems with RoR that you should not underestimate, namely that it obscures some very important details. For example, you do not have the flexibility to specify your SQL data types. Yes you can do this with a little extra work but then you have lost the purpose of Rails: rapid development. Ruby is a serious language, but many people advise one to use Rails for prototyping and not an optimized, tested application.

Personally, I think ruby is a great programming language to learn, but I think perl is more useful in the end with more tools to do more things. Now I am going to go put on my flame retardant underpants. ;)

Jim Van Meggelen
2007-03-06 06:43:48
I think that there aren't too many folks left that would argue that assembler is the only language that we need to learn, but from there on out there are as many opinions as people. Thanks for your perspective on the matter.